Rethinking Old Furnishings in New Spaces

wall-decorating-ideasWhen you move to a new home, it’s amazing to see how a fresh space can give your same old things a whole new look and function. A wonderful example of this is Michelle Adams’ new apartment. She is known to most as a founding editor of Lonny Magazine and an acclaimed textile designer, but I’ve always known her as submission #2 of the Happy Chic Home Contest. She entered her former NYC apartment into this contest that designer Jonathan Adler and I hosted on my old blog Design Daily back in 2008. We gave her 3rd place, though if her new apartment design was in the running . . . it would have snagged the gold.

Featured this month in Lonny with a lovely addendum on Decor8, Michelle’s new home is more than double the size of her former 325-square-foot abode. One would think this would be a good thing but she says handling the extra footage was one of the hardest parts about the redesign. Her old furnishings weren’t enough to fill the space and their compact design solutions weren’t necessarily needed anymore. Needless to say, she tackled the challenge head-on with smart shopping decisions and very clever rearranging.

Michelle Adams’ Design Scheme in Her Old Apartment
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Michelle’s Design Scheme in Her Extra-fabulous New Apartment
For the most part you can barely recognize the original pieces in this sophisticated new space but look a little closer and the reuse is inspirational.
new-livng-room-design-ideasA jute rug and a white linen sofa still anchor her living room but the ostrich wallpaper and yellow zigzag curtains bring her furnishings to life.
A long credenza is one of those luxuries that her former pint-size pad could have never afforded, but now she can use it as a grand display for her favorite accessories. This snakeskin tray used to be tucked on a bookshelf; now it’s glorified as a sassy bar tray. The tortoise-pattern lamp was once relegated to the corner of the living room and today it illuminates the details of her art and accents.
headboard-ideasYou may recognize these bedside tables from the former living room design–they were pushed together to make a coffee table. The headboard is exactly as it was but set against a charcoal-colored wall, it becomes that much more dramatic.

With a few moves under her belt, Michelle says, “I look for versatile pieces that can be reinterpreted in each apartment I move to (and eventually HOME!).” I don’t know where she’s off to next, but I know she’ll turn her things into something wonderful all over again.

Lonny photography: Patrick Cline