Hayley Cranberry didn’t just design her apartment to look good; she designed it to feel good. In fact, her apartment was crafted to be a safe haven from the chaos New York City can be. It was also thoughtfully arranged to help support her life, career and health. Hayley lives with a chronic illness known as ulcerative colitis, so her home isn’t just where she stores her stuff and sleeps. It’s where she seeks comfort, creates her art, and heals when she needs to.
When she’s not working her 9-to-5 job as an urban planner, Hayley also runs an art collective called lutte collective, which highlights disabled and chronically ill women and non-binary artists. She’s called this rental home for a few years, and her partner Calvin recently moved in a few months ago.
The apartment feels spacious for New York City standards, helped by the natural light that pours through tall windows, splashing off of clean white walls and simple decor. A brick wall, thick woodwork and beautiful floors help lend an air of architectural beauty. Plants and natural materials are an important tool to creating this safe haven, as well as art: Hayley has a knack for displaying her own and her friends’ art seamlessly into her home, and she even has a tasteful dachshund shrine for her love of the breed!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Intimate and soft
Trying to get rid of my particle board furniture one paycheck at a time
Inspiration: 1960s conversation pits
My local mom and pop plant store
Favorite Element: My skylights! Especially the one in the shower.
Furniture-wise, my Paul McCobb lowboy dresser is one of my favorite things I own. I had wanted a Paul McCobb piece for a while and I ended up waiting and got a really good deal on this dresser.
Biggest Challenge: Brick walls are really hard for me! They sort of take an entire wall away from decorating, unless you drill into the brick, which some landlords would not like. I intend to do that in the future, though. But for now it just feels dark, which I don’t love.
Also, not having a closet in the bedroom is challenging. I don’t mind having my clothing visible, but other items that I want to store away end up cluttering the room. When I look for furniture, it’s important to me to find pieces with drawers/cabinets so more items can be stored and hidden.
For some reason, this apartment is super dusty and I don’t know how to get it to stay clean.
What Friends Say: Most of my friends are envious of how large and spacious our apartment is. They say it feels like a safe-haven for platonic intimacy. I suppose this is because the aesthetic and comfort of my home are very important to me 1) because I like to view my apartment as an extension of my own art; and 2) because I am such a homebody, much of which is due to my being chronically ill. Generally, when I invite friends over, we end up doing low-key things like lying around in bed together.
Biggest Embarrassment: I used to be so obsessed with velvet. I got my blue velvet couch the first year I moved to the city at age 21 from Urban Outfitters. It’s pretty terrible quality.
Proudest DIY: I’m not good with tools, but I have ideas and friends/family who can carry out my designs. My dad and I built my clothes-hanging rack. I found the branch in a gorge in Vermont and brought it home with me. It’s a simple design that just uses rope and attaches to the ceiling with screw-in O-rings. I like the way it divides the large room into bedroom versus living room, and I also like that my clothing is visible.
Biggest Indulgence: THE BENCH. I recently indulged in this storage bench from West Elm after talking about it to friends and coworkers for months.
- Create email alerts on Craigslist using keywords of items you want
- Seek out vintage retailers that know about their products and furniture designers
- Don’t completely avoid IKEA because everyone buys from there, just be particular with what you choose from them. Some of their designs are incredible, and so affordable!
- Something I’ve always wanted to do is seek out estate sales, but it’s a bit hard in NYC with no car.
Vintage Paul McCobb for Planner Group Lowboy Dresser — Yours & Yours Fine Vintage, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Oak Kidney Bean Coffee Table — Wayfair
Vintage Mid-century Credenza – Dobbin Street Coop, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Grey Upholstered Accent Chair – Wayfair(do not remember exact name)
Blue Velvet Couch — discontinued, but similar here: Urban Outfitters
Sheepskin Rugs – RENS Ikea
Ceramic Vase – Ethan Kastner
Wooden Stool /Plant Stand – Free from someone on the internet
Large Basket with Blankets — Crate & Barrel
Grid Blankets — Amazon
White Ladder Bookshelf — Crate and Barrel
Dutch Map of Spain and Portugal — Vintage store in Amsterdam (I am an urban planner and geospatial analyst, aka I make maps, so vintage maps are important to me)
Vintage Portrait of Lady — From my grandparents
Books I recommend from my shelf:
- Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal by Joseph Alexiou
- All About Love by bell hooks
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
- The Castle by Franz Kafka (If you’re into Kafka; I know a lot of people who hate this book but I love it.)
- Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz
- Plants at Home by Susan Conder
- On Hell by Johanna Hedva
Platform Bed Frame — Floyd
Side Table with Hairpin Legs — Custom-designed
Vintage Mosaic Side Table — (Second hand from friend)
Storage Bench – West Elm
Lamp – Article
Red Wood Entryway Table – Found on side of the street
Small White Rug – SIGNE IKEA
Off-White Cotton Sateen Sheets — MATTEO
Curtains – I used the flat sheet from Matteo to make them so they match my sheets perfectly
Incense Burner – Ethan Kastner
Mirror – Secondhand from a friend
Classic MALM White Dresser – IKEA
MULIG White Clothing Rack – IKEA
Ceramic Pot Planter and Saucer – Isabel Halley Ceramics
Small Pink and White Floral Vase – Isabel Halley Ceramics
Beige Speckled Vase Holding Incense — Goodwill Chelsea
Air Purifier — Honeywell (Doubles as white noise machine which is necessary in NYC in my opinion, especially if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person like I am)
White Shelves — IKEA
Checkered Vase Painting — Mara B.
Vintage Collection of Dachshund Figurines — From my grandmother
Tushy Spa Bidet
White Cabinet – Wayfair
Vintage Bamboo Shelves – From my grandparents
Vintage Claw-foot Magazine Rack – From my grandparents
Self-portrait Photograph Above Toilet — Hayley Cranberry
3 Photographs — Lindsay Bottos
Desk with Hairpin Legs — Custom-designed / handmade
BEKVÄM Stool — IKEA
Photograph of Fence — Todd Midler
‘Sweet Junie Girl’ Painting — Mara B.
EAMES Knockoff Chair — Modway
Fathom Sidechair – Wayfair
Thanks, Hayley and Calvin!
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