Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments: Nicole Chapoteau

  • Say hi to Nicole! She is Allure's Accessories Director and this is her home in Forest Hills, Queens.

    Follow Allure Accessories Director Nicole Chapoteau on Twitter @NicChapoteau and Instagram @chapoteau Allure on Instagram @Allure.
  • If Nicole looks familiar that's because she has done a New York Closet for Man Repeller, AND Amelia copied her outfits during fashion week.
  • "The artwork in my house is really important to me. Much of it comes from an organization my dad and his friends started to rebuild the Musee d'Art Haitien, the national museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after it was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. They were able to get several notable Haitian artists to donate or create new pieces to auction. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the national cultural heritage, and I'm happy that the pieces that hang in my home contributed to this cause."
  • "I took this photo (over the girls' chairs) of the vigils in Union Square after 9/11. That event made me change careers to follow my dreams of working in fashion."
  • "We bought a Danish mid-century modern credenza signed by Jens Risom for super cheap from people who didn't have the space for it. Found it on Craigslist."
  • "The broom that hangs on the wall above my bed is the one we jumped at my wedding. It's a tradition that dates back to the times of slavery. Slaves were not legally allowed to marry so the jumping of the broom took place of a ceremony."
  • "The tapes on the wall are mix tapes my husband used to make me in high school. (We are high school sweethearts.) (He was also a real DJ who used turntables and records!)

    The tapestry next to them is for Erzulie, the Voodoo goddess of love, beauty, passion, pleasure, luxury, jewelry and fertility. It was a gift from my dad; he knows me so well."
  • Fun fact: Nicole's oldest daughter, who is six, recently told Man Repeller all about her first month as a first grader.
  • "I have been working from home a lot more but my little one thinks I am there to play with her so I usually have to hide from her.

    Sometimes I pretend to go to work and I sit out in the backyard until she takes a nap, then I move to the couch. I would love a dedicated office space but right now all of our extra space is occupied by toys!"
  • "The wood floors are old so they creak a lot. It's hard sneaking out of the baby's room unheard."
  • "This cabinet was part of a large bedroom set that my mom bought for her first apartment in college back in the '60s. Then it was my bedroom set. When we moved, I kept this one piece to pass down to my girls."
Amelia Diamond | October 12, 2016

In NYC, there are many reasons people move to Queens. A big reason is called SPACE.

grown-ass-woman-month-series-man-repeller

As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In round four of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we scope the Forest Hills, Queens three-bedroom home…WITH A BACKYARD!…of Nicole Martine Chapoteau, Allure’s Accessories Director (and my fashion week copycat coach). Our intentions behind the creeping? To — what else? — learn what she’s all about.

Name: Nicole Martine Chapoteau, @Chapoteau

What do you do? I’m the Accessories Director at Allure Magazine

How long have you lived in this house? One year, one month.

Who do you live with? Animals included: My husband and two pumas. JK, daughters. One is six and the other is two.

What do you like about your ‘hood? Our neighborhood looks like something out of a storybook. It’s all Tudor houses and cottages. At Christmastime it looks magical, like snow-capped gingerbread houses but in NYC.

What about your house? All of the space and the backyard

What’s the worst thing? The wood floors are old, so they creak a lot. It’s hard sneaking out of the baby’s room unheard.

What’s the best? The backyard. We had a “city kids pool party” this summer which meant thousands of water balloons. It was awesome.

Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like? Is it important to have a dedicated work space or do you work from bed/the couch? I have been working from home a lot more but my little one thinks I am there to play with her so I usually have to hide from her. Sometimes I pretend to go to work and I sit out in the backyard until she takes a nap, then I move to the couch. I would love a dedicated office space but right now all of our extra space is occupied by toys!

Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating? What was it and where’d you get it from? Mid-century design. I studied architecture and urban design in college. I actually worked at a design firm before jumping into fashion so I have a strong love for designed spaces and an appreciation of historical references.

What are your favorite design “scores” and where are they from? We bought a Danish mid-century modern credenza signed by Jens Risom for super cheap from people who didn’t have the space for it. Found it on Craigslist.

Tell a story about something in your apartment: The artwork in my house is really important to me. Much of it comes from an organization my dad and his friends started to rebuild the Musee d’Art Haitien, the national museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after it was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. They were able to get several notable Haitian artists to donate or create new pieces to auction. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the national cultural heritage, and I’m happy that the pieces that hang in my home contributed to this cause.

For someone young and broke and trying to nest, what are your top three tips? Check out thrift stores and yard sales. You can often find furniture that was made well, that just needs some TLC. Look on Pinterest for inspiration/DIY tricks. And check out Ikea. I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea; just don’t fill an entire space with Ikea furniture or it will look sterile.

What about a total amateur in putting a room together? Any tips? Start with an item you love, whether it’s a photograph or a couch, and build around that piece. Everything else will work itself out.

What does your dream room look like? I would love to live in Fallingwater. Lots of windows, no curtains and one of those cool dome-free standing fireplaces from the ’60s.

What’s the one thing every apartment should have? Plants and art…that’s two things, but both are needed!

Follow Allure Accessories Director Nicole Chapoteau on Twitter @NicChapoteau and Instagram @chapoteau; follow Allure on Instagram @Allure.

Photos by Nicole Cohen. Follow her on Instagram @sketchfortytwo.

  • Wonderful! Also … Erzulie made me smile for two reasons. She sounds like a great goddess (I have never heard of her before) and there is a wise, lovely witch in Terry Pratchett’s (he’s my personal wizard 🙂 Witches Abroad named Erzulia Gogol … 🙂

  • Trilby16

    I’m glad I saw that ghost chairs come in pink! I’m making my spare room into a dressing room –in Queens, of course!– and one of those will be perfect for the make-up table.

  • Ali G

    Loved this piece! Any way Nicole could ID her entire outfit? Soooo perfect from head to toe!!! Thank you.

    • Amelia Diamond

      let me ask her!

      • Ali G

        Thanks Amelia and Nicole!

  • Jolie

    I moved to Queens for the space and the beautiful architecture too 🙂 My neighborhood is mostly a giant historic district, so I look forward to someday buying a cheap, huge apartment here! My current one is a rented studio so…yeah, that might take a while.

    I love all the little details in your house, they make it unique and cozy. Especially love the items above your bed and the meaning behind them!

  • laszloooo

    The collection of items above the bed are soooooo beautiful; her description made me gasp 💘

  • Karolena Greenidge

    Love the entire house, I am from queens and I know what those houses look like, I love all the updates!

  • Erin

    Wow, what a cool home/lady! This is such a thoughtful, smart space. Also, I’m DYing over her shoes/pants combo.