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Name: Robb Wexler
Location: Upper West Side, NYC
Size: 350 square feet
Type of Home: Studio apartment
Years lived in: 1 year, renting
I found my apartment smack dab in the middle of the pandemic in November 2020. I figured like most New Yorkers that stuck around, I should at least capitalize on the real estate deals at the time. I really lucked out and got this place for well below the usual rent (much to the chagrin of my landlord). I lived on the Upper West Side 28 years ago, which was a magical time in my young life, and I was very excited to return to the neighborhood. The beauty of this area coupled with the proximity to Central Park and the river is just unbeatable. Even though I live in the thick of it all I can easily access an area of serenity and calm.
The building was renovated in the ‘70s and definitely lacks the character of other brownstones. The best part about it was that it was a blank, blindingly white canvas as you can see by the before photo. This gave me the chance to completely transform the space into something very personal, which tells my story. I absolutely adore the high ceilings (10.5 feet tall), which gives the space an immense open feel and really makes it seem much bigger than 350 square feet.
For 12 years, I ran my own production company Atomic Entertainment. Specializing in bespoke entertainment and design for corporate and private events. COVID literally made public performance impossible in NYC, so during that time I took the opportunity to transition my company into Atomic Studios. With our vast selection of costumes and props we are available to style photo shoots, music videos, and promotional events, as well as be a rental resource for other stylists and production companies. We also sell some of our inventory and are available for custom creations as well.
My Style: Moody, inky, dark, elegant, whimsically opulent with a sense of humor.
Inspiration: Being extremely photosensitive as well as never shedding my punk/goth teenage roots, I immediately knew I wanted to go dark yet keep it sophisticated. I discovered I am very much influenced by British designers Like Abigail Ahern, House of Hackney, Anna Hayman. Rockette st george, luxeology home. The list goes on. The British seem to have more of a fearless approach to design that really appeals to me.
Favorite Element: Sitting in the corner of my living area on either couch facing the dressing area. I just really love the viewpoint from the particular corner.
Biggest Challenge: The kitchen, which is a tiny box and the fridge took up so much room it didn’t even have drawers and ZERO counterspace! I remedied this by pulling out the fridge and putting it in the entry closet and covered it with drapes! This allowed me some space to IKEA hack a small Kallax shelf, customizing it with drawers and casters and adding a wood countertop. The layout was also a challenge. I think I tried 15 or 16 different configurations but once it was settled I was able to create an entryway, dining area, bedroom, office space, living room, and dressing area and it really feels like a huge space to me with so many options and rooms to choose from.
Proudest DIY: My best DIY moment was taking a $50 floor length mirror from HomeGoods with the ugliest beige wood border and transforming it with Farrow & Ball paint and gold leaf distressing.
Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the Knoll Krefield love seat. I fell in love the moment I saw it and had to have it. While it’s not huge, it’s super comfortable and still my favorite piece to sit on. I got it off of eBay.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Even though I consider myself a maximalist, I have a passion for minimal storage components, like the shoe racks, bins, and baskets from Open Spaces and my Yamazaki line coat rack. I was skeptical to spend that kind of money on a storage bin but they are worth every penny.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have. Make your bed everyday and keep on top of your laundry. When I let those things slip I find my entire home starts to crumble pretty quickly. And hooks, hooks, and more hooks. Also: Display your things proudly. (I have a bag-display fetish.)
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t listen to the haters. Do what YOU want to do and always listen to your gut. It never steers you wrong. The worst that can happen is you don’t like it and have to change something. Join email lists for designers and companies you like, as you often get great deals exclusive to mailing list members. I have never paid full price for anything.
Also check out Instagram and look up any account using the word stooping plus your area, like @stoopinguws, @stoopingnyc, etc. This city is the epitome of one man’s trash being another’s treasure and now you don’t even need to roam with a shopping cart; you can just scroll your phone for the biggest scores ever. It’s amazing what people throw away in this town. It’s also kind of amazing how unimportant something can suddenly become while in the midst of the moving process.
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.