Images: Yale Wagner
A Canadian homeowner lives the high life in Manhattan.
"I had just five hours to find a place to live!” recalls Krista Webster, president of Veritas Communications, of her move to the Big Apple from Toronto in 2008. Her search ended near 11th Avenue and Broadway, by New York City’s bustling Union Square, when Krista found this tiny 550-square-foot condo. She was instantly charmed by the 19th-century building’s cast-iron facade and its large windows overlooking the busy streets. Relying on the help of decorator Tori Peters, the space was soon transformed into what Krista calls her “little white cloud with pretty pink highlights.” Here’s how soft creams, pinks and greys, as well as smart, feminine glam furnishings and decor accessories fit for a stylish woman living in the big city made all the difference.
1 Simple colour palette
A simple, muted palette enhances urban views. “I like to keep things simple: Cream and silver are used throughout, as well as touches of pink everywhere,” says homeowner Krista Webster. “There are always fresh flowers – and glass accents because they’re so airy and light.” A large black and white limited edition photograph of Twiggy in 1968 makes for clean, unfussy artwork over the sofa in the living room, but creates a big statement. “What I love most about the picture is that it reminds me of my mother when she was young – especially her eyes,” says Krista.
2 Feminine feel
“I love finding things that aren’t expensive but look like they are,” says Krista, referring to the tufted headboard. Like most of the furniture in the space, it was ordered from an online retailer. Soft pink walls give the room a fresh, feminine feel in keeping with the home’s colour palette. The look is enhanced by plush cream bed linens, as well as custom drapery with pink trim (not shown) and white decor accessories, including the white deer bust – Krista’s nod to her Canadian roots.
3 Open shelving
To tackle the space constraints of the condo, Krista stores her shoes on open shelves. “Every woman should indulge her girly side at some point in her life,” says Krista, “and beautiful shoes are a major part of that!”
Nothing matters more than storage in a small space. Behind these mirrored doors is a huge closet, and the white dresser is actually made up of several stackable units so Krista can rearrange or add more layers to it. “The luggage is always out because I spend half my life travelling,” says Krista. As with her prized shoe collection, Krista prefers to keep some of her favourite outfits on display. “Like that BCBG dress,” she says. “I rarely wear it, but it makes a great design accent.”
5 Home office
A small corner in the living room serves as Krista’s office. Feminine touches, such as the ornate off-white Philippe Starck mirror and a favourite dress from Milan, keep the workspace fun and playful. Farrow & Ball Arts and Crafts-inspired wallpaper from the Lotus Papers collection is sassy without dominating the scene. The slim desk and transparent chair are clever small-space solutions for making the room feel larger than it is.
6 Large windows
Krista’s “cloud in the sky” hovers above Broadway about 20 blocks from the Empire State Building. Large windows showcase a constant stream of yellow taxis and ever-changing city lights for a view that’s straight out of the movies. To take advantage of the natural light in the condo, the windows have minimal adornment, sporting only crisp, tailored blinds for privacy.
A vignette that includes bowls, napkins, a vase and a cookbook serves as both display and storage. The touches of pink are in keeping with the rest of the home’s scheme. To update the kitchen, Krista introduced a simple white ceramic backsplash. The subway tiles are squeaky clean and allude to classic New York style. Their sheen helps keep the room looking bright.
8 Small kitchen
Krista admits that her small kitchen doesn’t get very much use. Like many New Yorkers, she prefers to order in great food. “But I do make a lot of tea,” she says with a laugh, “and the fridge is always filled with champagne for my friends!” Used or not, the kitchen’s breakfast bar is a great place to hang out with friends, and the open layout keeps the rest of the space from feeling cramped. Even though it might only be turned on to boil some water, the little gas stove remains a sweet touch in the PR girl’s condo.
The 150-year-old chair, handed down from Krista’s great-grandmother, was reupholstered in white leather to make a dramatically chic statement. “The white leather gives it some unexpected luxe,” says Krista. Built-in shelving, which covers the radiators, holds vases, boxes, baskets and flowers. The 10-year-old side table is also one of Krista’s favourite pieces. “It’s with me wherever I live,” she says.
10 Modern table
A thin, transparent modern table doesn’t take up much visual space in the narrow entryway. However, it allows for handy storage for grab-and-go items like keys and electronics. The mirror makes it easy to take one final appearance inspection before heading out on the town. Tucked neatly below, the ceramic drum stool is used as additional seating when friends visit.
11 Touch of sparkle
A grouping of silver decor accessories makes a glamorous statement in Krista’s chic city space. The metallic elements coordinate with the cool greys used throughout the condo and balance the feminine pink palette while adding a touch of sparkle.