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An Editor's Makeover Mood Board

After several moves around New York City, Associate Editor Kaylei McGaw is ready to make her tiny Manhattan apartment feel like home

It's a tale as old as time: A young girl moves to New York right out of college, completely overestimating the amount of square footage she'll be residing in, and underestimating how often she'll be relocating.

In my case, a shoebox brownstone apartment with four roommates in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood led to an even smaller Upper East Side spot shared with two girls, and finally, my current home,  a modest 4th-floor walk up in Sutton Place shared with just one friend. Over those first few years, I purged nearly half of my wardrobe and the few pieces of furniture I owned were either sold or are sitting in my parents' basement. (Sorry Mom and Dad!) 

An Editor's Makeover Mood Board

Last month, my roommate moved to Los Angeles, taking much of the furniture and decor with her. And while I was sad to see her go, after years of living in units full of other people's stuff, I'm excited to put my own stamp on the entry and living room, which are currently a Frankenstein-style collection of items that my roommate left behind, and a few of my own treasured pieces. To wrangle my many inspirations, I put together a mood board to kick start the transformation of these rooms into a cohesive and comfortable lounge area. 

The first thing to address was the apartment's lack of crown molding. I like the idea of using a color-blocking technique (1) to add interest to the walls, or possibly creating a geometric treatment on the ceiling (2) like Chloe Warner did in this hallway. My apartment is on the small side, so I want to incorporate shelving with an open frame that it doesn't take up too much visual space. I'll also be looking for a brass or gold finish to help reflect light, like the bookshelf (3) in Elizabeth Mollen's Austin, Texas home.  I'll sprinkle some smaller metallic accents throughout the room, like these wall sconces (5) by Atelier de Troupe, or to the base of a modern console table, a la Kent Belden's foyer (4). 

An Editor's Makeover Mood Board

I've always been drawn to the unpredictable nature of minerals and rock formations. Installing marble countertops is out of the question, but I've been on the lookout for smaller decor like this clock or crystal specimens (7) to set out on display. As for textiles, I love motifs that depict animals (9)or landscapes. I also like handwoven fabrics that are interesting in their imperfections, such as the nubby and overlapping yarns of this runway look (10) from Altuzarra's Fall 2014 RTW collection. 

Some other influences of the moment include these wooden screens (12) by BCXSY, any room Susan Greenleaf touches (11), my favorite color, emerald (8), interesting lamp and side table pairings, (13)  and this asymmetrical art display (14) by Robert Couturier.  

A sketch of the first room I'll be redecorating in my current apartment: the entry and dining area
A sketch of the first room I'll be redecorating in my current apartment: the entry and dining area

Now that my aspirational looks are out there for all to see, it's time to put a realistic plan in order. Be sure to check back in the coming months for updates on my apartment revamp! If you're working on any home projects of your own, please share them with us on Instagram @lonnymag.

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