Design

Caroline’s New Apartment Brings the Drama

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…

LIVING ROOM:
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.

BEDROOM:
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?

BATHROOM:
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.

HOME OFFICE:
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.)

  1. Emma says...

    Your office is amazing …..! Love those windows.

  2. KSM says...

    Wow What a beautiful place. You are the fifth person I see, who has maxmilasit taste and has multitasking jobs and does them successfully. I sometime wonder if there is any link between those two traits ?Like people who can live with lots of stuff around them peacefully are differently wired functionally, than those who cannot, like me. I am such a minimalist that even the open bookcases get on my nerves now. (Partly coz of my extreme dust mites allergy). And I am a bad multitasker.

  3. Kristin says...

    Love it all! I see lots of crystals – where do you purchase yours?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Oh man, I find them all over the place. In NYC I love Namaste Bookshop, for both books and crystals. Everyday Magic, in Durham, NC, has an amazing rotating selection and also a great website:
      https://shopeverydaymagic.com/

  4. Lisa says...

    this is the home office of my DREAMS!

  5. Jackie says...

    Wow, I bookmarked like ten different pieces I must have in my apartment. You go girl.

  6. Leynafaye says...

    So luxurious! I love the floor length mirror in the living room; where was that scored?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good q! caroline is off on fridays (to work on books!:) but she’ll be jumping in soon to answer these questions. xoxo

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Ikea!

  7. Pepper says...

    SO JEALOUS!!!! So beautiful…love everything about it!

  8. Lauren says...

    Love the piece of art with the woman surrounded by snakes/love, who is the artist?

    Congrats on your new place!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It was a gift from my best friend, who found it at the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Paris. It’s part of a series from the 70s/80s. They don’t have an online shop, unfortunately, but if you Google “YSL love posters” this and many other great things come up!

  9. Cath says...

    As an Australian, I’m curious about all the renovations and makeovers that happen in New York rentals. Do you have free rein? Get financial assistance from the landlord? Have to paint over when you move out? Others may jump in here but my experience in Aus has been that a tenant would only ever paint if they were somewhere long term. And then they’d have to get landlord approval on the colour and it would probably be something conservative for easy re-rental, not whatever they chose but these makeovers seem to happen a lot in NY? Tell me more.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      now and again someone will get financial assistance from a landlord if they have to fix an unusable kitchen or something, but typically you’re on your own. usually you can paint with the landlord’s approval IF you agree to return the wall color to white when you move out. you’d likely only really do this if you’re planning to be in the apartment for a couple years or longer (i know that was true in our experience). but it’s so nice to make a place feel like home, it feels worth it. hope that helps! xoxo

    • b says...

      It varies by state, I think. I can only speak for Nevada, but if something goes wrong (stove stops working, dishwasher breaks, etc.), I fill out a maintenance request with my apartment complex and someone comes to fix it. We’re allowed to paint, but must paint back to white before vacating. I didn’t like my apartment enough to paint in the three years I lived in it and now I’m moving at the end of the month. The only thing my complex doesn’t do is clean carpets (they clean before someone new moves in, of course, but beyond that, the renter is on their own).

  10. Lizzie says...

    Every style decision you made was the right one! And those curtains—drowning in good-tempered envy right now. I live in an Airstream, so currently trying to figure out how I can incorporate velvet curtains.

  11. Mo says...

    Caroline, I feel sometimes like we’re kindred spirits! I’m also a single lady from a book publishing background, and just this summer I moved out of my tiny, hobbit-sized basement apartment into a (relatively) huge 1930s one-bedroom in a walk up with clanky radiators and similar ’50s tilework. The first thing I did was paint the whole living room a dramatic navy and, as you put it, BRING. THE. DRAMA.

    Thanks for inviting us into your home (and giving me some inspo for my single lady dream home!)

  12. Heather says...

    perfection. So well done and it looks so lived in already in the best possible way! I want to come over and hang out;)

  13. Jessica says...

    i’m eager to see the outdoor space! such an NYC holy grail

  14. Bekah says...

    Her home is warm, welcoming, swanky and interesting! Let’s have Soup Group there!

    On how she placed her books on the shelf. The color-coded rainbow arrangement is over done and I was surprised how refreshing it was to see a classic display.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Let’s have Soup Group there!” = yes!!! :)

  15. Rose says...

    My NYC apartment is also too big for just me, and you know what? Cheers!

    That home office is superb! I’m inspired to revisit my spare room I never know what to do with, either.

    Thank you for sharing, and, congratulations! But, backyard? Kitchen/kitchenette/kitchen-area? Looking forward to more.

  16. Tania says...

    Where did you get all your gorgeous throw pillows? I’m deep in a throw pillow obsession but I can’t quite seem to get the combos on my dark couch right — I’d love to know where the one on your beautiful dark leather couch came from.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      That’s from Ikea! They have a line of pillow covers made of vintage rugs, but the catch is since all of them are different, you can only buy them in the store.

      https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20332193/

  17. British Sarah says...

    All of it, unadulterated gorgeousness!

  18. Ramona says...

    I feel so honored to have a Hissing Witch radiator in my house just like Caroline, who is otherwise WAY too cool for me!

    And now I’m Googling removable wallpaper for my bathroom vanity.

  19. Lisa says...

    Such an amazing and beautiful apartment. It looks so cozy and welcoming and interesting

  20. Kate says...

    Caroline, any comment on how the leather couch has held up with a dog? I really want to switch to leather but I’m afraid the puppy claws will destroy it! Love everything about your apartment, it seems like such a reflection of your personality!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It has held up remarkably well! Granted, my dog is quite small and so are her claws, but the couch has been through four moves now and still looks close to new.

  21. Amanda says...

    Caroline, I loved your last apartment tour and I love this one. There’s something really inspiring about the drama in your spaces. I actually bought the OTT leopard rug (but from Overstock, which previously stocked it) and a dramatic coffee table inspired by yours, ha. Can you share where the lucite and gold table in your living room is from? Thanks!

  22. Nikki says...

    Where is the black silk dress from you are wearing in the first picture? Gorgeous! Also, your apartment is beautiful.

    • Colleen Wenos says...

      I love it too.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! I’ve had it for maybe a decade, but it’s BCBG.

  23. Sasha L says...

    Thank you COJ for so often providing something delightful to brighten the day. So much to be inspired by here: authenticity, magic, cheer, 7 books!!!! Which also prompts me to ask, are you taking care of your self Caroline? (Just reading about anxiety and how the more anxious you are, the more successful and high functioning, and how we all applaud that, so looking at *achievement* with slightly different eyes). Your work (& you) is so well loved Caroline, I hope your spirit and body and heart are being well cared for.

    The beautiful abundance of this space made me think of how my *aesthetic* has changed. I’m mid 40s, and now my home is pretty minimal with a lot of white and calm grey. I like clean empty spaces. I feel calm here. But years ago when my now grown children were my whole world, we had turquoise and yellow walls, an entire wall hung with their art, a bright pink velvet couch, tiny altars everywhere, little corners cordoned off with play silks to make cozy spaces, filled with stuffies and dolls. A lot more furniture to house all of the games and art supplies and tools for adventure. And I was very happy. I wonder if others have seen their spaces evolve greatly, have changed their minds and hearts about what makes them happy? Have wondered if maybe there are many ways we can be happy and feel at home?

    • Raquel says...

      Sasha, this is such a caring, sweet comment. I love how this comment section feels like a community <3

  24. Your apartment is the most gorgeous I’ve seen in a long time. Bravo for creating your own dream, witchy and dramatic abode. Your writing is hilarious, so thank you for that too. xx

  25. It feels so utterly Parisian! Congrats on the new place and I 100% concur on the deserving inner debate. I have a neighbor who was widowed when her daughter was only 5 months old. The SELLING agent on her new house actually told her that she didn’t understand why she needed such a big house for herself and her now 5 year old. As if she needed a husband to justify a beautiful home to raise her daughter in. My neighbor struggled with feeling like she didn’t deserve to be happy and it infuriated me so much. Every time I see that woman’s sign pop up around time I rage.

    • KC says...

      I get the more space = better, but currently living in a space that’s literally half the square feet of our previous place, it is so much easier to keep on top of 1. cleaning and 2. maintenance. And heating/cooling bills are way lower for smaller spaces (given equal insulation and all that). I mean, it also sort of *forces* you to keep on top of cleaning and maintenance and killing clutter because otherwise there is no place to get away from the wreck, and someday I do want a second bathroom so that when there are plumbing problems, we have an available toilet, but… there are upsides to cozy/snug spaces. (for me, the clutter-fighting aspects are particularly helpful: I like having space to have all the things I actually want, but also like having some sort of “cap” so that it stays closer to “the things I actually want” rather than ending up being “all the things” – and yet it’s also nice sometimes to just not have to think about whether you should keep something or not.)

      I’ve heard something almost-similar from friends with children, that it’s *great* to have so much space that everyone can easily spend time totally alone and have space to do a lot of running around… but it’s also *great* in a totally different way to be up in each others’ business all the time – you really know what’s going on with each other, you’re always within talking rather than yelling distance, and you’re more forced to go outside for the running around, which can be good for health in some ways. In that case, which is best probably depends on things like noise sensitivity and what exactly your family needs more of.

      And then there’s also the financial aspect – having a place you can definitely afford without stress, even if unexpected expenses come up, is golden, and some people stretch it a bit too far and then have a load of unnecessary stress on them.

      But yes, if you want space and space is good for you and you can afford space: you do not need to justify it, even if it’s a five-bedroom house for a single person. (any more than you need to justify, say, getting yourself a disco ball! Or a garden! Or truly comfortable shoes!)

  26. Maya says...

    Where I can learn more about the DIY book shelves?
    I am ready to say adieu to my IKEA Billys!

    • Clare says...

      motion seconded

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I bought lumber from a local lumber yard and track shelving brackets from Home Depot. Then (this is the magic part) my handyman helps install them, using enormous anchors so they don’t fall down. I’ve used the same shelves in my last three apartments, and somehow the measurements always work out!

    • katie says...

      Did you treat/stain the lumber? I know costs vary immensely, but any rough insight on what it cost? And 2-3 hours for a handyman to do? Loads more? (Have you had your handyman install all 3 moves?) As a long-time COJ reader, whenever I see this style bookshelf in a tour I swoon, and I’m not alone. Perhaps a post focused on how folks tackle making one?

  27. Kile says...

    So so lovely! Caroline, everything in your new place seems intentional and personal and that—it’s feeling to me (after circling around many less earnest pursuits) is the kind of adulting that I can breathe in! Thanks for sharing your space—also, I adore a vintage bathroom. In old photos from the pink-tile era, everyone looks so well coiffed! There must be good grooming juju in there!!

  28. Natalie says...

    I live in an 1840 New Englander home in Maine and I also have radiators who will now be named Dragon, Hissing Witch, Locust and Serial Killer ha ha ha! I know the exact banging sound that you described…well done lol!

  29. Melanie says...

    Congrats! Love the way you decorate. I’m currently redecorating my dining room, so this is giving me inspiration.

    Look forward to reading your book. Just curious- why the name change? Want to know what name to search for your other work. I really enjoy the way you write.

    Cheers!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      That’s a good question.

      Cala is my middle name and in my everyday life, I typically use all three names (Caroline Cala Donofrio) because it feels like a way to honor my family, where the names come from.

      When it came to the children’s books, I wanted to own them fully, but also keep them separate from my writing for adults. Sometimes my typical essays or stories might have adult themes, and I was careful to keep the children’s books clean and appropriate for younger audiences. Writing under Caroline Cala felt like an additional way to ensure I could write as honestly as possible for different readers.

      Thank you!

  30. Emily Coia says...

    1. LOVE your apartment and the name of the paint color
    2. This came at the perfect time — challenging the belief that women can’t have nice things just for themselves — I’m about to look at my dream home, a tri-plex, which is expensive but the two rental units would help pay for living in my dream home. I keep trying to talk myself out of it…WHY?…even though the math works. It’s just much nicer than what I pictured myself having…what am I waiting for?

  31. KB says...

    Love the vibe – it’s so different from your old apartment! Why does your little office/yoga/meditation room need to be defined? You strike me as someone that has a multitude of passions that make you who you are and isn’t that what your home should reflect? Just a thought….

  32. Anna says...

    Caroline posts are my favorite. Thanks for always sharing!!

  33. Alison says...

    Caroline’s style is so different from mine (aside from the small collected items) but despite that, I find myself so deeply admiring this apartment. It is a true piece of art. It is also appealing to “all” yet seems equally so personal to Caroline.
    Congratulations on your new home! Sounds so exciting and well deserved!

  34. Tiffany says...

    I AM SO JEALOUS. We rarely eat meat and I don’t hunt (nor could I!) but holy moley I love taxidermy.

  35. JennyR says...

    Just WOW! There are so many things I love about this apartment. I am so inspired!!!!

  36. Anna Myers says...

    Caroline this is amazing and I am kicking myself for not grabbing your old apartment. Stunning.

  37. liz says...

    holy moly, Caroline!! This is amazing!!! This place is so unique and full of character and just amazing! Most interesting home tour yet, I think! Well done!

  38. K says...

    I grew up in a house with a bathroom with that exact tile. It’s one of those things you hate to have and hate to see go (which my mom eventually did 20 years after move-in)
    Love your drama llama apartments

  39. Nicole says...

    OMG wow, did you purchase it?
    In London landlords don’t let us paint (or even fart near) walls if we are renting ha!

    It is gorgeous.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Some landlords let you paint rentals as long as you agree to paint back to white afterward. Caroline lucked out! :)

    • Rose says...

      And they have to paint it white (or neutral) again before they rent it again anyway, so if you make a really cute point you don’t have to paint it again yourself.

    • jan says...

      Wow it never occurred to me to ask “permission” to paint, I’ve always painted immediately upon moving in and repainted back to white upon leaving. An essential step to make the space my own while I am there! Why would any landlord object to that?

    • Nancy says...

      Generally landlord’s have to repaint between tenants so at our last apartment we struck a deal where the landlord didn’t repaint before we moved in and we didn’t have to paint it back when we moved out. Saved her one painting job and we got all the rooms the color we wanted. She took a little out of the security deposit because we painted the bathroom dark blue so her painter needed to do extra coats (extra hours) but the other rooms were light enough that the painter could just paint over it.

    • Karen says...

      Lots do! I’ve redecorated, put up shelves, thrown out carpets in my many years of renting in London.

  40. Elena says...

    Lady!! BRAVO!!! It is sexy, gorgeous, comfy, warm and filled with personality. What a beautiful space to come home to. Congratulations!!!

  41. Elizabeth says...

    Gorgeous apartment! I especially love those long, dramatic curtains and your tall, tall ceilings! I’m not sure if someone has told you this, but the issue with your radiators is probably something called water hammer or steam hammer. I have radiators and I actually find the clanking kind of comforting but if you don’t you can google “Fixing Water Hammer” and you’ll get a dozen great suggestions on things to try!

  42. I’m usually a all-white kind of gal, but Caroline’s apartment is so dramatic and lovely! It’s a space with personality, and I love that! Kudos on making the move and bringing in all sorts of fun into this space. Any idea where the clear jewelry box with drawers under the console is from? Thanks.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I found it at the Container Store. They also have very similar clear jewelry boxes at Muji!

  43. Cdee says...

    You did a beautiful job! Yes indeed you deserved the new place..want to see kitchen and patio too!!!😊

  44. G says...

    Congratulations. We don’t know each other but as a long-time COJ reader, I have ‘seen’ you ____ (grow? evolve? live? change? remain fabulous?) over the years and really feel so happy for you.

  45. Kay says...

    How fabulous. I love the way you have use all of the space. My favourite part of it all has to be the glamorous bedroom curtains. x

  46. tina says...

    Caroline, you look absolutely stunning! 7 books in two years? Wow, congratulations, damn straight you deserve it! Loved the horse comment! haha. I have the EXACT same shade in my living room also! I think it’s pretty perfect, calming and goes with with just about anything. However, is anyone the same as me? I can never quite pinpoint paint colour. No matter how much I scrutinize the colour palettes in every way, the colour always ends up being a tad different to what I had initially in mind! (We re painted my little girl’s room the very next day due to this, our initial colour in the living room was supposed to be a very dark blue/black, turned out WAY lighter and so on.)

    • Eloise says...

      Nope, not just you! I can NEVER tell what paint is going to look like so my husband has taken to buying small cans of pur top choices and and painting HUGE awarches (and I mean HUGE) on the walls. We dinate the small cans (and we just bought a house so we have lots!) to our Town’s performing arts high achool for scenary, etc.

  47. Nade says...

    It might be good if there were a mirror beneath the deer head on the wall :) Totally subjective

  48. Katharina says...

    What a beautiful desicion and space. You rock, Caroline!

  49. Love the choice of Dead Salmon for your walls!

  50. Teresa says...

    Wonderful! I really like to see Caroline’s apartments through the years :).
    But I have to admit I miss the kitchen and the yard ;).
    Thank you for sharing!

  51. Sydni Jackson says...

    Caroline, you’re the coolest person. I love your style and your humor. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your new space!

  52. Michela says...

    Love the maximalism of this place. I find all these empty houses around reflection of boring personalities…you definitely have stories to tell.

    • b says...

      Right? I’m a minimalist through and through, but Caroline’s place feels just right.

  53. Gemma says...

    Have you thought about having a side-gig as an interior designer? Because you should.

  54. Kate says...

    FABULOUS.

  55. Lauren says...

    This apartment is everything!

  56. JP says...

    I love your maximalist style – such a grand break from the typical all white all blahblahblah we usually see in the blog-o-sphere!

  57. Amy says...

    I loved this. Very refreshing and surprisingly unique (am a little tired of the cookie cutter Scandi -modern Brooklyn home tours).

  58. I’d love to know where your dress is from in that first photo!

  59. Lily says...

    Ok maybe there are not so many people here struggling with this but I would love to hear about your TIME MANAGEMENT, Caroline! Damn! Especially the writing-as-a-job-even-when-the-muses-dont-sing part. Do you have some secrets you can share? <3 a very stressed and behind deadline jr professor

    • S says...

      Second vote for this! From another stressed and behind asst prof—-who is now tempted to work on decluttering my living space instead of catching up on work!

    • Alice says...

      agreed, as a sad behind-writing-goals phd student.
      hiii to other academics struggling during winter “break.”

  60. I am so, so curious to know what’s up the hands! They seem to be all over. I’ve honestly never seen so many in decorating before. I was expecting with each passing photo for something to be mentioned about them.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I never intended to collect them, then one day I turned around and discovered I had a bunch! So now I guess I collect them on purpose. :) I love how they symbolize our ability to create things, to make change, to build stuff, to express ourselves, to comfort one another… it’s like so much of our human potential lives in our hands.

    • Juliet says...

      I love your observation about the symbolism of hands, Caroline! I have always loved the Alfred Steiglitz photographs of Georgia O’Keefe’s hands, and I think perhaps subconsciously this was one of the reasons why – aside from the fact that her hands were so graceful and beautiful in and of themselves.

      And I concur with everyone here – beautiful place.

  61. Ms Nina G says...

    Amazing apartment. This may be my favorite Cup of Jo post of all time. I wish I had known you when I lived in NYC!

  62. Agnes says...

    Girl got STYLE.

  63. Kristin says...

    Dying to know about that medicine cabinet and all its goodies. Noticing some Ordinary serums. Any faves from them?

  64. Megan says...

    I noticed a sort of “golden hand” theme. Any significance? Very cool home.

  65. Esss says...

    Love this, congrats!
    Where are the fabulous hands holding the curtains open from? I love them!!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! They’re from Anthropologie:
      http://bit.ly/2CXEfLW

  66. melissa says...

    i giggled quite a few times while reading this post. i really enjoyed this apt tour! hope we can get a glimpse of your kitchen and yard space as well :) thank you <3

  67. K says...

    This is epic! I love everything.

  68. Meems says...

    Kudos on the children’s books. My hubs and I are stewards of a “Free Little Library” in front of our home which is stocked with books for kids. We live in a multi cultural neighborhood so we struggle to find books that do not have just white kids on the cover. Inclusion is our goal. So, your first children’s book “Best Babysitters Ever” will make a great addition. I will bet it will be in there less than a day before one of the tweens picks it up :o) (P.S. Have you considered writing a tweens book that has paragraphs in english and spanish?)

  69. Ellie says...

    I have so many thoughts! Caroline, this is AH-MAZING!!! I adore everything about this jewel box of an apartment. I have one specific question for you…how did you get the wallpaper in the medicine cabinet? I have a rusted medicine cabinet that I refuse to put anything in (we used Ikea Ribba photo ledges for bathroom shelves which are A++) and I can’t figure out how to line it without a stuck on, wrinkled mess. Any tips?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Lots of patience and a little cursing? :) My only tips are to measure the area and cut exactly what you need. Then start at the very top and peel the backing off very slowly, smoothing the paper as you go.

    • abbey says...

      Also, using a shower squeegee to really smooth the paper down tight helps prevent wrinkles and air bubbles. Just smooth it as you go (slowly peeling off the backing). If your cabinet is too small to get a squeegee in there, any type of straight edge would likely work!

    • Em says...

      Hi, Ellie :) In case it helps, I’ve done this over the years by measuring and cutting the paper, as suggested — but then just using circles of tape distributed across the back of the paper to put it into place (so not actually removing the backing of the contact paper or wallpaper). Surprisingly it stays up well — and it ends up looking extremely smooth, no bubbles, etc. And if you ever want to move or change it, it’s easy to do.

  70. Ali says...

    Beautiful!! Will we get to see the kitchen and the yard?

  71. Carly says...

    I’d fill that multipurpose room with plants and put the coziest reading/napping chair and ottoman in there❤️❤️❤️

    • Sasha L says...

      Sounds delightful!

    • liz says...

      love this suggestion

  72. Jess says...

    I am obsessed with the recent trend of putting prints and decor on the floor. So much underutilized space!

  73. Elizabeth R says...

    Also. Where did she get the floor length gold mirror?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It’s Ikea, purchased for my first apartment back in 2006!

  74. Elizabeth R says...

    Also. I see the perfume tray. I wonder if Caroline ever started going to her dream perfume or which one she wears now?

  75. Katie says...

    Oh my gosh, you’re so cool. Just SO cool! ❤️

  76. Ashley S says...

    Well I am totally shocked. I’m a children’s librarian and I just ordered your book earlier today without knowing you were the author! It has glowing reviews already and sounds like it will be a great addition to our collection. Your apartment is amazing, by the way :)

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! I’m so happy to hear this!

  77. Monica says...

    Love it! I’d like to move in.
    And don’t change your office space / yoga space / meditation space – it’s fabulous!!

  78. I want to see the kitchen!!!

  79. Julia says...

    Love the apartment. How big is the horse print? Also, where did you get the glam curtains? Thank you!!

    • diana k. says...

      A good trick my mom has always done is to buy fabric she likes and bring it to the seamstress at the dry cleaner to sew a top channel and a hem.

  80. I ALSO have pepto colored bathroom tiles and I ALSO backed my medicine cabinet with that amazing wallpaper from Target! I love the combo in my bathroom and I love it in yours. :)

  81. Brit says...

    That bedroom came straight out of my dreams I swear.

  82. Elizabeth R. says...

    HOT DAMN this is good. I loved your old apartment; but this is a glow up for sure. 1) Details on curtain maker? 2) Where did you get the side table on which the cactus lamp rests? 3) Where did you get the little man in the dining room? 4) What is the art by your bedside table?
    Brilliant design.

  83. Lauren says...

    Could we also get the details on Caroline’s silk dress? Obsessed

    • Tara says...

      I second this!

    • Jenna says...

      Third this! <3

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s from BCBG, but probably a decade old. (Has made appearances at many-a-wedding!)

  84. K says...

    Best home tour ever! Such a dramatic, awesome space. Caroline, wanna be best friends?

  85. Sarah says...

    This looks like my teenage self’s dream apartment. Seems like it would be really fun to live there!

  86. Sarah says...

    Ummmm could this be more perfect? A total SITC/Girls 2019 vibe. Congrats Caroline!

  87. Danielle says...

    I LOVE the office space!!

  88. Whitney says...

    I live for these house tours! It’s so fun to take a look at how other people live in their home. It’s especially fun when their decor style is so drastically different than my own. Thank you for sharing!

  89. Sheila says...

    I absolutely LOVE the colors on the walls! The living room color reminds me of Benjamin Moore’s shade called Harmony, which I had in my previous apartment. I just bought my first house, and kind of wish I had gone for a more dramatic color in the living space. I DID however, paint my bedroom a deep green color (Benjamin Moore’s Cactus Green)…I was worried it would feel too small, but it doesn’t and I love it so so much! Go dramatic friends, it’s worth it!

  90. Heidi says...

    When I turned 40, I had a revelation to “use the good silverware.” My revelation also included enjoying everything I had been “saving” for special occasions.
    Whatever your “good silverware” is, enjoy it. Yes, you are worth a very nice place of your own, and I’m happy you are realizing this earlier rather than later. Your place is fab.

    • Nicole says...

      Could not agree more with Heidi! Now, also in my early 40s (a time of my life I am loving), I have adopted exactly the same attitude.

    • Savannah says...

      This is beautiful! We have weirdly fancy dishware (my parents china they never used, random 24k gold glasses from an old aunt, and crystal from our wedding) but we just shrug and let our two year old use it! It makes me smile to enjoy them.

    • jan says...

      I had this same revelation when I realized, then declared daily to myself, that everyday is my birthday. Hey, its gotten me through many a difficult period and allowed me to take care of myself in ways I would not have bothered with otherwise. Very liberating. Try it!

  91. Kay says...

    WHERE IS THE FAMED YARD?? Can’t wait for a follow-up!!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      The famed yard is super freezing and currently covered in fall leaves. But I’d love to share it as soon as I can. :)

    • Kay says...

      Ahhh the anticipation. Well, I loved the tour of the inside of your imaginative and gorgeous space, and can’t wait for the outside!

  92. Avalon says...

    This is one of the most imaginative and deeply evocative apartments I have ever laid eyes on. Wow! The bedroom is especially amazing- those curtains! I was wondering where those dark sheepskin rugs are from? The ones used as seat cushions? I am quite taken with them. Especially the one on the office chair.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you so much. They’re all from Ikea!

  93. Cay says...

    I’ve been playing with the idea of getting a velvet drape to curtain off my bed area in my tiny Brooklyn studio, and you just inspired me to bite the bullet.

    Also, the seven books in just a couple of years is amazing. How Barnard of you ;). Love, another Barnard lady.

  94. Jen says...

    Clapping!!

    Change out those sofa legs with some Ikea sofa replacement legs from Etsy and you’ll be done.

  95. Jenny says...

    Aww what happens to the “Exit” print in your previous home? I bought that bc of you and still love it 😍

    • Elizabeth R says...

      I do not remember that?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It’s still here! It lives in the back/office room, and is hanging on the wall opposite the desk, which wasn’t visible in this shot. I love it, too.

    • Megan says...

      i cant find a picture of the “exit” print – Caroline, could you reply with a link? xxx.

  96. Sarah says...

    Gorgeous !! And like a comment or said above, “bleeding “ the radiators might help. You use a radiator key that you can get at any hardware store, and then let out extra air, with a bowl underneath to catch any water. Tons of you tube videos. I am not handy by any means, and it’s very doable. Takes 2 minutes and means quieter apartment/house in the winter

  97. Margaret says...

    Love the apartment. Love. Love. Love.
    I actually just moved into a new apartment (and new city) at the beginning of the month and am struggling to take the first step to furnish or decorate it. At this point, I’ve only managed to buy a mattress, get a library card (!!!), and buy some plants. I’d love any advice on where to even begin decorating and furnishing an apartment from scratch for someone who is a tad overwhelmed!

    • Caroline says...

      Haha getting a library card would also be one of my first steps!

      I think light is so important, which you can see from Caroline’s apartment. Try and pay attention to which rooms get good light or bad light and then figure out whether to embrace the darkness in some rooms or mitigate it. My childhood bedroom got amazing afternoon and evening light (the golden hour!), I painted it orange and the glow in the early evening light was amazing.

    • Mrs. M says...

      Thrift stores! If you put something in your house and decide you don’t like it, it can go right back, and you’re not out much money.

      Also: make friends with someone who has a truck :)

  98. jade lees says...

    Aside from the dark walls and curtains and magic – 7 BOOKS!!!!!! That is an incredible achievement! Congratulations Caroline!

  99. Lee says...

    Ok Caroline, I have to ask. IS the wooden hand chair primarily a piece of sculpture or do you actual sit in it? I’m thinking it just be comfy for you to devote space to it in a city where that comes at such a premium.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I actually sit in it! It’s definitely not couch-level comfortable, but it’s a perfectly functional chair. :)

  100. N says...

    Super cool and I’m proud to say I have the same desk!! YAY! (feeling awesome that Caroline and my tastes matched in this one piece of furniture!)
    Uber cool and so dramatic. Show us the yard too! Does she have anything growing in it yet?

  101. A fabulous, inspiring space!

  102. Wow Caroline, talk about aspirational, in terms of outlook, achievements, work ethic and style! Looking forward to reading more of your work. In your new space your wall colours, accessories and alter are so lovely.

  103. Jenny says...

    Caroline, congratulations on everything! …the books, the bigger apartment and especially on your impressive collection of tchotchkes!
    I love your new apartment and think you are adorable.

  104. Joanna Tsay says...

    Even though Maximilism isn’t my style, I love how everything in your home comes together. I want to copy your diy bookshelves, bathe in the light of your multipurpose space and hibernate in the darkness of your bedroom. And good for you for snatching the opportunity to be in such a beautiful space. I don’t know why but these lyrics came to mind:
    There’s only us, there’s only this
    Forget regret, or life is yours to miss
    No other path, no other way
    No day but today… (from Rent)
    Thanks for sharing your home with us!

  105. Sophie says...

    I grew up with that bathroom. My mother said the tile color was “shrimp”. Bliss.

  106. Trina says...

    Love the art in the bedroom by the bed. Are you able to tell us some info on it? Thanks!

  107. Reba says...

    This is beautiful. SWOON. Love that idea about the peel and stick wallpaper! I’ve used shelf liner in the past to do the same thing but never thought of wallpaper which I’m sure comes in way cooler patterns.
    I have the same sofa from Ikea which I immediately identified by those classic square legs. I found a website recently called prettypegs.com which sells replacement pegs in different colors or capped with gold or silver. Maybe no one notices but to me they add a hint of something special.

  108. Erin says...

    BRB, running out to buy some removable wallpaper for the insides of my icky old medicine cabinets. :)

    • Kristin says...

      Same! I am going to use mine on the inside of a vintage, midcentury bar cabinet :)

    • Julie says...

      Caroline – Have you noticed any bubbles in the removable wallpaper from the moisture in the bathroom? I’m actually considering wallpapering my entire bathroom ceiling in another Opalhouse print from Target!

  109. Rebecca says...

    Such a cool apartment! I really love what you did with the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. I have lived in my apartment for 10 years and have yet to use mine. You have inspired me to clean it and wallpaper it!

  110. Lizzie Cogan says...

    Those curtains! Swoon.

  111. Kitty Douglas says...

    Congratulations on treating yo’self to a banging apartment. You deserve it!! Did you realize you have so many hands scattered around the place? Curious about that predilection… ;)

  112. shannon says...

    PS tell me I’m not the only one who zoomed in on the medicine cabinet trying to identify all the lotions and potions inside 🧐

    • Cate says...

      Same!!!!!

    • Jennifer says...

      Oh indeed. I spied Joanna Vargas, Tata Harper. I want to know everything about what it’s in there.

  113. shannon says...

    Your apartment style strikes me as “Moody Glam Menagerie” 🐆

    I’m glad we found out the results of your bedroom paint color conundrum! Also…my office is a similarly eclectic mix of yoga mat/desk/storage/pretty objects. It’s wonderful and I’m not planning on changing it. Maybe your space can remain a “figuring it out” zone.

  114. y says...

    Kitchen?

    • Andrea K says...

      I was wondering the same thing!

  115. TH says...

    I have been inspired by Caroline’s unique sense of style for years since the lockers and plants in her Williamsburg place. I love having a peek into how people make a home, especially one as interesting as Caroline’s! But I have to ask, where is the wee pup?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      You can see Mia the dog on the left in the top photo! She kind of blends into the sofa :)

  116. Jessica says...

    I love everything about it, but the removable wallpaper inside the medicine cabinet may be the very best part. Off to find some samples to replicate in my bathroom!

  117. Natasha Ayers says...

    Caroline, you have unbelievable taste! I couldn’t wait for an apartment tour since you first mentioned you moved and I was eagerly anticipating the chosen color of your boudoir; it’s absolutely stunning! As a long-time reader, I couldn’t be happier for your success! Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your lovely life. <3

  118. Bec says...

    It is SO refreshing to see something different! No minimalism, no grey/white/millennial pink colour palate, no overuse of indoor plants (I say this as someone who has about 25 plants…).

  119. Amanda says...

    “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.” <– I love everything about this, haha!!

  120. Amanda says...

    Your apartment is perfection! I love, love the Dead Salmon wall color, the book shelves, everything. So beautiful!

  121. Julie says...

    I love your space. It’s not “cookie-cutter”, it’s not someone else’s space/taste. It’s you, and I think that’s amazing. I try to have that feeling in my home,but with a husband and a five year old, our tastes and functions have to mesh.
    I love your little multi space area.

  122. Good for you for going for this apartment. I love how you decorated and got creative with wall colors and accents!

  123. Elizabeth says...

    A beautiful, dramatic space. I commend anyone who has such verve.

    I would like to know how Caroline uses those blue beads in the last paragraph. When I was 9, my dad took me to “the big city” from my grandmother’s farm, where we spent the summer. I bought beads similar to these and I can’t bring myself to throw them out, but to my eye they look garish. So I welcome any suggestions (I am also very fashion-impaired).

    Thank you!

    • Christina says...

      Hi Elizabeth! I shouldn’t presume to comment on what Caroline uses the beads for, but beads have become such a cool styling piece for the top of a dresser, on a bookshelf, etc. They just look so cool half-spilling out of a bowl. If you have jewelry beads that you’re too scared to wear around your neck, toss them in a bowl or on a shelf and leave it there and fondly remember your 9th summer in the big city. :)

    • Elizabeth says...

      Good idea, Christina!

      I’m thinking that if I work up the nerve to wear them they’d look great with maybe a dark, steel gray or also in the summer with a white shirt and white pants.

  124. Claire says...

    Enough about the apartment (gorgeous as it is — and you totally deserve it, obviously). SEVEN BOOKS in two years is just unbelievably amazing. Remembering when you started at COJ years ago, I feel like “I know you” and I’m simply so impressed and in awe by all that you’ve accomplished. Way to go, Caroline!!!

  125. Thanks for sharing your cozy home, Caroline! You definitely deserve this beautiful space.

  126. Karen says...

    I love that you are “an unabashed believer in magic.” I made an intention for more magic this year and now I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere. You should do a post on magic!

  127. Rebecca says...

    To say just amazing! seems entirely inadequate. Every room, her personal voice, the bedroom and the thought process. I just might jump off the deep end too. Thank you thank you !

  128. Kath. says...

    It’s ridiculous how much good taste Caroline has. Congrats on such a beautiful place, it’s poppin.

  129. Louisa says...

    Oh, taxidermy! I’ve got a zebra, an ibex, and a warthog — all via deceased in-laws. And I’m simultaneously horrified and in love with them.

    And congratulations on the books! You totally deserve this apartment.

  130. Annie says...

    Love your house and so glad you went ahead and got it! It’s amazingly cool and seems like it fits you perfectly. Thank you for sharing it!

  131. Emily says...

    Wow it looks amazing. SO COOL. Although I was sceptical at the thought of painting a windowless room dark, I love the result. I know Caroline left Cup of Jo to write a book but to learn she’s written SEVEN?! Amazing.

  132. Kathryn says...

    Oh. My. Goodness. Your apartment is a dream! I think you can officially add interior decorator to your resume.

  133. Lexi says...

    I am absolutely OBSESSED with that gorgeous bust head with the necklaces draped over it!! Where is it from (or does anyone have any recommendations of where to look for a similar one?)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      She got it at an antiques spot upstate but I’ll scout around and see if I can find something similar!

    • Elizabeth R says...

      You can usually get those at most antique shops. If you are in Atlanta ever, I can even tell you some spots.

    • Kim says...

      Everything But the House! I was on the hunt for one too, saved a search and they emailed me any time a bust came up for sale! https://www.ebth.com/search?q=bust. I bought a bust of Beethoven…that I promptly spray painted and painted a star on his eye, a la Starchild from KISS. It’s my favorite thing on our guest room.

    • AJ says...

      Lexi, the “gorgeous bust head” is actually a statue of the Buddha. I also see several images of gods from the Hindu tradition.

      For anyone thinking of decorating with statues and images that are not from their own religion/tradition, please think very carefully before you do so.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh she’s talking about the woman on the bedroom dresser. Caroline is a practices Buddhism daily and it’s extremely important to her. I’d love to have her talk more about it sometime!

    • AJ says...

      Joanna, thank you for clarifying! I now see that there are several busts/images with necklaces. My apologies. Happy to learn that the religious images here are not merely for decoration.

  134. Sarah says...

    ahhh!!! this is so beautiful. i love STUFF (candles! seashells with succulents in them! crystals!) and i’m wondering if caroline has any tips on how to house a lot of stuff without it looking cluttered? she does it so well!

  135. AB says...

    Beautiful, Caroline (and congrats on the move & your writing success!).

    It sounds like you might have steam heat, like I do. If so, have you tried “letting out” your radiators and getting them drained? The clanging and banging can come from air bubbles trapped in the pipes due to the hot/cold temperature changes. It might be worth a try! Our building handyman does it 2 x year for us. :)

  136. Cailin says...

    I would like to be you when I grow up. Congratulations on the new space!

  137. Natalie says...

    This just gave me major inspiration to get rid of the bookcase in my office and put up those shelves – I love that wall!

    • Nina says...

      Yes can we have a tutorial on how to do it? I just moved – got many boxes out of storage and realized I own all the books and zero book shelves

    • Kate says...

      I came here to say the same thing! I’m looking to do something very similar in my apartment and would so appreciate any links/advice! (Also, love the apartment and CONGRATS on *7* (!!!!!) books!!)

  138. AJ says...

    Gorgeous Caroline! It’s wonderful. The style and the sentiment! And big up to you working your ass off lady – this is super inspiring (I’m currently working ungodly insane hours to try and get out of my not-great sharing situation and make a home of some sort) and you deserve every inch of all of the success.

  139. I am re-decorating & taking notes! Love this look, Caroline!

  140. Rheeds says...

    Hurray for you Caroline. Delighted you chose the joy of a bigger more fabulous living space.

    Now what is the name of the FB blue-black paint?

  141. Chris says...

    What a wonderful space. Yes, we all deserve nice things for ourselves. I’m glad that young women are figuring this out. Don’t wait until you’re in your 60’s!!

  142. Maire says...

    Caroline- I love your maximalist style and that you are a dark walled bedroom/sleep cave true believer! My favorite room in my house is my bedroom because of the dramatic dark walls. I also love the way you incorporate lucite furniture into your decor. I’ve been on the fence about it for a while, but I really like the way you style it. Congrats on your gorgeous new home!

  143. Summer says...

    Yaaaaas qween! Best apartment tour to date – I loooove all the drama and color (and dead salmon is HILARIOUS….even before throwing in an antelope and bobcat, haha)! Also, that apartment has to be a unicorn in NYC – it’s amazing. I wanna see the “yard”!

  144. Marlena says...

    Oh my! The warmth of this place gives off such good vibes! LOVE.

    And what a novel idea to put up color or artistic touches in places that are more intimate, like a medicine cabinet. It feels almost sneaky and wonderful and deliciously feminine, like ‘I don’t need to put everything I love out there. Some of it is just for me.’ YES!

  145. Justine says...

    I love this post and your home! Thank you for sharing.

  146. Danielle says...

    Everything about this apartment (including its occupant!) is just So. Freaking. Cool.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed :)

    • Talia says...

      I so agree! Caroline – you are one cool lady!

  147. Nadine says...

    Thanks for sharing! Glad you went with the dark color in bedroom. And that surprise of wallpaper in the medicine cabinet! First time we visited NYC, husband & I had hotel bath with same tile…I personally like it.

  148. Eliza says...

    I love it.

  149. Emmi says...

    7 books?! Damn girl. What an achievement. Congratulations!!

    • Meghan says...

      Agreed! I want to hear more about these books and know when we can read them!!

  150. Kamaile says...

    Love everything about your space especially the bedroom. My bathroom is the opposite of yours in that I have baby blue tile. At first I was like ehhh but now I love it! I have an alter as well and it brings me JOY.