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 Downtown New York home of Mignonne Gavigan Smith, founder and designer of luxury accessories brand Mignonne Gavigan. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about.
Mignonne Gavigan Smith
# of rooms in apartment:
Eight (two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room and then the dining, living room and kitchen, which are all open concept).
What do you do?
I am the founder and designer of luxury accessories brand Mignonne Gavigan.
How long have you lived here?
Who do you live with, animals included?
My husband, Gray, 10-month-old son, Fields, and cat, Franklin.
What do you like about the neighborhood?
I love the calm and history of the neighborhood, the delicious restaurants on every corner and the close proximity of our home to the Hudson water’s edge, kids playground, and conveniently, my office.
What’s the best thing about your home?
I love where we live. It’s really special and sits on a quaint, cobblestone street. Our building was built in the 1890s and the apartment still has all of its original architecture and, most importantly, charm.
Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like? Is it important to you to have a dedicated work space or do you work from bed/the couch?
We started Mignonne Gavigan out of my apartment. Our first three employees met here every day for the first 1.5/2 years of our inception – it’s where all the magic happened! Now, I try to avoid working from home as much as I can. When I leave the office, I prioritize spending time with my family. It’s important for me to prioritize hanging out with baby Fields over checking things off my work to-do list.
What did you think about when decorating?
Neutrals. I love infusing color into my collections (the bolder, the better — you know me!) but when decorating my home, I’d rather invest in calming palettes and entertain a pop of color here and there for an unexpected touch. Your home is your safe space and sanctuary, so I believe the colors you choose should mirror those sentiments.
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating?
Yes, the building was old and beautiful when we moved in – it still maintains its original windows, exposed brick, moldings, wood flooring and ceiling beams. I wanted to preserve and highlight those features while still making the apartment feel modern. I balanced the dark floors with light, comfortable couches, silver and mirrored accents, abstract art, black and white photographs and an all-white kitchen. I drew a ton of my design inspiration from Lonny, Domino and a few other favorite shelter publications.
What are your favorite home “scores”?
My favorite home scores are the butcher block my mother and father gave Gray and me as a wedding present, a piece of drift wood my husband found for me in one of our favorite beach getaway location in Seaside, FL and some photography from Roberto Dutesco and Caroline Gibello.
For someone young and trying to nest, what are your top three tips when it comes to finding /buying items for the home?
Invest in one classic piece of art or furniture or create something on your own for a sweet, personal touch. Pick up interesting items along your travels to add a storytelling component to your home. Collect favorite books to add to a library, floating shelf or coffee table — or stack them to double as an accent table or night stand. Chic, purposeful and wallet-friendly!
What are your favorite household goods/home decor stores, both for shopping and for inspiration?
What’s the one thing every home should have?
Individuality. Make it your own with pieces that you love and define your personality.
Anything else you want to add?
Travel is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. There is always something interesting to learn from other cultures. I sprinkle our apartment with little memories and trinkets from trips around the world – they bring happiness and inspiration to all who visit.
Photos by Genevieve Garruppo.