NYC Chic - Juniper Home

NYC Chic


Another reason why 2010 will be a big year for me and my family? This is the year that we move to New York City. We have been going back and forth between living in the city and living in the suburbs. Right now we are thinking city, mostly for commute reasons. {Well, mostly because the city is AWESOME, but secondly because an hour+ commute for my husband after a 14 hour work day is no good for him or me}

This NYC apartment was featured in September’s Martha Stewart Living and has already been posted about a few times, but I LOVE it. I think if we end up in the city, this sort of decorating is the way to go. Spare and clean, but lived-in looking and real. Jennifer Chused owns this Brooklyn apartment with her son and husband. She is one of the head designers at Dwell Studio.

First up, the foyer. Check out the antiqued mirror! Who really wants to see a wrinkles-and-all-reflection every time they walk in or out of the house? Here’s a great tutorial for turning any plain-jane mirror into an “antique.”

I think this is an awesome kitchen for a city apartment – butcher block counters and subway tiles all the way to the ceiling. The rug is from Madeline Weinrib and the bull’s head is from a flea market.

Here’s Jennifer in her stunning dining room. I love the yellow rug and all the pretty wood furniture. Noticing a trend with the creamy white walls? So fresh! And I like that she opted for simple cream fabric shades on the windows. Not at all fussy.

The linens are from Dwell (naturally). They look great paired with the peacock dinnerware from Anthropologie.

Jennifer’s son’s play room is absolutely adorable. The rug is from Dwell Studio, as are the fabric shades. The red rocker in the back corner is such a fun punch of color! It is Ron Arad’s design for Vitra, called the Tom Rock chair. I could only find the straight leg version online, at Unica Home. Craigslist sometimes produces this chair or similar rockers.

Jennifer made the soft storage bins shown here, but there are some available for purchase from the Dwell brown dots collection. The red toy bridges are available here.
And don’t you just LOVE the framed series? Yup, you guessed it. The prints are pages from a book about vintage airplanes (I wish they had shared the title of that book!! Anyone know?).

The vintage pronunciation chart, also in the playroom, is absolutely adorable!

You can purchase similar vintage educational charts on eBay and etsy. I like this one

and this one is very cute (especially if your child’s name begins with R!).

There is a whole series of these adorable charts. Love the black and yellow! Someone should snatch these up ASAP.

Jennifer and her husband’s bedroom is probably my favorite room in the apartment. I love the subtle gray-green wall color, the chandelier, that mirror!, THOSE PRINTS!!, and the chest (purchased on eBay). I also spy Dwell’s Pearl Chinoiserie bedding. Very pretty!

So here’s my question for you readers – would you rather live a little on the spare side in the city? Or are you more inclined to the urban sprawl with lots of room for lots of stuff?

Here’s my problem: I have lots of stuff and I love the city. Boo.

What did you think?
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111 thoughts on “NYC Chic

  1. I love the city as well. We live in the Boston area–though in a suburb just 10 minutes away from the city on 93. It really feels like the best of both worlds. Our house is on a hill that overlooks the city, but our neighborhood is nice, cozy and friendly. I don't know if there is any such thing as my neighborhood anywhere near NYC. However, I was recently watching a cable tv home show and the family bought a home in a darling town in New Jersey that actually has views of the city. Both parents worked in the city and just took the ferry to work. It seemed like their commute was surprisingly short and they got the benefit of a nice neighborhood. I'm sad I can't remember the name of the town. Good luck with your decision!

  2. Do you where in Manhattan your husband will be working? We lived in Astoria Queens, and the commute to the east side was only about 20 minutes.

    We loved living in NYC, but as others have suggested, you need to be realistic about getting three kids around the city. We had only one at the time, and the subways were challenging–it is often hard to find an elevator and the stairs can be a little overwhelming with little ones. I would suggest finding a neighborhood where you can keep a car easily so that you can get around with the kids more easily, but then there's traffic and parking to contend with.

  3. For us, the situation is a bit different. We live 20 miles outside of a small ski town that is a good 2+ hours from a major city. We chose to move outside of the "city" because the most we could afford to buy was a smaller two-bedroom condo in town. We went with a 1700 sq.ft. townhome outside of town, and while we often wished we could have the pleasure of having a drink with friends or quickly running home for lunch, we love living where we do. In the winter, it can take over an hour to get to work, but we have a playground right outside our front door for our dogs to frolic, and we love having plenty of space to house guests!

  4. A lack of quality time together can break even the strongest of relationships, making you feel like a single mom instead of a loving wife. Dump the "stuff"- keep the husband!

  5. I've lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey. I hate to reiterate what others have already said so I'm leaving some points out.

    -You can still easily have an hour long commute to Brooklyn.

    – You almost need a car in Brooklyn where things are a bit sprawl-ier and you have a family of 5 to grocery shop for.

    -Car insurance in Brooklyn is the most expensive in the country. Plus your car will get jacked.

    -My commute from Jersey to Chelsea was shorter than my commute time from Brooklyn to midtown (1 express train, no transfers).

    -Living in Manhattan was lovely we were close to everything. But! Our place was so small we could never entertain and ended up going out a lot to avoid cabin fever and spent a lot more money that way.

    Did you used to live in Brooklyn? One of the comments made it seem like you had.

  6. this is something my husband & i have talked and prayed about in lengths. (since my hubs job will most likely always take us to the big cities) both born and raised in the burbs we recently moved to dowtown seattle for my hubs job. it was an adjustment just getting used to public transportation, walking, small spaces, shopping at small local corner stores, downsizing to one car, etc. my hubs works long hours as well (50-60 hours per week) we decided we value having our sphere of influence (meaning church, jobs, friends, etc) within 15 minutes of our home. we also saw if valuable to invest in our local community and the most effective way to do that is near our home, job, etc. we as a family value that over square footage, stuff, clutter, yards, a seperate office, guest room, play room, etc. it's amazing how much extra time you have when you are not sitting in traffic for an hour! we also looked at the rest of the world and americans are the minority when it comes to the burbs and living far away from city centers. most people have less space and get along just fine; and have a better quality of life! now having lived in the city for a little over a year, i don't think i'll ever go back to the burbs. i'm a city dweller :)

    what an exciting time for you & your husband! i suggest sitting down with your hubs and making a 'pro' and 'con' list for the city vs burbs. it's a really easy way to see what you value when it's on paper staring at you :) it was a huge help for us!

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. I think the moral of the story is that there is no perfect solution here. It will be a major give and take no matter where we end up in or around NYC.

    My husband's firm is downtown in the financial district, and the public schools down there are actually among the best in Manhattan (though getting enrolled is the tricky part, we're discovering!). We're hoping to get into PS 234 in Tribeca. It's close to Michael's firm and there are some cool bigger (and incredibly PRICEY!) apartments/lofts in that area that would be able to house our growing family and at least a portion of my stuff! Though, I know that craigslist and eBay will be seeing a lot of my basement this summer!

    Our other favorite options include Westchester county and Brooklyn. Though, we lived in Brooklyn about two years ago for a few months. Our car was broken into three (!) times. No fun. I think we'll be selling our car this summer too!

    It's hard to know what would be best for my kids and for my business. It will be an adjustment to not have a car for moving client furniture, but I guess there is a way. (man w/ a van?) We will just have to adjust to the city style and move away from the suburban mind set.

    Anyway, thank you all for your thoughts. Keep them coming!

    **And if any readers live in the Tribeca area and send their kids to public school, please email me or comment! Where do your kids go and how did you manage to get them in?

  8. 8 yrs ago I moved from a 2,500 sq. ft home to a 500 sq. ft. apt in NYC and while there are times I want to climb my small walls, I'm happy that I live in this amazing city. The thing about NYC is that you don't spend all your time at home – you're out and about exploring. Most apts never look like the pictures in the magazines or on TV and there is never enough closet space. Be prepared to put stuff in storage or be very organized. FYI – Some furniture will never fit in the halls/doors. I think less is more and everything should have a purpose in the home.

  9. I say city! Go for it! I have lived in Chicago for over 4 years and my husband and I are moving into a very city-ish condo this weekend. Yes, it is less space than we would have in the suburbs, but we are steps away from the train, opera, theatre, parks, french market, river, etc.

    I am not a city girl at heart because I grew up on a lake in Michigan, but I have adapted to the life of living in a city. You have to be willing to change your way of life. (the every day stuff, like driving and grocery shopping, I find I go every other day because I can't carry a weeks worth of food, but I eat very fresh food because of this and lost a few pounds too) I find many people live in Chicago and act like it is the suburbs. Most often these people complain about the cityish things, which leads me to wonder why they live in the city. (like public transportation, traffic and crowds)

    I drive less (sometimes not even for a few months), our commute is 15 minutes, I meet new people and try new things. Living in a smaller space really makes me buy things that I need and love. I have stopped filling up my cart at Target because I don't have the space and let's face it, don't need the stuff.

  10. I vote NYC mostly since I want you to come be my neighbor. I have no doubts you could work wonders in a brownstone space, and there are so many amazing activities for kids in this city that you + your girls would love! Come visit us in Carroll Gardens and I will do my best to see you on it–good schools, food, and a super short commute to downtown! ps–congrats your new darling baby! what an arrival!

  11. I think I would choose something in between, like the first commenter suggested – A little house in the historic area near a big city. I love the city, but the noise and lights and lack of a yard would be too much for me. On the other hand, I want to be near all of that beautiful old architecture that you so often find in those in between areas with all of the culture that goes along with it. Certainly beats that cookie cutter lifestyle in the suburbs. (I have to admit, that I live in the suburbs, but it's close to the country, so that makes up for it.)

  12. I love your work and your website, but was a bit surprised to find out that your husband is a law clerk. I am a law clerk in NYC and could never afford a house, never mind contributing to support three children. Did your husband work before starting law school and do you work outside of the website and web interior design service? Not trying to be snippy… just curious and would appreciate some advice!

  13. I live in NYC and after almost 6 years would kill for a house. Ok, not literally kill someone but it would be lovely! Our 800 sq ft apartment houses me, my husband and his office. I know our apartment is on the big size for NYC but the thought of having a baby in a one-bedroom apartment scares me.
    Brookly has some beautiful brownstones. I used to live in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood and loved it. It's great for families, is 10 minutes from manhattan, has beautiful apartments and homes. Look there!

  14. FUN! Love that apartment! Good luck moving! :) I don't blame y'all for cutting out the commute. Plus, the city will offer amazing opportunity for unmatched experiences!

  15. me? city. I'm looking to get back to NYC this year, too.

    I have already decided that space to stretch out isn't necessary. I already love the cozy. I think small is good and ecologically sound. Plus, for a while, i have considered nyc apartments to be an urban version of a cottage.

    Who doesn't love a cottage?

  16. Such a gorgeous example of how simplified doesn't have to mean sparse. Thanks for sharing the photos! For me, living 20 minutes from the Seattle is perfect – we enjoy having a yard to dig around in, wooded trails to walk the dog along, etc. and know that downtown delights are just a bridge away. But I appreciate your dilema – you'll find the right balance!

  17. I am originally from NYC. You MUST live there for at least one year! It will be like nothing you have ever experienced before. I say go for it! If you find that you hate it, then, and only then should you move.

  18. City life while you can, fun experience, and you can always move to the burbs anytime! I used to live in downtown Charleston, SC and miss it so much! Now I live in the Atlanta burbs and would give anything to move in town~especially now with a baby on the way, I'd love to be able to walk/stroll him around everywhere :)

  19. So funny that I ran across your blog. Our family of 6 just moved from a 4000 sq foot home in Colorado to a 1200 sq foot apartment in Manhattan.

    I love it here! It's been quite the transition for us these past 2 months, but it's been good. I don't miss my stuff at all. I sold most of it before we moved b/c I knew it wouldn't fit.

    After only 2 months, I can say definitely choose the city!

  20. I love the post! I have been reading your blog for some time now- sorry to be such a stalker and not reply yet!
    I just moved to the city last July from North Carolina and I have so much crap! I've just learned to keep the bare essentials, because I cannot stand the clutter and there's no room for it here! Good luck with the move!

  21. Storage Unit!! They don't cost that much and you can have access to your things anytime. Brooklyn Heights or Carol Gardens might be the solution if you want more space and be close to your hubby.

    Although it is nice to be close enough to grab lunch and visit. Hmmm, I will keep my ears open to some nice spaces here.

    Your definitely going to need an awesome stroller that can deal with all the walking, the kiddos will def get tired. Good luck, maybe you guys will end up near us.

  22. Well, here is my take, if you are still reading… We have lived with one young child in NYC until she was about 2/12 yrs. It was wonderful. Then the next babe was on the way. As things go you start thinking of schools and we decided to move out. Have not regretted this step. I love the city, but am I happy to retire into my home(not that big, but man, so much better then a two bedroom condo…)and garden. Schools are great, lot's of clients, hubby comutes by train 45 min door to door….We are up in Westchester…
    And design: you can have your cake and eat it too…. city chic is great in suburbia too!

    Love that House above!


  23. I, too, am like you and have a lot of stuff and love the city. Someday I hope to call the city {specifically NYC} my home, but it may not be for a few years once I've saved some money to live there. And to live in the city I think I would be willing to cut back on some of the "luxuries" I'm normally accustomed to. If you make you're move, I'll look forward to seeing where you end up! Good luck!

  24. tough call. But since its NYC I say live in the city for sure. Such an amazing city and so nice to be close to everything and way better for the husband.

  25. SMALLER IN THE CITY…at least for a while.
    the resources and things to see and do will be amazing! your girls will experience an amazingly beautiful playground of the world.
    For a designer, life would be so grand taking it all in. you will learn so much!

    you will get your big spread… day!


  26. Do you knokw the name for the gray green in the last pic? I've been agonizing over the perfect gray green for months now. Our bedroom is covered in paint colors. I find just the right one, get it home and it's too minty, or too blue or too green!

  27. Oh, come live near me so I can pick your brain everyday and we can be best friends and you can decorate my house! So I vote for the burbs! I live in Connecticut–just a short train ride away. But honestly…three kids in the city? Honey, it ain't fun. Trust me.

  28. Aspire for the "big spread" when your children are a little older. In the meantime do what you feel would be best for your children. The most important job/responsibility you have been given is to care for your little ones. If you think living in NYC would be best for them then go for it! Don't move there because you think it's "glamorous" or because it would help your career as a designer. Spend less time on the internet and more time hugging your babies. If you don't, 10 years down the road you will have regrets. They just grow up too fast, and you don't want to miss a beat. May God bless you in all your endeavors.
    FYI-my husband worked in the financial district 8 years ago. We lived on the UWS. It took him close to 45 minutes to get to lower Manhattan every morning. We now live in Jersey and love it!

  29. Mmmm….those pictures are delicious! It looks so effortless that it's frustrating to me. I adore the pop of the yellow rug in the dining room. Should be so simple for me to figure that out for my home, but no, I fail miserably and it ends up looking flat and uninviting.
    NYC sounds exciting!! Living in the city would be quite the adventure. Of course, you would do it beautifully. Can't wait to see what you choose.

  30. I'm more of a fan of living near a city so it's easy to get to, but outside of it enough so I can breathe easier…both figuratively and literally I guess.

    Thanks for posting the tutorial on the antiqueing of mirrors. Have been meaning to google that for a while!

  31. I would give NYC a shot. It would be so great to be living right in the middle of such a great city! And if you decide later on that city life isn't for you, it's not such a big deal to move out to the suburbs. Good luck!

  32. Just read thru all the comments and thought I'd add something to my previous comment.

    As I said before we just moved to Manhattan in November with 4 kids (ages 17,14,11 and 6). Not sure what ages your kids are, but middle school selection is going on right now. It is by application, not just where you are zoned- like the rest of the country. (this was a big shock to me.)

    We looked in the area you mentioned (Tribecca) b/c of the schools too. Couldn't find anything in our price range. Not sure what your range is, but we finally chose to live on the Upper East Side. They have excellent schools and reasonable rent. We live in School District 2 and couldn't be happier. Both my elementary kids are in PS 158 and we couldn't be happier. You really can't go wrong with ANY of the elementary schools in district 2. They are all good – especially compared to the rest of the city.

    Also, when we looked for an apt we did Craigslist, special apt listing sites, used a broker from a big firm and found nothing. It was really discouraging. Finally ran across the group Manhattan Connection. They were fantastic and showed us things no other broker did. Found our place in one day once we switched to him. Let me know if you want our contact there. He was fabulous!

    Also, if you have any questions about moving to the city, let me know. I'm a newbie, but I've just gone thru the transition- so everything is fresh:-) Good luck to you all and God bless.

  33. I do not know what your financial situation is (obviously), but I second what was said in an earlier post, namely that as a junior associate at a large firm, I simply could not have afforded a decent-size apartment in Tribeca for our family of four. We live in Brooklyn. My firm is also in the Downtown/Financial District area, and the commute is short and easy. My first child goes to a good public school in Brooklyn. We still pay a lot of money for afterschool care and a private preschool for the little one. We love life in NYC, but it sure is expensive.
    Good luck with your move. I look forward to reading about it. And congratulations on your darling new baby.

  34. THE CITY – and I must agree with Miggy – NYC is unlike any other.

    We moved from a lovely spacious home in Arlington, VA (and when I say we, I mean me & my golden retriever) – to a 1 bdrm apt. in the Beekman neighborhood. It took time adjusting from lots of space to little space – but after 3 yrs -I can't imagine living anywhere else. You give up your yard – the city gives you CENTRAL BARK. You give up a large supermarket – the city gives you the neighborhood butcher, cheese shop and fish monger, and Italian grocer – not to mention the 24hr bodega at the end of the street! (Did I mention the wine shop that hands out dog biscuits!).

    Granted – I don't have children, so schools are not an issue for me – but what could be better than living in a city where you can go to a different museum every weekend.

    NYC is a collection of lovely little neighborhoods. We've been here for almost 4 yrs – and continue to discover new wonders. (Just made it to the Ziegfeld Theater for the first time to see "NINE". Now that's a movie house!)

    ENJOY THE CITY – and take advantage of all it has to offer you and your family!

  35. how about a small city apartment and a weekend home to escape to when your husband finishes work on friday? the best of both worlds :)
    love your blog…thanks for all the tutorials!

  36. Two things:
    1. the Dwell house is a multi-million dollar abode (in both the fabulousness sense and the cost to buy that amount of real estate in NY)
    2. Hoboken! MUCH bigger apartments, 10 mins to midtown. Its the hidden gem of NY. Bloggers love Brooklyn, but the fact is that most of it (Park Slope, Cobble Hill) is 45+ mins commute to work. HO-BO-KEN. Seriously. Free preschool and the private schools are 1/2 the price of NYC. Shhhhhh. You can thank me later.

  37. Loved this post, and had to comment. After living in NYC 8 years, I'd choose the city life over retaining lots of stuff. When you edit your things, you realize what you really need and want to live with. It's not always easy because yes, you'll lack storage & closet space, but if you keep in mind that it's a trade-off, then you can keep yourself from collecting more things & things & things…I'd much rather have a walking lifestyle, huge city parks, and the camaraderie that comes from city living- as in friends' homes you can walk to, getting everything delivered, etc. I also love not spending time in a car driving to & from places and dealing with traffic. I don't mind the trade-off.

    That said, my child isn't school-age yet: that's when city life becomes outrageously expensive if you're not on board w/ the schools in your area. I know it gets more cramped and more costly as kids get older, but if I leave a city it will be out of fiancial necessity, not by choice!
    I think you'll enjoy NYC immensely. It's a great place to be w/children.

  38. Grew up in a small town in the midwest, moved to Boston and live in "the city", while it's not NYC,(which I would totally move to in a heartbeat), it's still not in the "burbs". Lots of my friends live in the suburbs, have their yards and then have to drive everywhere. I love that we have 5 playgrounds or more within walking distance of our home, can walk to the grocery store, school and even my husband's office. Everytime my father comes for a visit he asks me when we are going to move out of the city. Not likely to happen since we are no in the throes of a major gut rehab, of a single family home in our current neighborhood.
    Yes, I am a city girl at heart, nothing wrong with living in the outskirts, it's just not for me.

  39. Here's a second for Hoboken, NJ. Seriously, it's a 10 minute bus or train ride into either downtown or midtown. When my husband works late and needs to get into the city he jumps in a cab and is home in 7 minutes! I've been here 11 years and have 1 year old twins with another on the way. It's a great town for families and full of young families. We don't need a car (have 2 anyway) and we walk everywhere. You get more space for your money as well. It's worth looking in to. The hubs and I are in the city every weekend and some nights I hop the bus in to meet him for dinner if we have a sitter. Seriously, look into the town!

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