photographs by David Landproduced by Robert Leleuxinterior design and styling by Lauren and Suzanne McGrath
After finding her dream studio apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, designer and blogger Lauren McGrath created a floor plan with plenty of room for entertaining friends and running a successful business.
Lacking space for bedside lamps, McGrath employed inexpensive swing-arm fixtures from Lamps Plus that don’t require installation.
For a money-saving alternative to built-in shelving, McGrath recommends finding a good carpenter and using cost-efficient materials to create custom bookcases for little more than the price tag at IKEA.
An ottoman doubles as a coffee table and extra seating.
Clay Gourds Lamp
Pierce Elderberry 18X18 Pillow
Yellow Sun Pillow
Paprika Mohair Throw
Serena & Lily
Peony Fuchsia Pink In Glass Flared Bowl
Strut X-Large Table 90" - Ivory
Marilyn Side Chair in Orange Leather
Tini Tufted Ottoman
Lauren’s living space: 250 square feet of style!
wide open spaces
“It was more important to me to have one really big room than several small rooms,” says McGrath, who coauthors the blog Good Bones, Great Pieces with her design partner (and mother), Suzanne McGrath. “I work in my home, so I laid the space out in such a way that it could segue from office to bedroom with ease.” Her chic solutions include a faux-bamboo daybed, carefully concealed storage, and—in keeping with her eclectic, feminine style—a neutral background spiced up with colorful pillows and artwork scored at Kenise Barnes Fine Art. “I’m forever changing patterns and colors,” McGrath explains. “It allows my furniture and decor to constantly evolve.”
Wood Framed Panel Mirror
Mirror Image Home
Herst Rectangular Snow Marble/Vintage Brass Lamp
Fiddleleaf Tree Shown in Container A, Potter's Jar Old Iron, Large
Othello Iron/Mirror Console
McGrath describes this chest inherited from her grandparents (coated in Benjamin Moore’s Elephant Tusk) as “the real workhorse of the room—it holds everything.”
McGrath’s two swing-arm fixtures and four table lamps, including a stunner by Bunny Williams Home, create layers of ambient light, an essential for gracious studio living.
Even before she moved into her snug new apartment, McGrath started decorating. She selected a crisp white paint for her walls (Benjamin Moore’s Acadia White), which she gave to her building’s superintendent. “They’re going to have to repaint your apartment anyway,” McGrath says, “and it might as well be with the color of your choice.” She then picked out furniture capable of pulling double duty: her modern desk comfortably seats a dozen friends during dinner parties, and the skirted table in her foyer is a perfect place for tossing keys, with storage hidden underneath.
Peony Pink Fuchsia in Glass Cube
Edgartown Side Table White
Clay Gourds Lamp
skirt the issue
Rather than buy a new console, McGrath designed a kick-pleated cover for the unappealing—but well- proportioned—metal number she already owned. “Table skirts are a chic, cost-effective way to dress up an old table,” she explains. And when she tires of the look, she can reinvent the space with just a couple of yards of fabric and a trip to her seamstress.
Corral trinkets and baubles with a glossy tray—an essential for uncluttered studio living.The Lacquer CompanySmall Belles Rives Tray in Bordeaux Red by Rita Konig