Before & After: A Small, Blah Hell’s Kitchen Co-op Gets a Helluva Makeover — House Call

Name: JM Chilgren, my Boston Terrier, Betty, and my boyfriend, Matthew
Location: Hell’s Kitchen — New York, NY
Size: 450-475 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

I’ve owned my one-bedroom apartment in The Whitby (a charming co-op pre-war building, designed by Emory Roth and built in 1923) since 2012, and it’s changed a lot since I moved in. For one, I now have two roommates: my Boston Terrier, Betty, who was born and raised in the apartment (a bone-ified apartment dog) and my boyfriend, Matthew, who moved in last year.

I purchased my one bed, one bath apartment in 2012 in The Whitby, a historic charming Co-op building located in Hell’s Kitchen.

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

It’s not the largest apartment (roughly 475 square feet), but I’ve done what I can to make it warm, inviting, and stretching everything I can so we can all live comfortably. We do have two large closets, so that definitely makes co-habitation easier!

When I moved in, I made a number of simple cosmetic updates to the apartment, like fresh light grey paint, new light fixtures, and new window blinds.

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

Because I’m on the ground floor, I don’t get a ton of light—so I focused on decorating with bright and bold colors, and using warm light grey paint on the walls and mirrors to open it up. For furniture, I like a modern look, but I also didn’t want my apartment looking like it’s directly from a West Elm catalog—so I found a mix of antique furniture (some mid-century pieces collected from around the New York area and eBay), along with some simple clean and modern pieces I picked up as floor samples at ABC Home and CB2. Every now and then I update with new pillows and throws to change the color palette up a bit, which keeps things interesting, without needing to totally redecorate. (Though, now I definitely have way too many pillows and throws!)

The kitchen had already been renovated, but I updated the hardware pulls from the basic Ikea ones and painted the backsplash area. I eventually had new stainless steel appliances installed.

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

As for art, I’ve just found some pieces over the years that I liked from online galleries, along with some paintings that my grandmother left me. We recently found a modern piece hanging in our living room at a gallery in Chelsea that we bought each other for our birthdays (we’re only a week apart).

Being on the ground floor, with a small space, I maximized what I could by decorating with bright colors and installing a large mirror in the bedroom. The large pendant light from CB2 really opened the room up.

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

Some have described the decor as “eclectic”—and while I’m not sure that’s a “good” term or not, I like that it has a unique personality and I am really happy with how it has evolved. Overall, to me, the apartment feels cozy and makes a great escape for us from the chaos outside happening in Hell’s Kitchen and nearby Times Square.

The bathroom was a complete gut renovation, and definitely my favorite space in the apartment.

(Image credit: Submitted by JM Chilgren)

My favorite room is definitely the bathroom, which we renovated early last year. It definitely took longer than expected (it was a total gut-reno) but it turned out pretty amazing.

I removed the tub and put in a walk in (and door-less) rain-head shower, using bright brushed brass Kohler fixtures and marble throughout.

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

We used light marble throughout, installed brushed gold Kohler fixtures, and installed a rainhead shower and a handheld, which has made bathing Betty such a breeze! (She might not *love* it, but it’s much easier than the old cup method when we had a tub). We put in plenty of storage and even a special shelf up top with a plug for a Sonos speaker.

The shower has made it much easier to give my dog a “bath” – Betty likes the handheld shower, and clean-up is a breeze!

(Image credit: Lisa Camillieri)

The bathroom feels so much larger and brighter, and it’s made waking up and getting ready in the morning a bit more enjoyable.

Thanks, JM Chilgren!

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