Jacqueline Clair, a nurse and blogger, is a fan of pattern, prints and artwork. ‘I’ve always read a lot of blogs and love checking out home tours online, and that’s where I gain most of my inspiration - from real people with real spaces,’ says Clair. In her compact studio on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she kept a careful eye on colour to enhance every corner of her compact space, while cautiously keeping the apartment simple and clutter free. ‘I see something I like in one place and something else that I like in another place, and just pull inspiration and pieces from here and there,’ she says. ‘Ultimately, I think the unique combination is what makes it my own.’
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here Jacqueline Clair
Location Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York
Creating boundaries for a small living room, bedroom and workspace in an open studio floor plan was Clair’s first design challenge. ‘One of my major design dilemmas when I first moved in was that the furniture on the TV wall was all in a row - it just looked like three pieces, all lined up awkwardly,’ she says.
Clair enlisted the help of interior designer Darlene Weir, who offered design advice online. ‘She suggested that I turn the desk so that, instead of laying flush against the wall, it jutted out, which made a huge difference and looks much better,’ says Clair.
Bookshelf: Expedit, Ikea
The living area is Clair’s favourite spot. Soft, natural hues in the rug balance the bold pops of color on the Expedit bookcase/room divider and the artwork above the sofa.
‘From the sofa you can see pretty much everything in the flat, and you have a great view of the gallery wall above my desk - which I love - and all of the colourful books on the [bookshelf],’ says Clair. Baskets in the bottom of the bookcase serve as extra ‘drawers.’
The clear vase filled with bright pink peonies belonged to Clair’s grandmother.Couch: West Elm; clear chair: Amazon; Distortion Candlestick: MoMa Design Store; sparkle pillow: West Elm; splatter pillow: Furbish
Clair painted the coffee table, which showcases some of her favourite books.
‘Gallery walls are a design element that I can’t get enough of,’ says Clair. ‘The only problem is that at this point, I’ve run out of wall space for all of the great artwork that I constantly seem to come across.’
The Hepburn quote in the middle is a custom illustration by Sarah & Bendrix.
Clair organised her books by colour and mixed in some keepsakes. The bookshelf was one of the first purchases for the apartment. ‘It’s a great room divider, because it still lets all the light through,’ she says.Have a look at 10 ways to store your books
The vertical bookstand was also an early purchase. ‘When I was living at home going to nursing school, I would read [design] blogs every day, so I was really excited to get a flat and be able to do some decorating,’ she says.
Curtains: Urban Outfitters
The bedroom’s colour scheme is light and airy. ‘To keep it all from being too girly, I chose a more angular, geometric, clean-lined headboard, rather than a tufted, upholstered piece,’ says Clair. ‘As much as I love pink and all things pretty, it absolutely has to be tempered.’
Since the apartment lacks storage, Clair says, ‘underbed boxes are a necessity.’
Window Headboard in White: West Elm; Euro shams and duvet: Anthropologie; fireworks pillow: Society Social; illustrations: Jessica Durrant
Clair envisioned having a dressing table in her apartment before she moved in, but found that now she rarely uses it. Instead of opting for another piece, she kept the vintage table to store her jewellery and other keepsakes in.
The mirror and vanity were originally dark green, but Clair painted them and updated the pulls. She also spray painted the wire chair pink; it doubles as extra seating for guests.
Bookcase: Design Within Reach; desk knobs: Anthropologie; pink spray paint: Canary Pink, Rust-Oleum; New York City print: Note to Self, Society6
Clair lined the vanity’s drawers with floral wallpaper and organised her jewellery with Lucite dividers. ‘I love how it came out and how unique it is, and I’m proud that I was able to transform an old piece,’ she says.
Lucite dividers: The Container Store
A photo taken by Clair’s sister hangs framed below several other prints and illustrations on a mini gallery wall. After trying pink, teal, and black and white handles for her vintage dresser, Clair went with white pulls.
Artwork: Cocoa & Hearts and Made by Girl; lamp: Nate Berkus for HSN; candle: Jonathan Adler
The foldout desk is where Clair spends much of her time after work, writing her blog, York Avenue.
Clair’s mum found the desk chair as part of a set of four at a charity shop in Long Island. ‘I think it’s good to have the wood to break up all the white,’ she says.
Secretary: Pottery Barn; artwork: Matchbook Magazine and 20 x 200; New York skyline: Jessica Durrant
The muted kitchen comes to life with a few patterns and accessories neatly pocketed in the corners. ‘I store pots and pans in the oven, since I don’t have any drawers in my kitchen,’ Clair says. A metallic tray serves as a minibar.
Wineglasses: West Elm; Lucite spice storage: The Container Store; spice labels: Mignon Kitchen; tray: West Elm
A small basket on the toilet stores some toiletries.
Stripe Shower Curtain in Feather Gray: West Elm
‘Another dilemma is having only one wardrobe in the whole apartment - no coat cupboard and no broom cupboard,’ says Clair. ‘I had to get a little creative and tuck the tall vacuum in this little nook by my window, which is hidden by my curtain.’
Clair relaxes in her favourite chair. ‘You have to be a ruthless editor in a small space,’ she says. ‘If it isn’t something you use a lot, or something you absolutely love, it has to go.’
Tell us what you like about this home in the Comments below. Check out a 5-step series on keeping your home clutter free