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 three of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we scope the one-bedroom, Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy-cusp apartment of designer Azede Jean-Pierre to — what else? — learn what she’s all about.
What do you do?
I’m a fashion designer.
How long have you lived here?
Who do you live with?
My boyfriend of 10 years.
What do you like about your hood?
It’s wonderfully scenic. I like the beautiful brownstones and the cinematic tree-canopied streets, the organic gardens, the bodega and coffee shops on alternating corners, the young, cool residents and that it’s a cultural melting pot.
What about this apartment?
I like that it sits on the corner of a busy metropolitan street and a beautiful block lined with brownstones and trees. It’s the best of both worlds.
What’s the worst thing about the apartment?
It’s efficiently designed but is a tiny NY apartment, no way around it. I moved here almost directly as a transplant from Atlanta, Georgia and I fell in love with the neighborhood.
What’s the best?
The location. Like most NY apartments, it is literally within a two-block radius from everything one might desire.
What did you think about when decorating? What was the process like?
I don’t think, necessarily. It’s more about the connections I have (or had at the time) with every item that occupies my space.
Did you start with one piece and design around that or has it been add-as-you-go?
I ask myself a series of questions before I make a purchase. It has to feel super curated as I lack open space. Is it special or unique to me? Where did I find it? Will I keep it forever? Do I love it, like it? Where is it going? Can it take the place of something else?
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating?
Nope. I care about whether something works in the space in relation to all other objects, whether it allows the space to feel like a “home.” It has to be comfortable. And I try to make sure that it’s not all from a similar time period.
What’s your favorite apartment “score” and where is it from?
My bed! I found it in an antique shop in the neighborhood called Bedford Galleries. They know me by name there and give me deals because I’ve been a good customer through the years. I visit weekly and I like to haggle prices.
Tell me a story about one thing in your apartment:
We have a chair that was gifted to my boyfriend from a friend that has been with us ever since we moved out of our respective parents’ homes. I reupholstered it myself in cowhide when we first moved to New York.
For someone young and broke and trying to nest, what are your top three tips when buying for the home?
Save and buy special things because you love them and feel they will be with you forever, rather than because you require something to fill in an empty space. That is the best way to build a home of treasures that are unique to you.
What if you’re a total amateur when it comes to putting a room together — any tips?
Start with a centerpiece. Add things that compliment it from there.
What does your dream room look like?
Large with full window wall and city views. Antique mirrors, modern chairs, varied art on walls and hits of natural elements.
What’s the one thing every apartment should have?
Nothing specific. I think every apartment should have something totally unique to the owner.
Anything else you want to add?
Because my space is limited, I like large furniture. Somehow, large furniture — with the help of mirrors — makes my space appear larger. Also, I don’t have much white space in my apartment, but I think that it’s because of its size, not because I’m a maximalist or something.