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.
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worked at a design firm before jumping into fashion so I have a strong love for designed spaces and an appreciation of historical references.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!
Photos by Nicole Cohen. Follow her on Instagram @sketchfortytwo.