A Designer & Diplomat’s Global Chic NYC Rental — House Call

Name: Laura Hur and her husband
Location: Chelsea — Manhattan, New York
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

My husband is a diplomat and I am an interior designer. My husband’s job has us moving often to far flung spots on the globe, and our home tells the story of our experiences, travels and shared life together.

Moving every couple of years presents a host of interior design challenges, but luckily I am always up for the task! We can’t buy all new furniture every time we move, so it is always a juggling act of what to move with us, what to sell, what to acquire, and then how to make it all work in a new space.

There’s a lot of trial and error— the leather sofa pictured in our living room is actually the third sofa we tried: the one from our old apartment was too big for the space, and the first new one we purchased got stuck trying to get it up the narrow stairwell of this old building. The third time was the charm for us, and we love our current leather sofa from Room & Board.

What is your favorite room and why? During the winter my favorite room is our living room. It’s the heart of our home, and we can spend long lazy Saturdays drinking coffee & reading by the wood-burning fireplace. During the summer, we spend as much time as possible outside on our terrace, which overlooks the connected gardens and yards between our street and the next. I am a plant lover, and fill the terrace with plants, flowers and herbs to create our own magical, hidden oasis in the middle of Manhattan. It’s very peaceful.

Any advice for creating a home you love? It’s nothing new, but the tried and true way of creating a home you love is filling it with items that you enjoy, and that tell your story from your point of view. Never mind what’s trendy or popular, but focus on things that make you happy; things that remind you of someone special, a memorable trip or time in your life, and things that make your life easier.

Constantly editing your things goes hand-in-hand with filling your home with things you love. If you have too much stuff, you can’t enjoy the things that matter most. We moved from a 2,500 square foot home in South Africa to an 800 square foot apartment in Manhattan. At first, I thought it would be impossible to fit all of our things into an apartment, but we did it with a lot of editing, and both my husband and I agree that we are so much happier with fewer things, and surrounding ourselves with quality items that we truly love. Let’s hope there is never a fire because it would be impossible for me to choose what to grab!

The last piece of advice I have is don’t be afraid to make bold changes, even in a rental; paint, wallpaper, and especially lighting. Lighting is the best way to create a dramatic impact in a space, and you can take it with you where ever you go. I always change the lighting out in our new spaces first thing!

Thanks, Laura!

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