Would you even believe me if I told you how long it took me to try and make some sort of pun lettered magic to integrate Man Repeller’s initials with “apartment”? M ApaRtment. MaRtment. MaRtment Hunters. I don’t know. It doesn’t work. Vogue’s APT with LSD is hard to beat, but really, like Juliet said, what’s in a name? We just want to know what’s inside other people’s homes.
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. It’s like the ultimate exercise in uniform dressing: very little changes day to day save for accessories (flowers, piles of laundry), so the goal is to create not just a cozy space, but an authentic one.
For our first episode of Breaking and Entering — title is still in progress, as you can see! — meet Christina Bernstein, a thrift-savvy West Village dweller who lives with her fiancé, Marty, and their dog, Bean.
What do you do?
I started a sports bra company called Boobypack. It has sweat-resistant pockets to store your phone, keys, ID, passport, insulin pump, etc.). I’m also an aspiring writer, backgammon enthusiast and amateur arm wrestler.
How long have you lived here?
Coming up on 2 years this fall!
What do you like about your hood?
The quiet, the friendliness, the chocolate chip cookies from Sweet Corner bakeshop. I love how most restaurants and stores leave water bowls out for neighborhood pups and how we have a resident cellist who posts up across from Tartine. I’m also obsessed with coffee from the Roasting Plant (75 Greenwich Ave.) and its baristas Mindy and Denzel.
What’s the best thing about this apartment?
The deck and the fireplace.
What’s the worst thing?
Walking up four flights of stairs with groceries.
Tell me about working from home, what’s that like?
I’m kind of a freak in that I like to work in complete silence — no music, no ambient noise — so I love working from home. I have a dedicated desk/work area. If I sit on the couch, my dog Bean tries to sit on my lap and I make typos.
How do you make due with two people plus a dog in a small space?
We keep it really clean and tidy all the time. It also helps that Marty and I are both outfit repeaters and have relatively small wardrobes.
Let me into your thought process of interior decorating!
We moved from San Francisco into this apartment, so my first thought was about fitting all the furniture we bought out there into this much smaller NYC space.
We lived in a rustic old townhouse in Russian Hill so many of our pieces fit that vibe. I sourced a lot of things from flea markets, like our bookshelf, runner rug and outdoor table. I hunted for cool things on Craigslist, too, like our coffee table and extra large gold mirror. We had to sell/give away a lot when we moved but we kept as much as we could. Probably too much. As a good friend recently pointed out, people who live in 600 square foot NY apartments usually don’t have six lamps in their living room.
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating?
Not really. I think my Wyoming and Florida roots played into my choices, but for the most part I just found things I liked in neutral tones.
What are your favorite “scores” and where are they from?
I love deals. Our mirrored coffee table was originally $400 from West Elm but I found one that was only slightly scratched on Craigslist for $150. I’m also obsessed with our silver antler lamp which was a birthday gift from my mom, and I stole our comfy leather chair from my family’s home in Wyoming.
Tell me a story about one thing in your apartment.
Hmmmm. Well, the kilim pillows have probably traveled the farthest. I picked all four of them up at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar for $8 a pop.
For someone young and broke and trying to nest, what are your top 3 tips in finding /buying items for the home?
1. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, search for it on Craigslist or eBay.
2. Look for gems at flea markets and second hand stores like Housing Works.
3. Go to Home Depot for plants and succulents. SUCH good deals.
What about a total amateur in putting a room together — any tips?
Even lighting is the most important thing for pleasing home decor. Six living room lamps may be overkill, but they’re all on dimmers!
What does your dream room look like?
A cozy cabin bedroom with a fireplace and floor to ceiling glass windows that look out on a fishing pond.
What’s the one thing every apartment should have?
A Minion figurine.