real happy living

relaxed upper east side family home, nyc

This two-bedroom apartment that comes with a balcony and a wonderful view of the east river is home to a charming family of three. The third member of the family is a cheerful little preschooler who walks the hallway and roams the living room every single day. Yet at first glance of the home, no one would have guessed, as it feels relaxing and calm without a trace of a child’s footprint, and that is how our client described the atmosphere they’d like us to create in their home. We love a challenge!

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Colors play an important part in our everyday life and psyche, and the choices we make is vital to the design. We went for dark grey tones to ground the rooms, soft blue hue for tranquility and a sprinkle of matte gold (which our client loves) for an unexpected pop of sophistication. We brought in natural wood for warmth and added patterns and textures for coziness and comfort. Amazingly, they all came together like they always belonged.

A family home that looks beautiful also has to be functional for the family and safe for the little one. Every piece of furniture picked has rounded features, is soft to the touch and holds up well to wear and tear. Armchairs and sofas have curved backs or arm rests and are heavy enough to avoid topple risk, and tables are round or oval-shaped (think dining table, side tables, drinks table, nightstands) —there are no sharp edges in this home. The one piece of square furniture we have, and one of our favorites and most versatile, is a soft linen charcoal tufted fabric ottoman serving as a coffee table. This is where drinks are served on trays, tired feet get some support, napping child stretches out (placed next to the sofa) while also functions as an extra play surface.

For any space to evoke a spa-like feel, things that do not conjure that sense of relaxation need to be hidden away, particularly a little child’s toys. Smart storage solutions that also complement the design of the space are essential. In the open-concept home office, which is also an occasional play area, a pair of attractive cabinets with carved doors hide office supplies and kid’s crafting materials and bags of puzzles. On each side of the media cabinet are woven baskets for cars and trucks as well as dozens of balls of all sizes. At the entryway, a console with drawers help organize keys and sunglasses.

Equally important to the design of the home, is finding a dedicated space for the child to play in. In this apartment, a little nook tucked away next to the kitchen was perfect. Child-size table and chairs allow the little one to move freely and shelves with containers that hold Legos, wooden blocks and other fun toys neatly arranged to make it easy for cleanup. More woven baskets of various shapes and sizes hiding books, musical instruments, among other things, are strategically placed in various corners of the home for easy access and cleanup, Baskets are our unsung heroes on this project!

A room is usually finished with accessories and decorative objects lovingly curated or collected over the years. In a family home, this is still a necessary step, but the accessories are kept simple. They are either placed out of reach of curious little hands or secured to the surface they grace. It is always nice when the items are meaningful or brings many smiles to the family. Anything breakable or too precious can be temporarily stored until little ones are older.

For a home to be a place that we want to come back to over and over and over again, it has to be enjoyed by every member of the family. If done right, there will be positive energy generated by the love and joy felt for each other. It is gratifying to see how good thoughtful interior design can bring life changing benefits to the people living in the home.