This 450-Square-Foot East Village Apartment Has an Inspiring Gallery Wall
For the past eight years, Alex Yeske has lived with her husband, Grant, in a 450-square-foot apartment in Manhattan’s East Village. They’re moving to L.A., but will miss their small space and its quirks. “The floors are so slanty, you could roll a marble down them,” Alex says. “But we love it here.” Here’s a look around…
Bar cart: Crate & Barrel. TV console: CB2. Coat rack: One Kings Lane. Botanical print: Liz Libré. New York poster: similar. Striped shirt artwork: Chance x Mary Matson. Other art: mostly vintage.
On creating a gallery wall: We collected these pieces over time, and then lay them down on the floor to arrange them before hanging them up. For art, I often look on auction sites. My favorites are LiveAuctioneers and Everything But the House (online estate sales), and I like digging through Etsy.
On a special heirloom: The rolling pin on the TV console belonged to my maternal great grandparents. They brought it through Ellis Island when they moved here from Czechoslovakia. They moved continents with their rolling pins! We keep it as decor now, but it’s so well made, I’m sure we could use it.
On a plant habit: I’ve gotten really into plants during quarantine. Every week, I buy fresh flowers from the farmer’s market and arrange them — it’s so therapeutic. I’m also now addicted to watching Monty Don, the British gardener. His show is so soothing, he’s so calm.
Large candle holder: Target. Small candle holder: Target.
On small-space entertaining: We like having friends over — usually just two or three people. We love Jon and Vinny’s spicy fusilli, and we light candles. We also like hosting an annual Hanukkah gathering with six adults and three children; we all just cram in.
Sofa: Crate & Barrel, similar. Plain pillows: Parachute Home. Gingham pillows: Zara Home. Rug: Nordic Knots.
On complementary colors: We landed on a neutral palette two years ago and stuck with that. Living in such a small space, I think it’s nice to have the same colors throughout, so it doesn’t feel jarring going into different rooms. It’s how we dress, too! Even my husband has morphed into a neutrals kind of guy!
Dish towels: IKEA.
On budget finds: These are my favorite $1 dishtowels from IKEA. They look really sweet and last forever.
Storage bed and headboard: Pottery Barn. Bedding: Parachute. Bedside tables: IKEA Hemnes.
On a meet-cute: We met during our freshman year at Syracuse. We lived on the same dorm floor, three doors down from each other. We immediately thought the other person was cute. We started dating a month into school, and now we’ve been together almost 13 years. Funny story: Facebook was just starting and so we saw each other’s photos before we moved in, and I remember telling my best friend, this cute boy from California is going to be on my floor. Everything worked out!
On framing finds: We once stayed in France at a very old hotel. Their receipts were printed on amazing paper. We saved them and now we’re going to frame them. I also took a few pens from New York restaurants we love and I’ll frame them in a deeper frame, almost like a shadowbox.
On tips for small spaces: Take your time with decorating — you want to see how you live within the space and get pieces that function well, like this storage bed. When decorating as a couple, I also think it’s good to be able to say what you like and don’t like. Be overly communicative.
On relaxing artwork: This print of California is by Max Wanger. We can lie in bed and have an ocean view.
On a signature scent: We display potpourri from Santa Maria Novella — it makes the whole bathroom smell so good. We actually have it throughout the house. It smells so good and isn’t overpowering.
On DIY art: We needed a little piece of art here, so I just put little dots on paper using the back end of a paintbrush. It’s in a vintage frame, which elevates it.
On beloved New York spots: When we move, I’ll miss the John Derian store, which is right across the street. Once we spotted a laundry bag with John’s name on it at our neighborhood laundromat and I was starstruck. We also lived near this great Mexican spot called Rosie’s — I always order the chicken enchiladas, and their watermelon margaritas are amazing.
Thank you so much, Alex!
P.S. More home tours, including a colorful family house in North Carolina and a city apartment with a cabin vibe.
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