NYC Chic

Another reason why 2010 will be a big year for me and my family? This is the year that we move to New York City. We have been going back and forth between living in the city and living in the suburbs. Right now we are thinking city, mostly for commute reasons. {Well, mostly because the city is AWESOME, but secondly because an hour+ commute for my husband after a 14 hour work day is no good for him or me}

This NYC apartment was featured in September's Martha Stewart Living and has already been posted about a few times, but I LOVE it. I think if we end up in the city, this sort of decorating is the way to go. Spare and clean, but lived-in looking and real. Jennifer Chused owns this Brooklyn apartment with her son and husband. She is one of the head designers at Dwell Studio.

First up, the foyer. Check out the antiqued mirror! Who really wants to see a wrinkles-and-all-reflection every time they walk in or out of the house? Here's a great tutorial for turning any plain-jane mirror into an "antique."


I think this is an awesome kitchen for a city apartment - butcher block counters and subway tiles all the way to the ceiling. The rug is from Madeline Weinrib and the bull's head is from a flea market.


Here's Jennifer in her stunning dining room. I love the yellow rug and all the pretty wood furniture. Noticing a trend with the creamy white walls? So fresh! And I like that she opted for simple cream fabric shades on the windows. Not at all fussy.


The linens are from Dwell (naturally). They look great paired with the peacock dinnerware from Anthropologie.



Jennifer's son's play room is absolutely adorable. The rug is from Dwell Studio, as are the fabric shades. The red rocker in the back corner is such a fun punch of color! It is Ron Arad's design for Vitra, called the Tom Rock chair. I could only find the straight leg version online, at Unica Home. Craigslist sometimes produces this chair or similar rockers.


Jennifer made the soft storage bins shown here, but there are some available for purchase from the Dwell brown dots collection. The red toy bridges are available here.
And don't you just LOVE the framed series? Yup, you guessed it. The prints are pages from a book about vintage airplanes (I wish they had shared the title of that book!! Anyone know?).



The vintage pronunciation chart, also in the playroom, is absolutely adorable!



You can purchase similar vintage educational charts on eBay and etsy. I like this one


and this one is very cute (especially if your child's name begins with R!).


There is a whole series of these adorable charts. Love the black and yellow! Someone should snatch these up ASAP.


Jennifer and her husband's bedroom is probably my favorite room in the apartment. I love the subtle gray-green wall color, the chandelier, that mirror!, THOSE PRINTS!!, and the chest (purchased on eBay). I also spy Dwell's Pearl Chinoiserie bedding. Very pretty!



So here's my question for you readers - would you rather live a little on the spare side in the city? Or are you more inclined to the urban sprawl with lots of room for lots of stuff?

Here's my problem: I have lots of stuff and I love the city. Boo.

110 comments:

LeahBK said...

That's a tough one! We sort of combined it: we live in an historic district near the urban center of a medium-sized southern city. Very far from being New York, but still has the great restaurants, parks, museums, etc within a mile or so. While we don't have a large home (1,500 sq ft plus guest house), it is quite bigger than your average place in a city like New York. I love to visit a big city, but a semi-suburban life is the real me. We entertain our large family (15-25 people) monthly if not more, so the amount of space we have now isn't even quite enough! However, given your choice, I wouldn't want my husband making that commute either! If it wasn't a forever placement, I could definitely deal with living in a small, urban home ... knowing a larger house with a yard, etc was awaiting me a few years later. Good luck! You can't go wrong!

Lavender and Lilies said...

I love that house too. I absolutely adore the window treatments in the boys room. As for the question, after seeing that loft I would say a larger apartment with lots of room.

Jana said...

My dream is to one day live right smack dab in the middle of a wonderful city, and after owning (and cleaning and decorating and loving) our sprawling Texas suburban home for 5 years, a small sparsely-furnished yet perfectly appointed apartment sounds heavenly.

Southern Mom said...

I think it would be fun to live in the city for short period of time. If your girls will be starting school during this time period I'd visit the schools to help you decide. My husband has a longer commute so that we can live in a good school district and I don't regret it for a second! I'm sure whatever you decide, your home will look fabulous!

Melissa said...

Here's my two cents as someone married to a corporate lawyer with two kids under three. We chose a smaller firm-- still heavily peopled with Ivy League folk-- in a smaller, mid-Atlantic town for quality of life. We have a large and totally affordable 80 year old home, Adam works a lot, but since there's not a "face time" policy, he can go in at 8:30, come home at 6, and then work at home after our kids go to bed. I love the idea of NYC, but I hate the idea of my kids being basically single-parented by me for the next ten years. I think if choosing between suburbs/city in the NYC area, I would only choose city-- it would be harder, but easier than being stuck in Jersey by yourself:)

Anonymous said...

As much as I love New York City, I chose to live in the suburbs because the public schools are so much better than most of the schools in the city. I could never afford the $30,000+ tuitions that the private schools charge and I couldn't afford an apartment in a district with a decent public school. Once my kids are in college, though, I dream of moving to an apartment in the city!
Good luck with your move whatever you decide!

pve design said...

You hit the nail on the head. I think there is a fine line, I love a well edited space just as much as a chock full nook of ecletic bits. Both require work to make a house or an apartment a home.
Wishing you all the best, and that we end up as NY neighbors. The city requires beaucoupe d'argent.
pve

Tara said...

I love NYC, and my husband and I have already decided should he get a job there (I already go for business quite a bit, but we live 3 hours away) we're living on the Upper West Side.

The big drawback is that you won't have much storage space! What will you do with your basement full of beautiful things??

Regardless of where you choose, I know you will do a wonderful job and having a vibrant (I think so many NYC apartments forget about color!!), well edited, comfortable, and beautiful space!

Terese said...

I would love to see what you do with a small space. Those projects are so fun for me to watch. I totally see your bedroom x chairs in her room as well. I like your blue better. I can't wait to see what you guys decide. You guys did awesome as a family down in Brooklyn. I bet you'll adapt well to downtown life.

Anonymous said...

I am such a country girl. I could never live in a big city. I can't imagine living in an apartment either. It's not so much space - we don't have a huge house - not that we need one with only two people! It's the yard, that kind of space. I need my space, my privacy, my YARD. We're very much outdoor people.

Good luck on whatever you decide!

tina

Southern Aspirations said...

those are tough. I personally like the idea of the city (as long as I have a balcony or rooftop access...must have "personal" outdoor space) and like being "forced" to edit my items. Those who have lived in NYC are better than anyone at editing. My husband is a total country boy in terms of houses, so suburbs was our compromise.

NYC is also interesting because I think there's a big dwelling gap. If one can afford the fabulous apartments/condos you get a ton -relatively speaking- more storage space compared with the studios/2 bedroom conversions that so many people are in. I think back to the VP's condo I visited while interning at an IBank and that would be beyond awesome (though rumor has it it was wife's money not his that got them the space!). But my colleagues a couple years out of our MBA program are not living in that kind of condo! :-)

Miggy said...

OK I'm going to be a little bratty here, but I have to. We just moved from NYC this past summer...and other people might talk about living in A city, but it's a lot different from living in THE city--aka New York City. You can't compare NYC to any other city on earth, so it's not about do you like living in a city, but would you like living in NYC? It's its own beast. Make sense?

Like I said we lived there for 4 years while the hubs was in dental school. Yes it was tightly packed, yes it was sometimes hard with a kid {and you have 3} and yes there are lots of crazy-you-don't-even-know-it-until-you-move-there type of things about living in NYC, but it was THE BEST. You will LOVE living in the city. It's a great place to raise a family--I think it depends on the neighborhood. The down side are the schools....you don't just send your kids to the nearest schools...even brothers and sisters can end up at different schools in different parts of the city. But in our ward we had friends with 4 and 5 kids {5 kids in a 2 bedroom--that's another thing that shifts is your perception of what's doable} and they make it work. If you want some connections to some families in the city let me know and I'd be happy to give you some emails--although I'm sure a gal like you is well connected.

I think you can have fun living outside the city, but it will not be the same experience at all. And like you said, it will be a bit of a commute since all the places right outside the city are just as expensive. There will be downsides and adjustments, but living in the best city in the world will more than make up for it! So excited for you!

paula said...

This is one of my all time favorite homes. I prefer a small space to a large, but of course here in alabama my small is different from ny city small. that small could fit in my kitchen:) it would be quite an adventure to live in the city though and easier while your children are small.

Cerrissa said...

Oh tiny city apartments *sigh* you will be the death of me and my love of decorating!
I recommend living in Brooklyn like the people in the article. you will have lots more space for less money than living in manhattan...and if you're lucky, you might even find a place with a yard! It's the best of both worlds.

Jennifer said...

I would say city, definitely. It just has so much to offer when you actually live there, between seeing all the museums on non-touristy days, and getting to see Broadway plays at the last minute for a fraction of the price of regular tickets, and all the wonderful activities for your children, I am all for the city! It would also help you simplify - how much of this stuff do I really need, etc.?

Tanya and Colin said...

The city! Just having the opition to have your husband home sooner is worth the sacrifice for space! Plus I think that less is more. And imagine all the fun things that you'll be able to do in the city. Can't wait to hear what you decide and how you decorate your new digs.

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

Can't wait to see how you put together you're new pad! When's the big move? Have you lived there with any of your children before?

Happy to hear you'll be getting more family time with your honey!

Carrie said...

I think I could get rid of almost all my things if it meant that I could live in NYC!

Shannon said...

I've done both! After two years in downtown Boston (living in 550 sq ft), being able to walk everywhere and enjoy great restaurants - the hassles of never having parking and never feeling like I had a "space" of my own - I bought a home in the burbs and couldn't be happier....granted I make a point to head back into town once a week! :)

Heidi said...

antiqued mirrors are cool? the type you can hardly see your face in? Great. I have one that we are figuring out what to do with. We want to hang it above our credenza, but thought it silly because it is so foggy. We will hang it anyhow!

ZoeB said...

Think I d like to see more of my husband so would put up with the lack of space.I would truggle without outdoor space though. It was interesting seeing the small kitchen. My brother lives in Manhattan and spent alot of money on a large Smallbone kitchen but was told that in NY expensive kitchens wouldn't be a selling point in the future as many people eat out or order in !! He has brought up two children there but has had the luxury of living by central Park and being able to afford private schooling (if thats what its called inthe States)
ZoeB

Krista & Ben said...

Those articulation and Bossy R charts are so great. As a speech therapist that works with kids, I would kill to have a set of them, not for work but for fun! If you hear anything more about them, please do share!

spark! (Ada-Marie) said...

That console table in the front hall is amazing! Love it. My heart says CITY, but the treasured junk in the attic says 'BURBS. I know that does not help AT ALL. :) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

We moved from an area with a kazillion people per square inch to less than a kazillion per square mile. I didn't realize until we lived here how stressed I was by all those people and lack of breathing room. But that's just me.
Sure was better for the kids' ability to be independent as well.
Ann

Anonymous said...

I am a New Yorker and a big firm lawyer. I live in Brooklyn (yay Brooklyn!!) with my husband and two children. Our place (a condo with shared outdoor space) is great, but it's nowhere as nice as the lovely home you feature. NYC has a lot to offer, but there is no question that it takes money, and a lot of it, to replicate the kind of living that magazine spreads such as this one highlight. Good luck with your move. Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

There is the romance of city life and the reality of the city life. I think life in NYC with two young children and a baby is going to be the challenge of your life. We did it with twins about 10 years ago and ran for the 'burbs.

If you could bring your family and sublet a place for a few weeks or so, I think you'll have a very different vision of what life is really like in New York.

Nonetheless--wishing you the best of luck!

Frances said...

I am a lawyer at a large midtown Manhattan law firm and second the idea that you think about Brooklyn, where many, many lawyers at my firm with families live. It could be a great compromise for you and your family - bigger spaces but still convenient to Manhattan (especially downtown) and accessible via subway (which is much more convenient than depending on the commuter train from the suburbs).

sketch42 said...

I live in NYC, in manhattan, the way I look at it, is the more space you have, the more crap you accumulate!

Plus, I hate driving and going in the cars and in NYC I can walk everywhere.

Also, Its much easier to spend time with my daughter... most of my social and work activities take place within ten blocks of my apartment, so I can always pop back home after her nap to pick her up and take her out...

Heather said...

Oh my! That apartment isn't spare by NYC apartments...I've lived there for many years, and anyone I know would only dream of this...perhaps if you're way out in Brooklyn...but most likely not in Manhattan...unless money is no object.

The city would be really fun for you, and exiting for awhile...such an adventure! I do still miss it a little!

If you don't find a place that you're happy with, there are some towns in Westchester where the commute wouldn't be too bad (your husband will probably be working near mid-town, and it trains go directly into Grand Central from Westchester.

Good luck!

Amanda Thrasher said...

Go CITY while you are energized to do it. You can always move out but once you're out and acquire stuff to fill up your suburban home you'll never be able to move in. You will learn to be so organized and simplify enabling you to really enjoy what the city has to offer with your husband and girls. Go for it!. I love your blog and style. I stumbled on you from Erika at Urban Grace. Unrelated ?---what did yall do about Santa for your bigger girls the morning you were in labor?

Gracie said...

We share your conundrum. My husband and I have lots of stuff, but want to move to the city. I could be more of city dweller than my husband. I like minimalism and keep small spaces very tidy. He, however, likes to sprawl.

PS - I'm in LOVE with your blog. It's one of my favorites parts of the day!

Courtney said...

I hate how posed they look in those pictures!

mamacita said...

I'm so glad you scanned those tear sheets. Now I have them in digital form! I loved that house, too.

FWIW, I think you should try to live in the city. At the end of a long day (for you AND the hubby), you don't want an hour commute to stand between you. Keep looking at spare designs like this one to inspire you.

Dwelling said...

I think the city would be such a great adventure! We have two daughters (four and two) and I could not imagine my husband having such a long commute.

NYC would provide so much creative inspiration! Thanks so much for your blog!

Jaime said...

I love the peacock dinnerware- pairs so well w/ the Dwell linens!

Sarah said...

It's beautiful. I remember reading the article when it came out. I especially love the little boys room! I can't wait to see what you do with your new digs after you move.

Mrs. Limestone said...

How exciting! If you need any info about NYC, I'd be happy to share. Just email me.

That apartment is amazing. Im sure its equally amazingly expensive too :)

If you aren't sure if you want the burbs or the city, you might consider Brooklyn. Its a cross between.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

In your situation, I would pick the city! I can't imagine commuting after such a long work day.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

A tough dilemma for sure. The worst part...leaving that great office you created in your current home!

Kristin said...

Less space. Less Stuff. = More LIFE!

Seeker said...

Hmmm, toughie.

Personally, I could never do "THE" city. Being born and bred in Texas, I'm a wide open spaces kinda girl, and having that many people on top of me...I would DIE of claustrophobia! :) Plus, I have three kids, and just moved from 1600sf to 3700sf, and all this room is incredible. I couldn't imagine cramming three kids and their (even spared down) acoutrements into a tiny apartment.

That being said, I couldn't stand it if my husband was gone for 16 hours a day, either.

Glad I don't have to make the choice...follow your heart!

Stephanie said...

Hi, I found you through my friend Abbey (who goes Design Scouting!)

My husband and I just moved to NYC this past fall and downsized from an 800 sq. foot place to a 400 sq. foot place. Six months ago, if you had asked me if we could do that, I would have laughed hysterically, but it's been fantastic. It was hard to let go of things I had been collecting, but once they were gone, it was incredibly freeing.

We found a place on the UWS after looking in Brooklyn - we had assumed Brooklyn would be a better deal, but at the end of the day, we were able to get a better space in Manhattan for the same price as the places we were looking at in Brooklyn (go figure!) and the prices are even better now than they were in September, when we were on the hunt. It could be a fantastic experience for a family! Living here is wonderful.

Good luck!

Mary Catherine Sears said...

I am a city girl at heart, but since I have lots of stuff I had to get creative with storage. If it is not permanent, then go with the city. Think about the experience for your girls!

Anonymous said...

This post is going 2B2 long but I've lived in both & here's what I have 2 say....LOVE all that cities offer: great restaurants, shopping, culture, etc. 1'st sbbn house was awful (not house, but town). Great schools & location but typified all the suburban cliches I loathe. Back 2 the city, along w/private school tuition - which is only part of it. There R annual funds, gala's, auctions, etc that we hadn't considered when budgeting for tuition. 4 yrs & the equiv. of a pvt college tuition later, we were on the move again. A promo moved us back 2 NYC area -this time we chose more carefully. We live in a suburb with top schools but R surrounded by people who have lived all over the US/world & R interesting, well read & cosmopolitan. My advice 2 you is 2 do your homework on your children's education 1'st. There is a lengthy process involving interviews, school visits, etc. And UR broaching the application cut off dates (end of Jan, early Feb). Find your schools & then find your home. UR talented & can make a home out of a closet. Your kids R young & U might not B prepared 2 think along these lines yet...BUT if you're not happy w/the kiddos school, it doesn't matter how fab your place is. If U can do NYC - awesome! Don't discount Brkln, Riverdale, or some NJ burbs. Go 4 midtown drect towns in NJ (Maplewood, Glen Ridge, Upper Montclair, Ridgewood, Summit). Good luck!!

Kari said...

I live with two kids in a big city, and I can't wait for the day we can move to the country. Not the burbs, but a small town. Right now, their dad lives down the street and they are in good schools, so a move is out of the question. But after 10 years in the city, the bloom is off the rose. I live in a good neighborhood, but houses are too expensive (even though I make six figures), I have the world's worst upstairs neighbors, and I want a yard. Someday...

Bailey @ peppermintbliss said...

Ruh roh! Living in the city with 3 babies!? If anyone could do it, it would be you, but my mom moved when she was preggers with me because she was afraid people would sneeze on me while waiting to cross the street. But she is also nuts and basically bathes in lysol. ANnyywayyy, I think it depends mostly on your fam and what works for you. If you think they would be up for the adventure, go for it! I would love to see what you can do with a New York Apt, but I am a country mouse myself!
p.s. I have showed at least a dozen people your Christmas Evie miracle and it gets tears of joy every time!

Anonymous said...

I am a former corporate lawyer, lived on upper west side for 10 years, and park slope for the past 7. Cliche, I know. A few points. 1. Living in the city is an amazing experience, so I would at least try it out for a while before going suburbs. Stuff is just stuff, that's all. Can't make life choices based on the contents of your basement. 2. Your husband will be working crazy hours as a young associate. Having a short commute should not be underestimated. 3. In this rental market there are some good values to be had. 4. In Brooklyn you get more space for your money even in good school districts if you're going the public route. 5. If you choose Brooklyn, make sure you're on a very convenient subway line for your husband's work.

Whatever you choose, I look forward to seeing your postings on your new home. I love your creativity and style and positive attitude!!!

Best wishes,
Sophie

jodi said...

i love living in new york city! however, it is just SO expensive to live in a good neighborhood. my husband & i lived in manhattan for a year, but now live in queens, as it is much more affordable and we have more space. and we still have easy access to the subway and a quick commute to midtown.

looking forward to seeing what you do with your new space!!

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Oh, what an adventure that would be. I lived in NYC quite some time ago, briefly, and it was something else. (Good and Bad!)
Janell

Anonymous said...

A second comment: it is very, very important to consider, as you have, how this will impact your husband's interaction with the family. My husband has always worked crazy hours and his job has never even been that far from home. Still, it got to the point that the kids and I, without realizing, sort of just tuned him out of the what was going on because he was never around. Obviously, your family is more important than any "stuff" so if you need to be in the city for your family, that's what you need to do. And don't let him work those crazy hours "forever."
Ann

Janika said...

I love the city as well. We live in the Boston area--though in a suburb just 10 minutes away from the city on 93. It really feels like the best of both worlds. Our house is on a hill that overlooks the city, but our neighborhood is nice, cozy and friendly. I don't know if there is any such thing as my neighborhood anywhere near NYC. However, I was recently watching a cable tv home show and the family bought a home in a darling town in New Jersey that actually has views of the city. Both parents worked in the city and just took the ferry to work. It seemed like their commute was surprisingly short and they got the benefit of a nice neighborhood. I'm sad I can't remember the name of the town. Good luck with your decision!

Michelle said...

Do you where in Manhattan your husband will be working? We lived in Astoria Queens, and the commute to the east side was only about 20 minutes.

We loved living in NYC, but as others have suggested, you need to be realistic about getting three kids around the city. We had only one at the time, and the subways were challenging--it is often hard to find an elevator and the stairs can be a little overwhelming with little ones. I would suggest finding a neighborhood where you can keep a car easily so that you can get around with the kids more easily, but then there's traffic and parking to contend with.

Abbie said...

For us, the situation is a bit different. We live 20 miles outside of a small ski town that is a good 2+ hours from a major city. We chose to move outside of the "city" because the most we could afford to buy was a smaller two-bedroom condo in town. We went with a 1700 sq.ft. townhome outside of town, and while we often wished we could have the pleasure of having a drink with friends or quickly running home for lunch, we love living where we do. In the winter, it can take over an hour to get to work, but we have a playground right outside our front door for our dogs to frolic, and we love having plenty of space to house guests!

Anonymous said...

A lack of quality time together can break even the strongest of relationships, making you feel like a single mom instead of a loving wife. Dump the "stuff"- keep the husband!

Kaleena said...

I've lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey. I hate to reiterate what others have already said so I'm leaving some points out.

-You can still easily have an hour long commute to Brooklyn.

- You almost need a car in Brooklyn where things are a bit sprawl-ier and you have a family of 5 to grocery shop for.

-Car insurance in Brooklyn is the most expensive in the country. Plus your car will get jacked.

-My commute from Jersey to Chelsea was shorter than my commute time from Brooklyn to midtown (1 express train, no transfers).

-Living in Manhattan was lovely we were close to everything. But! Our place was so small we could never entertain and ended up going out a lot to avoid cabin fever and spent a lot more money that way.

Did you used to live in Brooklyn? One of the comments made it seem like you had.

sammyw said...

this is something my husband & i have talked and prayed about in lengths. (since my hubs job will most likely always take us to the big cities) both born and raised in the burbs we recently moved to dowtown seattle for my hubs job. it was an adjustment just getting used to public transportation, walking, small spaces, shopping at small local corner stores, downsizing to one car, etc. my hubs works long hours as well (50-60 hours per week) we decided we value having our sphere of influence (meaning church, jobs, friends, etc) within 15 minutes of our home. we also saw if valuable to invest in our local community and the most effective way to do that is near our home, job, etc. we as a family value that over square footage, stuff, clutter, yards, a seperate office, guest room, play room, etc. it's amazing how much extra time you have when you are not sitting in traffic for an hour! we also looked at the rest of the world and americans are the minority when it comes to the burbs and living far away from city centers. most people have less space and get along just fine; and have a better quality of life! now having lived in the city for a little over a year, i don't think i'll ever go back to the burbs. i'm a city dweller :)

what an exciting time for you & your husband! i suggest sitting down with your hubs and making a 'pro' and 'con' list for the city vs burbs. it's a really easy way to see what you value when it's on paper staring at you :) it was a huge help for us!

Petit Elefant said...

CITY, CITY, CITY!!!!!

Jenny said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I think the moral of the story is that there is no perfect solution here. It will be a major give and take no matter where we end up in or around NYC.

My husband's firm is downtown in the financial district, and the public schools down there are actually among the best in Manhattan (though getting enrolled is the tricky part, we're discovering!). We're hoping to get into PS 234 in Tribeca. It's close to Michael's firm and there are some cool bigger (and incredibly PRICEY!) apartments/lofts in that area that would be able to house our growing family and at least a portion of my stuff! Though, I know that craigslist and eBay will be seeing a lot of my basement this summer!

Our other favorite options include Westchester county and Brooklyn. Though, we lived in Brooklyn about two years ago for a few months. Our car was broken into three (!) times. No fun. I think we'll be selling our car this summer too!

It's hard to know what would be best for my kids and for my business. It will be an adjustment to not have a car for moving client furniture, but I guess there is a way. (man w/ a van?) We will just have to adjust to the city style and move away from the suburban mind set.

Anyway, thank you all for your thoughts. Keep them coming!

**And if any readers live in the Tribeca area and send their kids to public school, please email me or comment! Where do your kids go and how did you manage to get them in?

Melissa said...

8 yrs ago I moved from a 2,500 sq. ft home to a 500 sq. ft. apt in NYC and while there are times I want to climb my small walls, I'm happy that I live in this amazing city. The thing about NYC is that you don't spend all your time at home - you're out and about exploring. Most apts never look like the pictures in the magazines or on TV and there is never enough closet space. Be prepared to put stuff in storage or be very organized. FYI - Some furniture will never fit in the halls/doors. I think less is more and everything should have a purpose in the home.

Shop Girl said...

I say city! Go for it! I have lived in Chicago for over 4 years and my husband and I are moving into a very city-ish condo this weekend. Yes, it is less space than we would have in the suburbs, but we are steps away from the train, opera, theatre, parks, french market, river, etc.

I am not a city girl at heart because I grew up on a lake in Michigan, but I have adapted to the life of living in a city. You have to be willing to change your way of life. (the every day stuff, like driving and grocery shopping, I find I go every other day because I can't carry a weeks worth of food, but I eat very fresh food because of this and lost a few pounds too) I find many people live in Chicago and act like it is the suburbs. Most often these people complain about the cityish things, which leads me to wonder why they live in the city. (like public transportation, traffic and crowds)

I drive less (sometimes not even for a few months), our commute is 15 minutes, I meet new people and try new things. Living in a smaller space really makes me buy things that I need and love. I have stopped filling up my cart at Target because I don't have the space and let's face it, don't need the stuff.

linsey said...

I vote NYC mostly since I want you to come be my neighbor. I have no doubts you could work wonders in a brownstone space, and there are so many amazing activities for kids in this city that you + your girls would love! Come visit us in Carroll Gardens and I will do my best to see you on it--good schools, food, and a super short commute to downtown! ps--congrats your new darling baby! what an arrival!

brynalexandra said...

What a great opportunity! I can't wait to see where you decide to live... my vote is Brooklyn!

Terri said...

City and spare! Although we are currently suburban and cluttered :)

Katherine said...

I think I would choose something in between, like the first commenter suggested - A little house in the historic area near a big city. I love the city, but the noise and lights and lack of a yard would be too much for me. On the other hand, I want to be near all of that beautiful old architecture that you so often find in those in between areas with all of the culture that goes along with it. Certainly beats that cookie cutter lifestyle in the suburbs. (I have to admit, that I live in the suburbs, but it's close to the country, so that makes up for it.)

Anonymous said...

I love your work and your website, but was a bit surprised to find out that your husband is a law clerk. I am a law clerk in NYC and could never afford a house, never mind contributing to support three children. Did your husband work before starting law school and do you work outside of the website and web interior design service? Not trying to be snippy... just curious and would appreciate some advice!

Meredith said...

I live in NYC and after almost 6 years would kill for a house. Ok, not literally kill someone but it would be lovely! Our 800 sq ft apartment houses me, my husband and his office. I know our apartment is on the big size for NYC but the thought of having a baby in a one-bedroom apartment scares me.
Brookly has some beautiful brownstones. I used to live in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood and loved it. It's great for families, is 10 minutes from manhattan, has beautiful apartments and homes. Look there!

Petertammenson said...

Spare side in the city! Most apts have storage space...you might need to rent something to store some of your lovelies in...

Anonymous said...

Two interesting NYT articles about NY Public Schools:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/realestate/05cside.html?ref=realestate

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/realestate/05Cov.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Katie said...

FUN! Love that apartment! Good luck moving! :) I don't blame y'all for cutting out the commute. Plus, the city will offer amazing opportunity for unmatched experiences!

Rowena said...

me? city. I'm looking to get back to NYC this year, too.

I have already decided that space to stretch out isn't necessary. I already love the cozy. I think small is good and ecologically sound. Plus, for a while, i have considered nyc apartments to be an urban version of a cottage.

Who doesn't love a cottage?

La Dolce Vita Gal said...

Such a gorgeous example of how simplified doesn't have to mean sparse. Thanks for sharing the photos! For me, living 20 minutes from the Seattle is perfect - we enjoy having a yard to dig around in, wooded trails to walk the dog along, etc. and know that downtown delights are just a bridge away. But I appreciate your dilema - you'll find the right balance!

Cathy said...

I am originally from NYC. You MUST live there for at least one year! It will be like nothing you have ever experienced before. I say go for it! If you find that you hate it, then, and only then should you move.

Dina said...

City life while you can, fun experience, and you can always move to the burbs anytime! I used to live in downtown Charleston, SC and miss it so much! Now I live in the Atlanta burbs and would give anything to move in town~especially now with a baby on the way, I'd love to be able to walk/stroll him around everywhere :)

six in the city said...

So funny that I ran across your blog. Our family of 6 just moved from a 4000 sq foot home in Colorado to a 1200 sq foot apartment in Manhattan.

I love it here! It's been quite the transition for us these past 2 months, but it's been good. I don't miss my stuff at all. I sold most of it before we moved b/c I knew it wouldn't fit.

After only 2 months, I can say definitely choose the city!

Shelly @littlemrsdoitall said...

I love the city, but I'll take our Southern California urban sprawl anyday. I guess living here we really have the best of both worlds since Los Angeles is NOTHING like New York City.

Rebecca said...

I love the post! I have been reading your blog for some time now- sorry to be such a stalker and not reply yet!
I just moved to the city last July from North Carolina and I have so much crap! I've just learned to keep the bare essentials, because I cannot stand the clutter and there's no room for it here! Good luck with the move!

my spatula said...

if you end up in an apt. like this one, i'm coming over and NEVER LEAVING.

The Smiths in NYC said...

Storage Unit!! They don't cost that much and you can have access to your things anytime. Brooklyn Heights or Carol Gardens might be the solution if you want more space and be close to your hubby.

Although it is nice to be close enough to grab lunch and visit. Hmmm, I will keep my ears open to some nice spaces here.

Your definitely going to need an awesome stroller that can deal with all the walking, the kiddos will def get tired. Good luck, maybe you guys will end up near us.

The Smiths in NYC said...

We also have friends with 7 children who live on the upper eastside. They def have bunk beds. I think that is a great space saver.

VictoriaArt said...

Well, here is my take, if you are still reading... We have lived with one young child in NYC until she was about 2/12 yrs. It was wonderful. Then the next babe was on the way. As things go you start thinking of schools and we decided to move out. Have not regretted this step. I love the city, but am I happy to retire into my home(not that big, but man, so much better then a two bedroom condo...)and garden. Schools are great, lot's of clients, hubby comutes by train 45 min door to door....We are up in Westchester...
And design: you can have your cake and eat it too.... city chic is great in suburbia too!

Love that House above!

XX
Victoria

maryp said...

I, too, am like you and have a lot of stuff and love the city. Someday I hope to call the city {specifically NYC} my home, but it may not be for a few years once I've saved some money to live there. And to live in the city I think I would be willing to cut back on some of the "luxuries" I'm normally accustomed to. If you make you're move, I'll look forward to seeing where you end up! Good luck!

Melissa said...

tough call. But since its NYC I say live in the city for sure. Such an amazing city and so nice to be close to everything and way better for the husband.

ashlina said...

SMALLER IN THE CITY...at least for a while.
the resources and things to see and do will be amazing! your girls will experience an amazingly beautiful playground of the world.
For a designer, life would be so grand taking it all in. you will learn so much!

you will get your big spread.....one day!

:)

That Pink Girl said...

Do you knokw the name for the gray green in the last pic? I've been agonizing over the perfect gray green for months now. Our bedroom is covered in paint colors. I find just the right one, get it home and it's too minty, or too blue or too green!

molly said...

i remember reading that article. loved it all! good luck!

Darleen said...

Oh, come live near me so I can pick your brain everyday and we can be best friends and you can decorate my house! So I vote for the burbs! I live in Connecticut--just a short train ride away. But honestly...three kids in the city? Honey, it ain't fun. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

Aspire for the "big spread" when your children are a little older. In the meantime do what you feel would be best for your children. The most important job/responsibility you have been given is to care for your little ones. If you think living in NYC would be best for them then go for it! Don't move there because you think it's "glamorous" or because it would help your career as a designer. Spend less time on the internet and more time hugging your babies. If you don't, 10 years down the road you will have regrets. They just grow up too fast, and you don't want to miss a beat. May God bless you in all your endeavors.
FYI-my husband worked in the financial district 8 years ago. We lived on the UWS. It took him close to 45 minutes to get to lower Manhattan every morning. We now live in Jersey and love it!

Megan @ Megity's Handmade said...

Mmmm....those pictures are delicious! It looks so effortless that it's frustrating to me. I adore the pop of the yellow rug in the dining room. Should be so simple for me to figure that out for my home, but no, I fail miserably and it ends up looking flat and uninviting.
NYC sounds exciting!! Living in the city would be quite the adventure. Of course, you would do it beautifully. Can't wait to see what you choose.

Michele/Sentimental Heart Photography said...

hh! Those vintage charts are amazing!
And all the linens and rugs!

Barbie said...

I'm more of a fan of living near a city so it's easy to get to, but outside of it enough so I can breathe easier...both figuratively and literally I guess.

Thanks for posting the tutorial on the antiqueing of mirrors. Have been meaning to google that for a while!

Emily said...

I would give NYC a shot. It would be so great to be living right in the middle of such a great city! And if you decide later on that city life isn't for you, it's not such a big deal to move out to the suburbs. Good luck!

michelle from Six in the City said...

Just read thru all the comments and thought I'd add something to my previous comment.

As I said before we just moved to Manhattan in November with 4 kids (ages 17,14,11 and 6). Not sure what ages your kids are, but middle school selection is going on right now. It is by application, not just where you are zoned- like the rest of the country. (this was a big shock to me.)

We looked in the area you mentioned (Tribecca) b/c of the schools too. Couldn't find anything in our price range. Not sure what your range is, but we finally chose to live on the Upper East Side. They have excellent schools and reasonable rent. We live in School District 2 and couldn't be happier. Both my elementary kids are in PS 158 and we couldn't be happier. You really can't go wrong with ANY of the elementary schools in district 2. They are all good - especially compared to the rest of the city.

Also, when we looked for an apt we did Craigslist, special apt listing sites, used a broker from a big firm and found nothing. It was really discouraging. Finally ran across the group Manhattan Connection. They were fantastic and showed us things no other broker did. Found our place in one day once we switched to him. Let me know if you want our contact there. He was fabulous!

Also, if you have any questions about moving to the city, let me know. I'm a newbie, but I've just gone thru the transition- so everything is fresh:-) Good luck to you all and God bless.

Anonymous said...

I do not know what your financial situation is (obviously), but I second what was said in an earlier post, namely that as a junior associate at a large firm, I simply could not have afforded a decent-size apartment in Tribeca for our family of four. We live in Brooklyn. My firm is also in the Downtown/Financial District area, and the commute is short and easy. My first child goes to a good public school in Brooklyn. We still pay a lot of money for afterschool care and a private preschool for the little one. We love life in NYC, but it sure is expensive.
Good luck with your move. I look forward to reading about it. And congratulations on your darling new baby.

central bark designs said...

THE CITY - and I must agree with Miggy - NYC is unlike any other.

We moved from a lovely spacious home in Arlington, VA (and when I say we, I mean me & my golden retriever) - to a 1 bdrm apt. in the Beekman neighborhood. It took time adjusting from lots of space to little space - but after 3 yrs -I can't imagine living anywhere else. You give up your yard - the city gives you CENTRAL BARK. You give up a large supermarket - the city gives you the neighborhood butcher, cheese shop and fish monger, and Italian grocer - not to mention the 24hr bodega at the end of the street! (Did I mention the wine shop that hands out dog biscuits!).

Granted - I don't have children, so schools are not an issue for me - but what could be better than living in a city where you can go to a different museum every weekend.

NYC is a collection of lovely little neighborhoods. We've been here for almost 4 yrs - and continue to discover new wonders. (Just made it to the Ziegfeld Theater for the first time to see "NINE". Now that's a movie house!)

ENJOY THE CITY - and take advantage of all it has to offer you and your family!

bj said...

how about a small city apartment and a weekend home to escape to when your husband finishes work on friday? the best of both worlds :)
love your blog...thanks for all the tutorials!

Sarah's Fab Day said...

As a suburban dweller and can say that if I lived with the children in the city I would pare down and live just like this. Their home is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Two things:
1. the Dwell house is a multi-million dollar abode (in both the fabulousness sense and the cost to buy that amount of real estate in NY)
2. Hoboken! MUCH bigger apartments, 10 mins to midtown. Its the hidden gem of NY. Bloggers love Brooklyn, but the fact is that most of it (Park Slope, Cobble Hill) is 45+ mins commute to work. HO-BO-KEN. Seriously. Free preschool and the private schools are 1/2 the price of NYC. Shhhhhh. You can thank me later.

mn said...

Loved this post, and had to comment. After living in NYC 8 years, I'd choose the city life over retaining lots of stuff. When you edit your things, you realize what you really need and want to live with. It's not always easy because yes, you'll lack storage & closet space, but if you keep in mind that it's a trade-off, then you can keep yourself from collecting more things & things & things...I'd much rather have a walking lifestyle, huge city parks, and the camaraderie that comes from city living- as in friends' homes you can walk to, getting everything delivered, etc. I also love not spending time in a car driving to & from places and dealing with traffic. I don't mind the trade-off.

That said, my child isn't school-age yet: that's when city life becomes outrageously expensive if you're not on board w/ the schools in your area. I know it gets more cramped and more costly as kids get older, but if I leave a city it will be out of fiancial necessity, not by choice!
I think you'll enjoy NYC immensely. It's a great place to be w/children.

amyks said...

Grew up in a small town in the midwest, moved to Boston and live in "the city", while it's not NYC,(which I would totally move to in a heartbeat), it's still not in the "burbs". Lots of my friends live in the suburbs, have their yards and then have to drive everywhere. I love that we have 5 playgrounds or more within walking distance of our home, can walk to the grocery store, school and even my husband's office. Everytime my father comes for a visit he asks me when we are going to move out of the city. Not likely to happen since we are no in the throes of a major gut rehab, of a single family home in our current neighborhood.
Yes, I am a city girl at heart, nothing wrong with living in the outskirts, it's just not for me.

Cathleen said...

Here's a second for Hoboken, NJ. Seriously, it's a 10 minute bus or train ride into either downtown or midtown. When my husband works late and needs to get into the city he jumps in a cab and is home in 7 minutes! I've been here 11 years and have 1 year old twins with another on the way. It's a great town for families and full of young families. We don't need a car (have 2 anyway) and we walk everywhere. You get more space for your money as well. It's worth looking in to. The hubs and I are in the city every weekend and some nights I hop the bus in to meet him for dinner if we have a sitter. Seriously, look into the town!

Elie's Papel said...

Amazing apartment! the use of the area rugs is very nice because the graphic quality they have add to the room lots of interest. the artwork in the boys rooms is super cute... ;)

Kayla Poole said...

Hi Jenny! Love your blog..question for you: by any chance, do you know where the yellow print rug is from/can be found (the one featured in the dining room photo)? It's the exact style and color I am currently seeking. Thanks so much!
Kayla

Anonymous said...

I am one of the anonymous posters from 1/7 (2B2 long). Well, I got jinxed commenting on your upcoming move! Last night - out of the blue- the hubs came home w/the news that he's getting another promo & we'll move 2 Asia next summer. Spent 4 great years there a decade ago so we know what we're getting in2. But, thought I was done relocating. 6 - SIX! - relo's in 16 yrs....not incl. minor housing moves w/in new locations. My daughter has been in 8 schools & she's only 12. I've been following your blog since the winter of '08 & have been amazed at what appears 2B (from the outside) a fearlessness when faced with relocation. AND, you've got babies!! Thank you for being such an inspiration. I am going to (try really, really hard 2) adopt your positive, can-do attitude & look at this as a great adventure. Now, I'm off to research schools....

Ash said...

I have a question...do you know where Jennifers yellow rug in her dining room came from? It looks like Dwell but I can't find it ANYWHERE! Thanks! ashleymerback@gmail.com

stacey said...

Well you have plenty of advice, but I thought I would leave my two cents. Why not the best of both worlds? Nobody has mentioned Inwood (past Harlem and Washington Heights). I've lived here five years with my husband and now have a two year old. Apartments are MUCH larger than downtown for much less. Hudson Heights is a great area with a wonderful school: PS 187. There are lots of parks. It's about 45 min from the financial district, but you are still in Manhattan and can have more room! Also, mommypoppins.com is a great blog for living with kids in the city. Love your blog and style, btw. Good luck!

Christy said...

Hi - I just discovered your blog today and just love it! Lucky you moving to NYC! I am not sure about the burbs vs the city! That commute, on top of a 14 day? UGH! But hauling three kids (and a stroller) around the city? UGH! So, I guess I'd probably go for the city. Even though I personally didn't - my husband and I, and our daughter live outside Philly. We lived in the city before she was born, but a yard is so nice. Anyway, nice to meet you! Love your blog! And congrats on the new baby!

Amanda said...

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/house-tours/nellies-new-old-home-house-tour-106922

Jenny - an amazing home tour of a 500 square foot apartment in the West Village - certainly not room enough for 2 adults and 3 children but just amazing to see the potential.

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Data Entry Professionals said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree that the romance of living in NYC is very different than the reality of being there. I worked as a corporate lawyer at one of the bigger NYC firms, and I still lived in a studio because the prices were so crazy. A $2700 studio. I remember the first time I went out with a broker I cried at the end of the day because I couldn't believe how awful some of the apartments were. I finally broke down a year ago and got a storage unit in Harlem (cheaper prices) and it has been a saving grace. NYC was absolutely exhausting for me as a single girl and I cannot even imagine having 3 children there. Good-luck!

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