John's Dwelling Place Matures into a Sanctuary

John's Dwelling Place Matures into a Sanctuary

Jill Slater
Nov 8, 2012

Name: John
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City
Size: 900 square foot rental loft
Years Lived In: 1+ year

John is a native New Yorker and used to working and playing hard. For most of John's life, his dwelling place was not a home but rather just a place to land after a busy day working, a week on the road, or a month traveling the world. He paid little attention to decor, interior design, the comforts of home, or the way a home should make one feel.

John's work life hasn't slowed down, but he's growing up and has decided it's time to start actively shaping his environment. John just started a new company, which is like Craigslist, Twitter style. As he built a framework for people to de-clutter their lives, John began to think about the clutter with which he surrounded himself and how unsettled it made him feel.

This new approach of clean, spare living, in a relatively new apartment, has changed the way John understands the value and meaning of a home. He's like a posterchild for Apartment Therapy! Now that his apartment is clean, and is showcased with the furniture, objects, and clothing he likes most, he thinks of it as a "sanctuary!" In fact, John says, "I feel better about waking up because everything is so put together."

Living in a peaceful, purposefully curated home makes John, as he says, "ready for the next day." He likes feeling refueled rather than drained when he walks through the door, or lays down to sleep on his newly decked out bed.

John's place is a work in progress. He will have to find a balance between what works for his way of life, what works aesthetically, and what keeps giving him that restorative sense of calm — that everything is put together in just the right way.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: I tend to go for clean/modern design and furnishing aesthetics. I like things that are minimalist in nature, but very direct in the way they execute; museum pieces that are highly-functional... Like the Eames chair that I don't have. This contrasts the clutter that my life brings into the mix. I tend to leave a trail of clutter-y despair everywhere I go, so it's important that my living situation be neat and composed.

Inspiration: Travel in general. Aside from seeing how aesthetics differ in different places, I think many hotels do a great job of providing the right functionality mixed with clean design decor. The Peninsula in Tokyo is my new favorite spot; The room felt warm, but was very well appointed with gadgets and gizmos to make anyone feel right at home.... a toilet set with a motion sensor, auto-close curtains with a built in timer, a hallway accessible laundry drop-box so you don't have to deal with pesky hotel staffers... A stark contrast to the 4th-floor walk-up, seat of my pants living style back home. Also, on the road I always tend to find just the right tchotchkes to add to my New York environment.

Favorite Element: By far, the reigning champ in the apartment is the new shaggy red/orange/yellow carpet. For me its color provides a pop of fun and brilliance every time I glance in its direction. I was looking for a way to add something to spice up the whole place, and for me this is it. That said, lint-wise, it's not the greatest of friends...

Biggest Challenge: What to do with all the vertical space, still think there is something really cool I could string from the ceiling or place on the 2nd floor living room walls to really impact overall look and feel. A crazy chandelier, or mounted moose-head would perhaps do the trick.

What Friends Say: Wow, cool place brah?! Joking, no one ever even really sees it. I'm such a work-a-holic, it's pretty sad and lonely unfortunately. My apartment is more a quiet spot for me to regroup before jumping back into the fray, again and again day after day, or as a jumping off point between trips.

Biggest Embarrassment: In life or with the apartment? Apartment wise, kind of think it's the home office/walk-in closet. This is two-fold embarrassment... On the one-hand, the fact that I have to work so much from home speaks to a life that's too work driven. On the other hand, things aren't laid out well at all from a storage standpoint. I'm always running back and forth picking clothes from my upstairs dresser and my downstairs closets.

Proudest DIY: I hung the curtains myself. I like getting my hands dirty sometimes. This required drilling, a level, and a few runs to home depot. I tend to be pretty handy with simple things. I try to delegate larger projects, in most instances, but definitely see the fun in getting it done myself.

Biggest Indulgence: The bed linens. Prior to the upgrade, I had a twin blanket on a king bed coupled with some god-awful sheets. This time, went for the gusto and got premium bedding from Sferra, so far it's definitely an incredible shift.

Best Advice: Don't buy something just because you need it — this is how all bad furniture gets bought. Make sure you're in love with every piece before you buy... even if it means waiting a while for the right stuff, or living in an unfurnished apartment.

Dream Source/Resources: The Mandarin Oriental. The colors always look right, with just the right amount of stuff so that it feels homey. At least to me, this might make someone else gag, who knows... To me the home should be a place to feel pampered, definitely not quite there yet but this is how I would want it to be were life a dream.


Ashlina Kaposta "The Decorista". She's incredible and helped me find inspiration and décor that works with my personality. I am a fan.


    • Area rug in living room: ABC Carpet
    • Sectional Sofa: West Elm
    • Shepherd Fairy art: Flight Club New York (Greene St.)
    • Art and Grafitti books: from my travels around the world


    • Wallpaper in office:
    • Computers: MAC
    • Sneaker Collection: Flight Club
    • Window Coverings: Bed Bath and Beyond


    • Dining table: cb2
    • Dining room chairs: Ikea
    • Dishes: cb2
    • Red cabinet in kitchen: Ikea
    • Stools: Kartell
    • Stabbed Man Knife Holder in kitchen: Designed by Raffaele Ianelli/Amazon
    • Coffee maker: Nespresso


    • Bedding:
    • Bedside Table: West Elm
    • Photographs in bedroom: vintage


    • Bathroom towels and rugs: cb2

Thanks John!

(Images: Jill Slater)

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