Last year, St. Frank founder Christina Bryant moved from San Francisco to New York. When apartment hunting, she hoped to find something that felt cozy and warm, and this Manhattan one-bedroom fit the bill. “I never thought I would live alone, but I wound up doing it when I was 27 and had just graduated from business school,” she says. “Now here I am, still living alone eight years later!” Here’s a look around…
Paint: Hague Blue. Chairs: antique, reupholstered with Rebecca Atwood Speckled Fabric in Smoke. Bench and coffee table: vintage. Star-shaped bowl: Astier de Villatte. Throw pillows, left to right: Rebecca Atwood, similar; St. Frank; St. Frank; St. Frank.
On painting a rental: My apartment is a rental, but I hoped to paint and add wallpaper, so when I was negotiating my lease, I brought that up right away. Thankfully, my landlord was fine with it! It was amazing how much colors transformed the space. I work long hours, so I wanted the living room to have a moody, fireside feeling you could relax into. And since the color is darker, I went with a semi-gloss paint, which helps reflects the light.
On creative storage: In a small space, finding a place for everything can be a challenge, so it helps to recognize what parts of your storage can be on display. I put out all my books, of course, and all my cookware and clothes are in plain view. I also save shoeboxes as containers to live inside closets and cabinets.
On favorite places in NYC: For anyone visiting Manhattan, I’d recommend walking the old streets of Greenwich Village and stopping into neighborhood spots like Café Cluny. New York is such a walking city; I love to take long walks on weekends and pretend I’m a tourist — through Central Park or the Upper East Side.
Table and chairs: vintage. Juju hats: St. Frank.
On non-dinner parties: I love having people over, but for dinner I can only fit two of us at this little table. So, mostly I invite friends for drinks and appetizers, and let them sprawl around the whole place. I figure it’s less about the food itself than bringing people together and just having fun.
Paint: Green Blue. Mirror: vintage.
On the magic of a good paint job: When I first saw this apartment, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s amazing! Except for the kitchen.’ It was tiny and really dated. The aqua paint made the biggest difference. It was such a surprise. I couldn’t have foreseen how much I’d end up loving it.
On an itty bitty kitchen: This is definitely a New York City kitchen. It’s a closet-sized nook where only one person fits, and it doesn’t have an oven. But I have a serious toaster oven. Apparently, it can cook a turkey, although I’ve never tried! I’ll make simple things like roasted vegetables or baked fish. Scrambled eggs and red wine is my ideal dinner.
On being in the moment: I’m 35, and most of my friends are married with children. But I’m enjoying this time in my life, being single, in my mid-30s, in Manhattan. Since I’m not a great cook, I’m looking for a guy who likes to cook, if you know anyone!
Paint: Salon Drab. Wallpaper: St. Frank. Curtains: St. Frank custom drapery in Golden Maze Kuba Cloth. Bed: Restoration Hardware. Trunk and bedside lamps: vintage. Rug: Restoration Hardware. Chevron floor pillow: St. Frank. Light floor pillow: St. Frank.
On a sophisticated pink: I was excited to do pink in the bedroom, but I still wanted it to feel grown up. So, I chose a brown trim color to offset the pink wallpaper. I liked how subtle and earthy it feels. I think brown gets a bad rap. My nephew has been telling everyone he meets his favorite color is brown. And everyone is like, ‘Brown? Who says that?’ It’s so funny how people are anti-brown!
On the best part of solo living: I love talking to people; I will talk to a fence post. So, it’s nice to have forced time without people around, so I can find the space to take care of myself. It’s good for me. I think of myself as an extrovert, but as I get older, I need more alone time to recharge. Whenever I live with someone again, it will be a big change!
On the home office: I have a Tribeca office, but I also work every night at home, because that’s what you do as an entrepreneur. I’ve been doing it for so long that it doesn’t bother me to work right next to where I sleep. I’ve learned to shut off work mode and read before bed. I recently loved Daisy Jones and the Six. It has sex, drugs and rock and roll, and was hard to put down.
On a personal closet: This closet felt very feminine to me, so I figured I’d embrace it and paint the whole thing lipstick pink. Even the ceiling. I love that when you live alone, you can decorate your space in a way that speaks to you.
Thank you so much, Christina!
(Photos by Kate Sears for Cup of Jo.)