Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

A couple months ago, my neighbor shared some news as he passed in the hallway: He and his wife were moving to Amsterdam and leaving behind their (bigger, brighter, situated-on-a-lower-floor-and-equipped-with-a-yard) apartment. After some consideration, I decided to jump on it. Take a look inside…

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Paint: Farrow & Ball. Floor lamp: Target. Bookshelves: DIY. Dining table: Organic Modernism. Dining chairs: Salt, Loop, Era, Masters. Console table: Anthropologie. Patterned rug: CB2.

On (more) room of one’s own: When I heard this apartment was available, at first my brain said: It’s too big for just you, shouldn’t you stay put until you’re ready to move in with someone or get married or buy a home or… Then just as quickly, I realized none of those things were true. Somewhere in my subconscious lurked a tired combination of imposter syndrome and a deep-seated belief that women don’t deserve nice things for ‘just’ themselves. But I’ve been working like a madwoman for the past few years, so why the eff not? Two weeks later, I moved in.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Painting: Hidir Jiang Tapanoglu via Organic Modernism. Rolling cart: vintage. Stool: CB2.

On a very unscientific method for choosing paint: For the living room, I looked at approximately 3,940 potential colors (I carried swatches in my purse like a loon) before finally landing on Dead Salmon. This choice was 100% due to the name, which made me laugh. The color changes at different times of the day, so depending on the light, sometimes the walls look pink, sometimes they look tan, sometimes they look brownish-mauve. It’s like living in many different apartments.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Curtains: custom. Sofa: Ikea. Globe lamp: Ikea. Cacti table lamp: CB2. Coffee table: Organic Modernism. Hand chair: Anthropologie.

On living with taxidermy: I don’t eat animals, yet there’s an antelope on the wall and a bobcat on the side table. I realize this makes little sense. They were gifts, have been a part of my previous homes, and are sentimental to me. Would I purchase them myself, at this point in my life? No. But I love them and I think they’re beautiful, in a Museum of Natural History way.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Horse photograph: Eventide Collective.

On life imitating art imitating life: As soon as I saw this photo print, I knew I had to have it, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Later, it dawned on me: My boyfriend has red hair and I have brown hair, and this is basically us, as emo horses. My subconscious totally took the wheel on this one. Now we can never break up or else I’ll have to redecorate.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Hand curtain holders: Anthropologie. Leopard rug: Collyer’s Mansion.

On being the phantom of my own opera: The bedroom has a very large doorway that lacks a door. So I installed these ridiculous velvet curtains that make me feel like I’m about to perform in The Phantom of the Opera every time I walk through them. It gives the whole operation this dramatic boudoir vibe, which, let’s be honest, I am all about.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Paint: Farrow & Ball. Bedding: Wamsutta. Table lamp: JWDA. Side table: scrap from a lumberyard.

On embracing darkness: The bedroom is a windowless cave, and after some trepidation, I decided to jump off the proverbial deep end and paint the walls a deep blue-black. It was absolutely the right decision. At night, it is so DARK that everything recedes and it feels almost like the room is hugging you. Last week, I covered the headboard with metallic brocade fabric (a quick and dirty job using a hammer and some nails) because by that point I was like, let’s just do the thing. Bring on the drama.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Console: CB2. Mirror and chair: vintage.

On the nighttime chorus: The darkness is very conducive to sleeping, but the noises are not. The radiators all have nicknames based on the sounds they make. There is Dragon, Hissing Witch, Locust, and Serial Killer (who clangs and bangs, like someone’s breaking into the apartment with an ice pick). Sometimes, they’ll all erupt in a cacophony in the middle of the night, prompting me to check if Serial Killer is actually a serial killer. Want to sleep over?

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

On bathing in 1950: The bathroom is of another time, but I love it. The tiles are the color of Pepto, and the water temperature in the shower has an agenda of its own. I lined the medicine cabinet with removable panther wallpaper, which serves the dual purpose of hiding unsightly rust stains and bringing me joy whenever I’m washing my face.

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Desk: West Elm. Chair: Kartell. Side table: vintage.

On a multipurpose space: This weird little room is my home office / yoga studio / meditation center / storage unit. What this really means is I haven’t figured it out yet. Suggestions are very welcome!

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

Paint: Farrow & Ball. Be Calm print: Louise Bourgeois via LACMA. Feminist print: Otherwild.

On writing books: In addition to working at Cup of Jo, I’ve written seven books in the past two years. This has typically meant working seven days a week and forgoing a social life, but to every thing there is a season. I’ve collaborated on celebrity memoirs, where you get to be the midwife of someone’s story and the keeper of their secrets. I feel fortunate to do this work; it always feels like a tremendous privilege to bear witness to someone’s life stories. I’ve also written books about fashion and health and cooking and fitness. And I wrote a series of novels for children — the first one is almost out! (Ahem, if you pre-order, I will love you forever.)

Caroline Donofrio Apartment Tour

On holding space: I’m an unabashed believer in magic, which is to say, I think it’s something we cultivate for ourselves. I keep this little altar, with a rotating cast of meaningful objects, things I’m working on, photos of loved ones, and reminders to stay the course. When it comes to home, I think Maya Angelou said it best, ‘The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.’ And that is my favorite thing about it.

Thanks so much for coming over! Let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. More house tours, including a beautiful bookshelf and more dramatic walls.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling by Veronica Olson.)