Design

A Book-Filled Manhattan Apartment Where Everything Tells a Story

David Coggins House Tour

Writer and author David Coggins lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, filled with books, curios and more than twenty rugs. His aesthetic is influenced by his parents (remember their cluttered-in-the-best-way Minnesota home?). “You have to be a little obsessive,” he says. “I say my apartment is like an English arts club, if the members stopped paying their dues.” Take a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM:

David Coggins House Tour

Sofa: John Derian, similar. Lamp: Noguchi.

On an urban oasis: I live on the loudest street in the West Village. But when you come to the back of the building, it’s a whole different world — very quiet and full of light. You can be at home, but don’t feel like you’re stuck inside.

On layering rugs: The #1 question people ask is, where did you get the rugs? I found most on eBay or at estate sales. Here’s my theory about art and rugs: If you have just one, it should be good because it’s going to draw attention, but if you have a wall with lots of art or a floor with lots of rugs, they don’t have to be fancy. I worked to get them in the right overlap, and then I could forget about them and be so happy! You know when you get it right.

David Coggins House Tour

Napoleon bust: Cire Trudon.

On a soporific sofa: I finally got a sofa that I could stretch out on, which is one of life’s great pleasures. I’d visit my parents’ house in Minnesota and say, I’m going to lie down on the couch. If you live in Manhattan, that feels rare.

On makeshift curtains: Since there are no curtains, I just nailed up some fabric. There’s one building behind me where the neighbors can see in, but I think people are no longer interested in what goes on in this apartment.

David Coggins House Tour

Ulysses S. Grant print: Hugo Guinness, originally for The New Yorker.

On a working fireplace: When I was younger, I would have a big party once a year, with a fire and candles everywhere, and no other lights, and the bed would get covered in jackets. I still invite people over, but the way our lives are now — since more friends are married or have kids — it’s more hanging out at the end of the day. A fire makes time seem special.

David Coggins House Tour

Cushion cover: Harris Tweed.

On dressing up a chair: This club chair is traditional but plays well with patterned fabrics. What’s fun is that you can find textiles all over the place — Austin; Minnesota — and they can come together and make a new thing. It’s like your mother’s Italian recipe, you add a little of this and that, you add salt to taste and see how it goes.

David Coggins House Tour

On timeless decor: People tease me by saying that I’m from a different era. I’m very happy to be alive now, but I also like older things that were made by hand of natural materials (although I do have a thing for little plastic soccer player toys). My sister will tease me by setting down something that she knows will drive me crazy — like, stickers on fruit or price tags on wine bottles. I can’t handle it.

David Coggins House Tour

Butterflies: Deyrolle.

On a funny addition: Recently a friend was staying in my apartment while I was away. He left a small framed photograph of himself on the mantle to see how long it took for me to notice it. It took me seven days! It was discreet in a silver frame with his smiling face. I thought, I have got to change things up.

David Coggins House Tour

On organizing books: I’ll put a book on the shelf only once I’ve read it. If I haven’t read it, I’ll stack it on the table or floor. It keeps me from getting too many books. I’m from a family of book stackers.

David Coggins House Tour

On watching shows: I love Fleabag, of course, like everybody else. I also love Endeavour. And the usual suspects: Mad Men, Sopranos, Deadwood. I also find myself recording old films on TCM and catching up on them later. Anything with Fred Astaire (if it’s in black and white) and Cary Grant (especially if he’s a criminal).

BEDROOM:

David Coggins House Tour

On a sleeping nook: In New York real estate terms, you can’t call something a bedroom if there’s no window. So, this is a bed alcove. It was hard to get a photo! I hang my ties over the end of the bed and on the doorknob.

On living alone: I enjoy living by myself. I’m solitary to a certain extent, and my life is a habit. I like doing the dishes when I get out of the shower, while I’m drying. I recommend this to anyone who lives on one floor. You drip dry, you’re getting something done, you’re starting your morning. To me, it seems very logical.

ENTRYWAY:

David Coggins House Tour

On a family design aesthetic: My place looks a lot like my parents’. I think my mom likes it, I know she does. She’s amused by it the way that parents are amused by their children. But my parents have a much more enlightened and inventive and imaginative approach than I do; I learned so much from growing up in that house.

On growing up in a space: An apartment is like a wardrobe — as you get older, you know yourself better. Your home evolves, your face evolves, your personality evolves, and hopefully you get to a point where you look around and think, this place reflects me and my worldview and my view of how I fit into the world.

David Coggins House Tour

Thank you, David! And here’s his book about men’s style, if you’d like to see.

P.S. A Vancouver home (with a murphy bed!), a colorful Brooklyn family apartment and a designer’s home in Provincetown.

(Photos by Stephen Kent Johnson for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Love his place, loved his parents’ place….right down to the dog.

  2. HH says...

    A. Man. Who. Reads. Jane. Austen.

    It’s a cliché by the time I’m posting but… [swoon]…

  3. This place I LOVE!!!! If my place ends up looking like this I will be very happy.

  4. Brittany says...

    Absolutely in love with this apartment! I need more rugs!

  5. Cynthia says...

    I really like this apartment. It has such a homey feel with quilts draped over chairs and stacks of books. It’s much like my husband’s and my house. I love my things.

  6. Bertina says...

    Oh my god I LOVE this place! And I think I love this man. Hum, is he single? Would he be willing to move to Switzerland? ;-)

  7. Sair says...

    I love so much about this home – a real true personal home. I love that in such a cosy space he has created space for things that matter such as those stunning club sofa chairs.
    I was debating with myself about the mystery vs non-mystery but was hoping to see a picture of David – love his watch and his outfit – a perfect stylistic match.
    Such a refreshing, personal and inspiring peek into someone’s home – thank you for sharing.

  8. Reba says...

    I *do* remember the Michigan house (always wanted to see its “summer look”). So fun to see “son David” in his natural environment! Would love to know more about the artwork. What’s with the sports team pictures? How do you decide what goes where? Do the other pictures her jealous of that little seascape(?) in the little arched niche?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Good questions!! These answers were left on the cutting room floor (we talked for 90 mins for the interview and I always cut these way down to be tight/readable) but he said: he loves art and pointed out that there is a) art that has value bc other people say it has value and b) art that is meaningful to you for whatever reason. He goes for the latter. He loves sports team photos and was happy to find vintage photos of 1930s argentine soccer players. He puts them up around the place and tries things out and says you just know when you get it right. Hope that helps!

  9. This is a dream home! I’m currently in the process of looking for an apartment but of course, I’m already daydreaming of the finished product. And now I”ve definitely found a new inspiration!

  10. eliot says...

    Wait. Men and apartments like this do not exist.

    I, too, am a yet-to-be-read book-stacker, an old rug-layerer, and a textile collector. I started layering some gorgeous, worn Persian rugs I inherited with a few that I collected while working in India just to try and hide some damage to the wood floors in my apartment. I’ve never looked back. Coziest part of my home. (For those asking, I’ve never tripped over them!)

    I’m swooning over his furniture too. It looks like every piece had a life, or many lives, before he found it.

    Jo, I think every one of your readers has a new crush. I know I do.

  11. Kelli says...

    I’m very curious the story to the 3 different soccer team pictures. Great apartment.

  12. AJ says...

    Cool. Just cool. This makes me want to be a grown up and put my world view on a space.

  13. Ceridwen says...

    I really want to go and hang out with him in his apartment. What a delight! He reminds me so much of my brother. When reading I also felt a pang of regret…I went Marie Kondo and Cleary missed her brief because I got rid of 80% or more of my books. I realised afterwards, when they were gon, that they did indeed spark joy…although I did cry while I was packing them up soi clearly missed that sign too! Well, to start building a new collection. Love this post.

  14. agnes says...

    Such an inspiring place; I would love to spend a few days there (is there a piano missing?). Thanks for this beautiful home-tour and letting us know about what seems like a very kind family. Also, it’s nice to have a man invited in “our” space for a cup of tea!

  15. K says...

    If my brother didn’t have kids and get married, he would live in a place exactly like this. Love it.

  16. Jane says...

    Where’s the framed picture of his friend now?? :-)

  17. Jill says...

    Omg I want to marry this man.

  18. Rebecca A says...

    Wow. I love.

  19. Mouse says...

    I used to travel a lot for work, and would often have to rent someone’s apt for a month or two. (Pre-Air B and B) I would be shocked by the lack of books in most places, as my family are compulsive and life-long readers. When I told this to my Dad, he said, utterly non-plussed, “But how do they decorate?” He would LOVE this apt. (His name is David too!)

  20. Heather says...

    Love love love love love this home tour, just as much as I loved the Minnesota one.

  21. Summer says...

    I love all of it, but this line got me: “She’s amused by it the way that parents are amused by their children.” FEELINGS.

  22. Meghan says...

    He’s soooo charming. Is he a friend of Alex? I imagine them smoking cigars, philosophizing and talking about books.

  23. erica says...

    “I’m from a family of book stackers”

    Amen!

  24. freya says...

    this is the apartment of an interesting person with a rich life, which is so refreshing to see with all the modern, minimal designy clichés that abound these days…

  25. Lauren E. says...

    A working fire place in the West Village?!?!? What is this heaven on earth?! If I lived here as a single person, no matter how my family grew I would insist we remain there. Stunning.

  26. Ro says...

    Haha, a fellow person who is annoyed by stickers and price tags! I read somewhere these things create “visual noise” as they make a room appear much more cluttered and stressful.

    I can’t understand a friend of mine who leaves the labels on everything she buys, including storage containers that are out in plain sight. I don’t need to know how many gallons a thing can hold every time I walk by. Life looks so much nicer without all the little pieces of paper lying (or sticking) around.

    • Lisa says...

      Same! One of my great loves is a fruit bowl my husband and I bought on a trip to NYC and it drives me nuts when fruit is put in it with a label on (or worse, on plastic packaging). It’s one of the reasons I hate all the plastic packaging fruit comes in in the UK (and of course, you know, saving the earth)

    • Jen says...

      Agreef. Also? Take the TP out of its packaging, and store it with the seam side facing AWAY. It is just so much nicer.

  27. Amanda W says...

    Love this! Style without any kind of pretension, and it looks so cozy. Would love to see the kitchen (my favorite room of the house). Also, Endeavour is one of my favorite shows, too! Shaun Evans and Roger Allam are so, so good.

  28. CEW says...

    The space looks wonderful, but man oh man am I glad I don’t live in New York. How do you feel so confined all the time? Oof.

  29. Anna says...

    I love the anecdote about the little framed photo. That’s exactly the kind of prank my husband likes to pull, because he wouldn’t notice it either!

  30. SFord says...

    Can we be friends? We could sit by the fire, drink red wine, swop books and discuss who is better, Young Morse or older Morse!

  31. Clare says...

    Love this tour! Especially seeing a guys home!

  32. Bridget says...

    I LOOOOVE his style and how his home feels so collected. A treat to see and read about.

  33. Tania says...

    I was laughing because this place reminded me of my brother’s apartment, and when I clicked his parents link I saw that it was the place that had so reminded me of my parents place (which my brother has taken a lot of his decorating ideas from). Also love that it’s a single person’s home (family homes are great too! it’s just nice to see some variation). I really appreciate the effort Cup of Jo takes to portray all different kinds of people, ages, and lifestyles.

  34. Amanda says...

    This is exactly how I pictured Finn’s New York apartment in “Tell the Wolves I’m Home”.

    • elizabeth r says...

      Amanda, you are my favorite. <3. Agreed. Also, if you liked that book and have not yet read 'The Great Believers', please do.

  35. emily says...

    Loved seeing this one with a guy – my style is much more masculine so right up my alley! :)

  36. I love it. To each their own, the minimalists can keep on Marie Kondo-ing, but I will forever live in a home filled with books and memories.

  37. Eloise says...

    Such a great post! I love the look of the new-ish rug layering thing but know I’d trip. Constantly.

  38. Anna says...

    Also, would love to read an interview or see a house tour from Roman and Williams, if at all possible.
    And thanks for always delivering the best content. xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh such a good idea! we’ll try for that!

  39. Mel says...

    Love this! I actually came to Cup of Jo today to search for that Minnesota house–we’re in the midst of renovating/redecorating and I remember feeling really inspired by their house. I feel the same way about their son’s! Thanks for sharing.

  40. Anna says...

    I loved this tour and had already bookmarked his parents place when it was posted. While I’m a more minimal being, I love the layers and references, warmth and nonchalance these places possess.
    I also always love to see how places that have played part in our lives influence us and come back in unexpected ways. So now, please, the sister’s place, if she’s into it! (The sister sounds like the cheeky one with a different approach altogether.) x

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she’ll have all the fruit stickers! :)

  41. Elena says...

    The layers in this apartment are everything. Layers of rugs, textiles, objets, life. I love it.

  42. Ali says...

    Gosh who is this guy? Likes Cary Grant movies, does the dishes wet-naked and uses the word soporific.
    I’m in love.
    Off to watch To Catch A Thief now.

    • Alison says...

      SAME!

  43. Elizabeth says...

    OBSESSED. Love this home so much. Felt the same way about his parent’s home too. I want to be friends with the lot of them!

  44. Rachel says...

    So much about this resonates with me – the books (shelved and stacked), the drip dry theory, the layering, the love of older items….I could go on and on. I’ve never seen anyone else prop up photos or postcards in front of the books on the bookshelves before – besides me! We are kindred spirits, David, and I feel a little more connected to others as a result of seeing your wonderful home.

  45. Alex says...

    Loved his parents’ home tour and David’s is amazing also! So lovely how he has the same bust of Napoleon and how he looks just like his father. I am terrible at recognizing family resemblance, but this one is just so clear, which is always the sweetest thing to me.

  46. ale norris says...

    this apartment is so very, very different from my personal aesthetic (think: very tidy and minimalist and symmetrical), but I LOVE it. seems like the kind of place i’d love to go for a glass of wine and stay for hours!

  47. Irene says...

    Forget the decor: I love his book selection.

  48. Those rugs! The art! Love all the collections David’s home. And the stickers on fruit…drives me bonkers, too. Ugh.
    p.s. I also love the cover of his book…minimalist and white…a good combo!

  49. “I finally got a sofa that I could stretch out on, which is one of life’s great pleasures. I’d visit my parents’ house in Minnesota and say, I’m going to lie down on the couch. If you live in Manhattan, that feels rare.”

    I relate to this so much! Last year, when we were living in a 240 sq ft Parisian apartment, I’d go over to a friends’ house and see a full-sized couch and daydream about stretching out on it.

    • This is exactly why I have a 93in long couch in a 280 sq ft studio apartment. It is so nice to be able to stretch out in a tiny space!

  50. Love this home!

  51. Ingrid says...

    Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was read. I was happiest when left, with a book, to my own devices. Consequently, the first thing now I end up noticing about houses in general is the places/furniture/nooks that are conducive to reading. And that’s what I really like about this place – so many spots that are, or at least seem to be, so reading-friendly. One could lounge on the sofa and lose track of time with a good book. Or you could sit on the brown chair by the sofa with a book such as Leave it to Psmith (which I spy on the shelf), only looking up ever so often to maybe catch a glimpse of whatever it is they are talking about on the news. Or you could sit by the fireplace, with your legs over the side of the chair, and get lost in philosophy, or even Vogue for that matter. Then there are times you just want to sit up straight and read a newspaper or a magazine spread out in front of you, for which the table next to the bookshelf is perfect.

    I do have a question about the rugs though – as someone who loves to wear pointy-toed flats, wouldn’t the overlapping rugs be a potential tripping hazard? Or is it just me?

  52. Jeanne says...

    I feel like I’ve stepped onto the set of The Royal Tenenbaums or something equally pedigreed, quirky and collected. Love Coggins’s style and read the whole excerpt of his fascinating book on men’s style. Would love to give it to my son but I’m sure that an eye-roll will be his response.

  53. Kay says...

    Fabulous!! I could happily live here, with or without him, I do like the way he thinks. x

  54. Anna says...

    I love this, just as I loved his parents’ home when it was featured before. I was thinking about why that is and realised it’s because it’s not an Instagram house. You know when everyone has the same paint colour and toy basket and cactus and the art on the kid’s walls is from the same online store you were browsing through earlier on? This was the opposite of that. Everything in the apartment feels like an authentic sleepy old heirloom. Like they’re objects that already have their own life stories. I loved what David said about a real fire too.

  55. This is my a favorite home you’ve featured. Especially appreciate that you’ve strayed from the aesthetic typically featured that starts to blur together (albeit the individual homeowners are so unique and intriguing!). Hard NO in fruit stickers… I like my fruit to look like it’s fresh from nature… not from aisle 2!

  56. Leah says...

    Could I possibly get the source to David’s heart so I could convince him to marry me?

    • Lynda-May says...

      yes. yes. yes.

    • Mouse says...

      Me too, and I’m already happily married. All the books. And the facial hair. And the sense of humor. I hope he’s making some man or woman very happy!

  57. Karyn says...

    “On a soporific sofa” — yes! My dad used to say about my tiny NYC sofa, proudly purchased at the Chelsea West Elm, “that’s a bench, not a couch!” Ha. Thanks for the lovely feature, David and CoJ! I love Endeavour (and Inspectors Lewis and Morse) so much too.

  58. AJ says...

    As I was reading this post, I was convinced that I had seen these photos before. I thought this house tour was a repeat. Then I figured out I was thinking of his parents’ house tour! Both spaces are so lovely and similar in so many ways!

  59. Rae says...

    Fabulous. Especially the art and fabrics. But also everything else.

  60. Rebecca says...

    Oh, this is by far my favorite home tour—I love the whimsy that is more traditional, grownup whimsy than playful whimsy. And, hooray for REAL vintage rugs and not the fake, poly-whatever distressed rugs that seem to be popping up all over the place. I love a good vintage rug, and the hunt that comes along with them.

  61. MariaE. says...

    Charming!!! Love all the books. His place is as nice and warm as his parents’ place. It’s a very good lived place which I love!! Loved every minute of this tour!

  62. Lucy says...

    Love the idea of drip drying while doing the dishes, I don’t think I’d be keen in winter though!

    It reminds me of the fact my now husband’s way of doing dishes used to really frustrate my mum. For some reason, he’d always have a robe on while doing them, and he wouldn’t have the tie to tie it up so he’d have to hold one arm close to his body to keep it closed, meaning he was doing dishes with one fully functional arm and one t-rex like arm. It took him twice as long as well.

  63. Midge says...

    “An English arts club, if the members stopped paying their dues.”

    I mean, that’s pretty fabulous and inspirational.

  64. Liz says...

    This whole thing made me smile :)

  65. Julie says...

    I love the diversity – more men and more unique characters sharing their homes please ❤️

    • Alisha kite says...

      Yes ! More men!!! :)

  66. Janice O'Kane says...

    I love all the readers that love this apartment! And I do too…from a distance. I felt the same about his parents home. I love the look of them but would hate living in either place. Even looking makes me a bit claustrophobic. What can I say, clutter drives me crazy, and no matter how well curated this feels cluttered to me.

    • Karen says...

      Same same… itching to tidy and declutter. I couldn’t live there for a minute!
      White and grey and space please! I’m surprised so many people don’t just like it but love it!

  67. Rachel says...

    The rugs look amazing!! His whole apartment is so creative and inviting.

  68. Amy says...

    So lovely! Typo, though: it’s Endeavour (with a U). New series is streaming on PBS and it’s fantastic, as usual!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!

  69. Kristin says...

    Lovely house tour and 1,000 times yes to NO fruit stickers and wine price tags. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

    • Elena says...

      Agreed! Price stickers on anything really, but it’s stickers on shoes that really get my goat. I want to rip them off the bottom of stranger’s shoes. I, of course, resist. Ewwwwww……

  70. Jen says...

    I do not know if this fine gentleman is gay or straight, but he is wildly charismatic and handsome, plus he has incredible style. LOVED his droll and singular style.

  71. I have a hunch that this apartment isn’t normally so tidy. Only because he pretty much owns all the objects I own and my apartment is NEVER tidy. You pay a price for “collections.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It actually is tidy in real life — but also lived in, in the nicest way. :)

    • rach says...

      i totally had that thought too!

  72. MKW says...

    Fun read. Austin, MN really caught my attention. Very. Very close to my stomping grounds. (I’m also a book-stacker-until-I-read. Then a shelver.)

    • Liz says...

      Well now I’m torn! Is it Austin, MN, or Austin (TX), Minnesota?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      The latter! :)

    • Jill says...

      Hi MKW. I’m from Albert Lea.
      California for 30 years tho. :))

    • Leah says...

      MKW—I totally thought the same thing at first! I’m a MN girl and did a double take wondering if there were a fantastic textile store is Austin that I’ve completely missed (please???). Only rereading it made me realize it was sadly referring to Texas. Oh my dashed hopes.

    • Kris L says...

      Add me to the list of people super shocked and excited about a textile store in Austin, MN. LOL!

    • Alison says...

      Same!!

  73. Marlena says...

    Books everywhere! The joy!

    Also, drip drying while washing dishes may not have ever crossed my mind before, but I feel like it may be genius and I’m putting it into practice just for sh!@s and giggles.

  74. Jane says...

    “A fire makes time seem special.” Beautifully put and oh so true.

  75. Christy says...

    What a nice, handsome man! I like seeing all his man stuff all over the apartment. Someone should tell him about towels though.

    • rach says...

      hahaha ditto and DITTO

  76. elle says...

    I did the same style of layering rugs in my home. I have one room with bad flooring and couldn’t find one nice big rug, so I’ve collected lots of little ones and some oriental runners since it’s a long room. It’s a work in progress. Maybe the constant reconfiguring, adding, and subtracting is part of the fun. So nice to see the effect when you get the jigsaw all filled in. What a lovely, unique home, and I love a soporific couch!

  77. e says...

    you should do this house next. one: because it’s beautiful and two: the family has a beautiful story (and they work for Mangolia!)

    https://bit.ly/2Xbgyvj

    • Leah says...

      Agreed! Love their account and they are truly wonderful people!

  78. Jb says...

    Great guy, great house and he even loves Endeavour (it’s a beautiful show and character btw – i highly recommend)

  79. Julie says...

    It’s so welcoming and personal!

  80. Angela Thompson says...

    Well, I suppose that just leaves his sister’s house to feature. Can’t get enough.

    • Mandy says...

      YES.

  81. kash says...

    this is exactly who i daydreamed lived in manhattan! thank you for this charming tour

  82. Jenna says...

    This makes me want to up my adulting game. He seems so cool and just grownup. haha.

  83. Charlotte K says...

    His parents’ place was in my top ten of all time, now his will join it. Having WAY too many ideas about rugs right now.

  84. Hooray, my book-stacking is trendy!
    He’s great.
    Fun apartment tour!

  85. Jessica DeStefano says...

    I love this guy.

  86. Katie Sue says...

    I thought this was a woman’s apartment at first and was thinking, I like this masculine woman, we could be friends! Then I saw the ties… And THEN I started crushing on this dude. When his photo came up at the end, YEP, totally my type to a tee. Love it. I love knowing there are guys out there like this. Gives us single girls hope we could some day find one. And living alone, I can so relate to this. I never close my windows anymore. If someone is interested in what goes on in my home, I’m flattered! And the drip dry theory is spot on.

  87. Hali says...

    A fire does make time seem special!!!!!

    This family though. What exceptionally stylish people. All of the art is so beautifully framed, how does he do it?!

    • Louise says...

      Yes, does everyone stylish just spend a fortune on framing?

  88. Ann says...

    I like this guy. I do love his parents place too! Love all the art!

  89. CB says...

    Where is the straw bull from in the last picture??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’ll ask!

    • It’s from a low-key store in Mexico City that I visited with legendary Hollister and Porter Hovey (friends of this site!).

  90. Pim says...

    ah… i really like him! :)

  91. Stacey says...

    I would just like to say thank you for using the word ‘soporific’ in this piece. It’s one of my favorite words, and it doesn’t get used enough.

  92. Tara says...

    Loved this! So refreshing to see an apartment not doing mid-century modern. Love the books!

  93. ncp says...

    i think i met my male counterpart. i found myself nodding in agreement to nearly everything he wrote!!!! love all the books. when i moved to my current home, i had 75 liquor boxes of books. love love love his style!

  94. Maiz Connolly says...

    swoon.