House Beautiful’s 2011 piece on this cheery Manhattan apartment by Nick Olsen remains one of my all-time favorite editorials. I love this space because it’s well-done and looks tres expensive but was fabricated on somewhat of a budget. The headboard is slipcovered, the standard fridge is decked out with polaroids, the curtains are sheers with just a dash of panache... Chic, but obtainable and livable. And it’s unmistakably Olsen. Just look at the trompe l’oeil paneling in the bathroom!
Don’t get me wrong. What designer wouldn’t love to have an endless budget to do everything he or she would like to do, and more? I can think of several $4,000/yard fabrics that I’d like to use on a sofa someday (dream big!). However, I think there is magic in picking up a piece at a thrift store and transforming it into something beautiful. Editorials like the one above remind me that creative, out-of-the-box thinking is a necessary skill and must be consistently practiced/honed. When I visit a Target or a second-hand store, I like to play a game with myself called “Needle in the Haystack.” Can I score a cashmere sweater to rival or exceed what I’d find at Neiman Marcus? Can I find bed linens that are a dead ringer for Olatz? Sometimes I lose! But sometimes, I find a set of Portault towels for $60.
(all photos via Nick Olsen's beautiful website!)