Although Angeline Garrett was fully aware that the studio apartment she and her husband and their 12-year-old pitbull–boxer mix would be living in for the next year was only 260 square feet, she was shocked by how small it seemed on moving day. “I didn’t think there was anyway all our stuff was going to fit,” she recalls.
Earlier in 2021, the couple had sold their four-bedroom home in New Jersey. While a big backyard was nice, a constantly changing world forced the pair to rethink their living situation, especially when Garrett’s husband was expected to return to his Manhattan office. “We really sat back and asked ourselves: What do we need?” she shares.
Being within walking distance of Lincoln Center rather than across the George Washington Bridge was worth the downsize. The floor-to-ceiling windows that constantly bathe their new Hell’s Kitchen rental in natural light; an in-unit washer and dryer; and a large outdoor terrace made the decision that much easier. Still, there had to be some sacrifices—mainly in the form of a couch.
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“Originally I wanted a proper living room with a sofa and sitting area, but my husband has a large record collection,” says Garrett. “We had to figure out what we both needed to stay sane, and records ended up being one of those things.” A couch, on other hand, could easily be replaced.
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Garrett sourced an oversize credenza on Craigslist to house all their vinyl and a record player while still offering open drawers for overflow storage. She then went rogue for seating, bringing in two lounge chairs that almost directly face each other. It’s an unusual setup that the two are surprised by how much they enjoy; Garrett looks forward to reclining at the end of the day, chatting with her husband as tunes turn in the background (though they both fight over who gets to sit in the Eames).
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Her husband’s other major win? A television. The Alvar Aalto screen divider, made from malleable strips of pine, not only designates a distinguishable zone between the bedroom and dining area but hides a freestanding Samsung Serif.
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This illusion of multiple spaces, however, isn’t just a result of Garrett’s strategic furniture placement. She attributes a lot of the open feel to her subtle, pared-down palette, mainly Benjamin Moore’s Venetian Portico (though her aversion to clutter certainly helps, too). “It adds a little bit of warmth,” she notes. “I try my best to simplify our lives and reclaim our leisure time, and small changes like that really help.”
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Of course, Garrett also did a bit of selling and donating. “The amount of things you collect and have and don’t need is insane. And when you get rid of these things, I feel like it has a direct impact on your health,” she notes. “You just feel lighter.”
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But Garrett wouldn’t exactly describe her style as minimalist. The goal was simply to ensure they wouldn’t find themselves subconsciously distracted by a million different items in close proximity. There is one thing, however, they don’t want to live without again: another closet (or two). Though the pair will have plenty more of those in their future home upstate.
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