I’d love to show you a few photos of our Manhattan apartment, if you’d like to see. I’d always found our place cozy, but we could never get the decor quite right. So this past winter, the amazing designer Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook gave our apartment a little makeover. She had beautiful, clever, and surprisingly inexpensive ideas. Want to take a peek?


Since our fireplace is non-working, Jenny filled it with cut wood, which I adore. (It felt like a Domino Magazine touch!) Our mantlepiece displays a photo I bought from Brooklyn photographer Anne Hall (from a series she sweetly describes as “horses and their girls”); two family photos; and Toby’s first toy.

Alex loves mixing old-school cocktails, so we thought it would be fun to have a bar cart in the living room. Jenny scouted this amazing vintage brass cart on Craigslist. (The story behind it was sweet: The man who sold it to us revealed that his grandfather had given it to his grandmother as a tenth anniversary present.) Then, to make the room look bigger, Jenny found a giant mirror at a flea market and painted it a rich blue. (She’s a genius at transforming things with paint.)

Our place barely has any closets (welcome to New York!), so we’re always craving more storage space. Jenny found this vintage campaign-style dresser and painted it black to make it look brand new. She also found the 1960’s brass lamp at a flea market. (The vintage brass deer is from etsy, and the Diptyque Paris candle is my favorite scent–Feu de Bois–which smells like a roaring fireplace.)

Since I work from home, I desperately needed a desk. So Jenny found this a-maz-ing campaign-style vintage desk, which is now my favorite piece in our whole apartment. She also scouted a vintage desk chair and painted it dusty blue. (Alex’s black globe is from eBay. And I was lucky enough to buy the flying car photo from Brooklyn photographer Matt Porter a few years ago.)

Our apartment’s hardwood floors are elegant but not that cozy (especially with a new baby), so Jenny found us a graphic Pottery Barn rug on eBay. She sewed the blue linen curtains herself–insisting that long curtains would make the room look bigger (true). She then brightened up our ho-hum wooden coffee table by painting it a glossy black. (I bought the curved-backed wooden chair from Nightwood a few years ago, and our friend Rachel gave us the British pillow as a gift.)

Our prewar apartment has built-in bookcases (such a treat!), but they were looking a little blah, so Jenny cleverly painted the backs of each shelf a gorgeous dusty blue. She also hung our captain’s mirror (which I had gotten a while back at Anthropologie) on the bookcase–a classic touch I never would have thought of. Alex had always wanted a sheepskin throw, so Jenny found a soft (and cheap) one at IKEA. Jenny also found the vintage office lamp and…wait for it…painted it blue. :)

Finally, here’s a quick photo of our bedroom, which we try to keep sweet and simple, since Alex and I tend toward insomnia. The black-and-white photo shows Alex’s family driving an old Triumph TR3 in California (they had stuffed a family of five into a two-seater; “Ahh, the 1960’s,” says Alex:), and I bought the seagull photograph from Portland fisherman/photographer Corey Arnold. The pendant lamp was $5 from IKEA, and my grandmother made the needlepoint pillow!

Thank you so much for turning our shabby apartment into a beautiful home, Jenny. And, readers, if your house is craving a makeover, I would recommend Jenny 1,000 times over. (FYI, she’s moving to New York this summer!)

Next up: Toby’s nursery :)

(Photos by our friend Karen Mordechai, who does Sunday Suppers, wedding photography, and family photography)