Name: Peggy Wang
Location: Ridgewood, Queens
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
A few years ago, I kinda just woke up one day and decided that I didn’t want to live in a tiny apartment anymore. It was like a weird sudden existential outburst in my usual lazy put-everything-off-forever mindset. My boyfriend’s friend happened to be looking to buy a two-family house, which is what planted the idea in my head. It took about eight months between that day I had the epiphany to the day I closed on the house.
My apartment feels like the dream of the “suburban sprawl” compared to the tiny shoe box studio apartments in the city that I had gotten used to living in. I have yards and yards of kitchen counterspace and an actual pantry (fairly certain this is an unbeknownst word to all New Yorkers) where I can store such luxuries as a salad spinner and six different kinds of salt blends. I have a backyard with real grass and cute patio furniture and a fire pit and morning glories that climb up the fences. I have a whole room dedicated to my clothes and an entire basement dedicated to my myriad of discarded Amazon and Jet boxes (there’s a washer and dryer, too). I never thought I’d be able to live with this kind of space in NYC, and it’s turned me into the homebody I never wanted to become. But here I am.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Inspiration: In many ways color was the driving force behind this project. White Arrow brought in deep blues in the kitchen and bathroom and connected the color throughout the home with accessories. The floors are now much lighter (we bleached the old subfloor) to provide contrast to the architectural salvaged doors they found and the old staircase that we painted black. This was a total gut renovation and our goal was to take a dark row house and transform it into one that felt light, relaxed, and open.
The kitchen took inspiration from British farmhouse kitchens, but we made it feel more playful with the added copper faucet and lighting, as well as the open white shelving. We added additional storage through a freestanding “larder” and hid the appliances to keep things cohesive. The bedroom has a more calm feel with natural wood, cacti, woven African baskets, and patterned rugs. The living room features a fun mix of vintage and contemporary pieces — with a nod to ’70s Italia by incorporating some design classics. Throughout the home we played with scale and balance — often choosing pieces that had a nice geometry to them.
Favorite Element: It’s probably a toss up between the Hague Blue paint in the kitchen and the crown moulding that White Arrow chose. Once the crown moulding went up, that was the moment I got really, really excited for what the house could be. It gave an instant element of grandeur.
Biggest Challenge: The budget. I obsessed over every dollar. This was not a renovation where I let myself have all the nice things. Every single thing I had to buy, whether it was an appliance or a light switch, was something I researched extensively for the best price. Thankfully, we had a decent amount of lead time so I could wait until things went on sale or eventually showed up on Craigslist or eBay. My boyfriend and I also lived in the house during the renovation, which saved us thousands of dollars. I’d come into work covered in drywall dust and a bit shaken up by the rat I’d seen crawl through the giant hole in the kitchen wall. But in hindsight, I can say that it was really all very worth it!
Proudest DIY: We had a few months before the renovation already started, so we took it upon ourselves to remove the floral wallpaper in the entryway and start pulling up the linoleum tile on all three floors. I was praying to god that the original hardwood floors were lurking beneath (they were!) The heat gun was our best friend and I never, ever want to see one again.
There was a lot of resourcefulness in this project — we used Ikea base cabinets and hand-painted the custom shaker fronts. We also sourced a lot of high end elements — like a used Subzero fridge, Bertazonni oven, fireplace mantel, dishwasher, and nearly all the furniture on sites like Craigslist and Ebay.
Biggest Indulgence: I had started following the “I Have a Thing With Floors” Instagram and as far as I was concerned, putting patterned cement tiles in the bathroom was a non-negotiable, no matter how much they cost. They still make me so incredibly happy every time I take a shower and see them under my bare feet.
Best Advice: Plan everything out and take really, really accurate measurements. Left up to my own devices, I would have bought a bunch of random stuff because I liked it and it was within budget, but those things might not have actually gone together. White Arrow put a coherent plan and vision together that we could agree on and stick to, which that kept me from wasting money and buying the wrong things.
All furniture, appliances, fixtures, tile, and artwork sourced by White Arrow.
PAINT & COLORS
Walls — Cloud White by Benjamin Moore
Bath — Stiffkey Blue by Farrow and Ball
Kitchen — Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball
Staircase and doors — “Satin Black” Fine Paints of Europe
Vintage pendant lights from an old insane asylum — found upstate by White Arrow
Patterned Cement Tile — Overstock.com
Vintage Meritalia canvas couch — Aptdeco.com
Cb2 bookcase — sourced from Craigslist
Cb2 coffee Table
Vintage Italian pendant light — eBay
Antique Fireplace mantel and summer screen- eBay (and then painted)
Vintage ’70s Mirror — Craigslist (and then painted)
White Arrow custom-designed credenza
Indian Cotton Dhurrie rug — eBay
Pillows — made by White Arrow using salvage fabric
Warren Platner side table — eBay
Art — Maurizio Cattelan’s Toiletpaper Magazine, framed with Framebridge
Sconces by Cedar and Moss
Side chairs — 1970s Italian leather armchairs by Gae Aulenti and Poltrona
Charlotte Perriand LC6 Cassina Dining table — eBay
Vintage Tapiovaara dining chairs — online auction — we then painted them black
Vintage credenza — sourced in Furnish Green in NYC. We painted it with a mix of two Farrow and Ball shades of paint
Vintage table lamp — ebay
Chandelier — Park Studio LA
Bed — Muji
Rug — IKEA
Dresser — Paul McCobb vintage, ebay
Simple shaker nightstands — Hoot Judkins
Baskets from Africa
1970s bentwood plywood side chair — ebay
Framed photograph — Michael Ortiz.
Framed collage — by Keren Richter
Vanity — Restoration hardware
Star Tile — Amythyst Artistan
Faucets and thermostatic shower body by Lefroy Brooks
Shower curtain — Extra long cotton duck
Subway tile — Dal tile
Toto — toilet
Sconces — vintage
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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