Home Tour: A Sexy and Dramatic Manhattan Small Space
When you think of a New York studio apartment, rarely do visions of double sofas, styled center tables, and large-scale artwork come to mind, yet the apartment of Casey Smith features all three. As director of an agency representing some of the fashion industry's leading creative talent, Smith has an eye for compelling visual compositions, as clearly seen in his Manhattan home. The space, a rented 600-square-foot alcove studio in a ‘30s apartment building in the West Chelsea area, is an intriguing mix of gorgeous lighting, unique furniture, and sentimental accessories which, when combined, create a compelling, deep design.
Smith’s home features a mix of design styles and aesthetics that harmoniously combine to create a unique environment. Industrial touches, classic traditional lines, a mix of artwork, and unique lighting all come together thanks to the home’s neutral palette and repeated materials.
“I was born in New England and raised in the Southwest, and as a result I am inspired by both regions,” says Smith. “I wanted my apartment to include design elements from each.”
French antiques and traditional portraiture combine with more Southwestern-inspired items, like the equipale side tables, the kitchen’s cowboy hat, and the bull skulls in the living room, to create a compelling composition.
“Although these elements may seem disparate, they speak to the way I was raised and interiors I grew up in,” the director tells us. “For me they create a comfortable, calm environment where I can casually entertain and relax. I travel frequently—it’s my favorite hobby—so it’s important for my home base to feel warm, welcoming, and cozy.”
Before moving into the apartment, Smith painted each of the studio’s separate spaces, installed custom wooden blinds, and replaced the existing light fixtures with artistic pieces from Apparatus Studio.
Though the floorplan of the studio refers to the area Smith made his bedroom as a pass-through, by blocking one of the doors with his bed on one side and a large-scale portrait of “The Princes in the Tower” on the other, the creative mind enabled the space to feel like a separate room. “I wanted something to cover the doorway off the entry but not block it entirely, still revealing some of the door’s molding and hardware,” Smith tells us. “I think this seemingly insignificant detail adds a little mystery to the tiny space.”
“We're always told (from a design perspective) that dark color on walls makes a space feel smaller,” says the director. “Who knows if it’s the rebel in me, but I actually don't agree. Dark colors add an element of luxury to a space, moving the focus away from its size to its mood and texture.”
Some of Smith’s grandmother’s silver and pewter collection, including antique salt and pepper shakers, Turkish spice bowls, and incense burners, is displayed in the small kitchen.
A combination of bold design choices, eclectic furnishings, and intriguing art and accessories make Smith’s 600-square-feet space feel far grander than one might assume, and cements the small home as the studio apartment of our dreams.
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