HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

“You really need to edit what you have: clothes you don’t need, books… getting rid of them really frees up a lot of space”

His initial solution to this problem was to use a curtain as a divider. At the time, though, he was spending a lot of time caring for a sick relative, and “all the curtain options I saw reminded me of hospitals,” he says.

He chose instead to build a wall that stops about half a foot from the ceiling. “It still lets the light in from the bedroom windows, but when you’re in bed, you don’t feel like you’re sleeping in the living room,” he enthuses.

Another added benefit of the wall is that it “feels architectural,” says the man of the house. “A bit more ‘design’ than curtains would have been.»

Design was certainly important to this homeowner, who worked with Area Firma to create a space that is a charming cross between country-rustic and loft. “I wanted to create a mini-loft, that was the idea,” says the homeowner.

TIFFANY IN FASHION

Key to this look was a brick wall. “Initially we considered ‘brick’ wallpaper, but then I looked at samples and they looked fake.” Instead, he sourced plaster tiles in Mong Kok, creating a gorgeous — and very realistic — white brick wall next to the entrance.

Like the brick wall, much of the home is decorated in white. “It makes it more open and just lets the art stand out,” explains the homeowner. Everything from the chairs and sofa to the dice decorations and kitchen cabinetry is in white, with the exception of a few pops of apple green in the bedroom, and nautical blue in the living room. These dashes of colour — and the mix of textures he applied throughout — prevent the all-white decor from being too cold.

Without a doubt, this apartment is no cold fish: rather, its warm and tranquil. It helps that there arc windows on three sides. Sunlight streams in, and the space feels airy, ethereal and almost angelic.

A New York stylist spent seven years collecting everything she needed to make her Brooklyn apartment an eclectic, vintage space she could call her own.

When she wants to work on her next project, Yolande retires to her study. It’s fully equipped with a mood board and plenty of creative vibes.

When Yolande Gagnier moved to her two-bedroom, 1,000-sq-ft Brooklyn apartment, she was faced with an exciting prospect: an empty space, a blank canvas ready to be transformed into her heart’s desire. It was a challenge that took her almost seven years to overcome; by then, she had amassed an inspired mix of mid-century pieces, together with eclectic, personal bric-a-brac, to make this rented house into what she now calls her ‘’home”

The process of acquiring the necessary furniture to put together this heterogeneous vintage haven in the middle of New York was a slow one. As a stylist herself, however, Yolande knows well enough that certain things cannot be rushed — especially if a home is to have a soul of its own.

“I acquired a lot of pieces on eBay, at stoop sales and vintage stores, while some pieces were saved from styling jobs,” she explains. “Its been minimally furnished in order to preserve the loft feel of the apartment, and I kept a pale palette. Each room is more or less monochromatic.”

Her biggest task, though, was to tackle the kitchen. She found the original linoleum and the cabinets rather tasteless and had to resort to the use of a colourful African mat to hide the tacky floor, and a bright colour palette of kitchen paraphernalia to liven up the dull space.

Yolande is an avid collector of mid-twentieth century bits and pieces. Her most prized possession is a Norman Chcrner Pretzel chair she found on eBay, while other favourites include a Mulhauser Lounge chair for Plycraft and her collection of French books from the 1.940s. The blend is interesting to behold. Ethnic furniture, modern pieces, a few antiques here and there, found objects, subdued colours and items she designed herself — like the display cases for her collection of vintage books, or a pair of coffee tables covered with felt that double as ottomans — make the living room a charming place to hang out. It simply overflows with personal references.

In her bedroom, the young stylist has chosen a relaxing colour scheme: white with brown touches and a decoration that boldly mixes baroque elements with Scandinavian flair. Here, after a long day full of photo shoots and meetings, she unwinds in the company of a good book.

When she wants to work on her next project, though, Yolande retires to her study, another white room she has livened up with splashes of colour. Its fully equipped with crayons, her laptop, a mood board and plenty of creative vibes.

The result of Yolandc’s seven-year long experimentations is a personal space full of contrasting materials, 1950s and ’60s furnishings and subtle colours. It exudes a modern and nonetheless timeless aura. Her professional advice to home dwellers looking to decorate? “Avoid clutter and total looks,” she says. “Modern is nice, but it’s more interesting to bring in contrasting elements to give a room warmth.”

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