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 this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the West Village home of Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Founder and Creative Director of LoveShackFancy. Our intentions behind the creeping: to — what else? — learn what she’s all about.
Rebecca Hessel Cohen
Neighborhood, # of rooms:
West Village, 3 bedrooms, 8 rooms total
What do you do?
Founder and Creative Director of LoveShackFancy.
How long have you lived here?
Almost three years.
Who do you live with, animals included:
My husband and our two daughters, Scarlett (4) and Stella (19 months).
What do you like about your hood?
Everything. It’s quiet, peaceful and charming, but still eccentric. It actually feels a lot like Europe.
What about this townhouse?
We love living in a townhouse. It’s our little oasis and my girls have grown up here, so we have the best memories. We love entertaining and hosting parties here, too — everything from kids birthdays to big dance parties.
What’s the worst thing about it?
There’s construction next door. It’s horrible.
What’s the best?
The soothing colors and layout.
Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like?
Yes, I sometimes work from home on one of the sofas. I do a lot of work in my dressing room — it’s an inspiring room for me. Otherwise, I sit in a window seat where I can look outside while I reply to emails.
What did you think about when decorating? What was the process like? Did you start with one piece and design around that or has it been add-as-you-go?
We are renovating a house down the street, so we rent this one. A lot of the colors and even the kitchen are from previous renovations, so we obviously kept all of that. We just moved our own furniture in and kept it very easy and simple — all muted colors. It was actually originally Gwyneth Paltrow’s home years ago and we kept a lot of her beautiful elements.
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating? What was it and where’d you get it from?
I aimed for chic and neutral. We like to mix high and low, modern with traditional. We always throw lots of layers and textures in with pillows, carpets, etc. My girls’ rooms were a lot of fun because they have so many sweet toys and clothes to play around with to make things feel whimsical and fun. Their bathroom is a retro girly dream.
What are your favorite pieces?
My gold mirror, which is from an incredible antique dealer. I also love the Steiff extra-large stuffed animals, and the art deco bar in the living room.
Tell a story about one thing in your home. Couch, photo, plant, anything!
Our bed. We’ve had it since I started dating my husband 13 years ago. We upholstered the bed together and picked out the mattress and can’t seem to part with it.
For someone young and broke and trying to nest, what are your top three tips?
1. Rent as long as you can. What you can rent in NYC will most likely be much more affordable than what you can buy.
2. Make small vignettes around the apartment and focus on styling those small spaces. The more intimate the better. Small areas with charm and character are better than bigger spaces with no charm.
3. Remember that your first home is not your forever home in NYC — it’s a place to start.
What about a total amateur in putting a room together — any tips?
Start with the things you love most, then add layers and textures. I personally love a monochromatic aesthetic with lots of different visual layers.
What does your dream room look like?
A creamy, dreamy, neutral palette with throws, huge pillows, cozy carpets and a massive bed. I would also love a huge, antique, Swedish upholstered king-size bed, and I fantasize about a beautiful antique rack of Victorian white dresses; wicker baskets and bags; gold mirrors and antique frames; and a gorgeous old distressed desk with a queen’s chair.
What’s the one thing every apartment should have?
Character and layers.
Anything else you want to add?
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your home, but think of it as a sacred place. Entertain, play music, have intimate family time and let it be special. There is truly no place like home.