This Renter Wan’t Impressed by His NYC Loft — Until He Saw It on AT

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Name: Brian Beelman
Location: West Village, New York, New York
Size: 350 square feet
Type of Home: Lofted Studio Apartment
Years Lived In: 2 years, renting

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After five years of roommates and closet-sized with windows that opened up into revolving bedrooms and brick walls I could reach out touch, let’s just say NYC living was beginning to finally wear me down. Once the pandemic rolled around in 2020, I was, like many, completely unsure of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. Not quite ready to abandon the city, I left my old place, put all of my things into storage, and lived out of a suitcase with a good friend in the city for the better part of spring and summer to wait things out. If I was going to stay, it needed to be with an apartment I actually enjoyed being in, and, most importantly, one that had at least some Natural light (something my previous three rentals lacked entirely).

With the luxury of time and available inventory in 2020, I was able to search for months for the “perfect” space. I had originally seen the apartment listed on StreetEasy, and as unique as it was, the size and “features” (climbing a ladder to go to bed?!) made me hesitant. One day when I was browsing Apartment Therapy (true story!) in an attempt to piece together whatever my future dream apartment might look like, I came across an article with a very familiar-looking set of windows. I recognized the apartment immediately and was impressed at how the former tenant was able to maximize the space and lay it out in a way that felt both super-livable and also very charming. I emailed back to see if it were still immediately available, lucked out when it was, and have been here ever since. It truly feels like a “once in an NYC lifetime” sort of space that I feel super lucky to have. While the space isn’t without its challenges, I can safely say I’m no longer lacking natural light. I just need ample sunscreen.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Earthy minimalism

Inspiration: Nature! I grew up in truly the middle-of-nowhere Ohio so when I moved to the city it was definitely difficult to lose that immediate access to the outdoors. Having a space that feels light, airy, and full of plant life keeps me feeling grounded whenever the city wears me down.

Favorite Element: The front windows looking down on my street feel truly special. They’re west-facing so I’m always in tune with not only what the weather is currently doing but also what it’s about to do next. The first morning I woke up to a heavy snowfall, I remember just sitting there watching it for a good 15 minutes and feeling like I was inside a snow globe. Definitely a “pinch myself” moment.

Biggest Challenge: Also the windows! I love keeping them open when it’s nice out but since none of them have screens built-in, they can invite all sorts of unwanted, non-rent-paying guests off the street. One time I came home from some errands to a full-grown pigeon simply sitting on my couch hanging out as though he was settling in to catch up on his favorite show. Let’s just say he put up a fight when I tried to get him to leave. I haven’t been the same around birds since.

Proudest DIY: Definitely the kitchen. I used peel-and-stick tiles for the backsplash and a roll of adhesive “wooden” counter top to help things feel more modern rather than the white walls and counter that were there when I moved in. Most people are fooled when they come over so I’ve gotta give myself a pat on the back (just don’t look too closely). There’s also a row of LED lights under the cabinets to give the space much gentler lighting at night.

Biggest Indulgence: While the couch is probably the most expensive item, the biggest indulgence for me was actually the Dyson Fan/Humidifier/Air Purifier. I’d never spent that much on any of those three things combined in my entire life but it’s been worth it to have something all-in-one, especially in this small space. To keep all of the plants (and, selfishly, my skin) happy in winter, I have to crank up the humidifier to full power.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The most unique thing (and the thing I get the most questions about) is definitely the lofted bed space. Most people assume I live in constant fear of falling out of it one day but thinking back, I’ve never once actually fallen out of a bed, so if and when I do, it’d be the very first (and maybe last… ) time. But just in case…! I sleep with a weighted blanket to help keep me firmly in place.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I really love the green chair. I moved mid-pandemic when everything was taking longer than normal to ship and it was the only piece of furniture in the space for a good 3 months. I hadn’t even intended to buy it but the first couch I had ordered ended up being too big for the space so I hastily bought the chair and the color and vibe of it ended up inspiring a lot of other things I picked out later on . The floor mirror was also a game-changer in making the space feel even bigger and more airy.

I also adore the plants! I’ve never had much of a “green thumb” (most promptly die in my care), but with all of the natural light in this space, I truly don’t have to do all that much to keep them happy. When I moved in during the pandemic, I was mid-comfort-rewatch of “Desperate Housewives” so I named all of the plants after each of the women on Wisteria Lane… my “Desperate Houseplants” if you will. Edie Britt is the snake plant.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I’ve always been more of a minimalist, so everything I have in my apartment is something I actively use and, ideally, also serves multiple functions. To keep things feeling light, I make a point to go through my belongings once per year (especially my clothes), and if there are things there I haven’t used, thought about, or worn in the entire year prior, I know I won’t miss them when they’re gone! Therapy is expensive but learning to let go of things you don’t use or need is free.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? When in doubt, just get more plants. They go with everything, will never be out of style, and hell, they even clean your air. Also if you’re like me and have absolutely no home/interior decorating knowledge, it’s really all about Pinterest. Just pin anything and everything that catches your eye and after a while you can start to see patterns or repeat items in photos you’ve saved.

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