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Name: Paige Hansen
Location: Union Square — New York, NY
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
“My apartment is more than just a place I live; it has become a source of happiness, comfort, and connectedness to this city, my friends, and myself. Life is crazy, particularly in New York City, and it can be challenging to balance work, relationships, pressure of life and its stages (I just turned 31), so it was important for me to create space for me, a sanctuary of sorts,” shares Paige Hansen.”
“Last year, one of my resolutions was to live life more minimally—from my surroundings to my daily habits. How many pairs of jeans do I really need? Moisturizers? When I eat out, am I hungry enough for a full entrée, or am I satisfied with an appetizer-sized portion? I’ve extended this philosophy beyond how I decorated my apartment to include how I spend my time and money, and where I focus my energy. That’s meant keeping my home and closets clutter-free and organized.
I’m inspired by the Danish simpler way of living and I’d say my style is Cali-Scandi. I’m from California and am also Norwegian and Danish so I pulled as much of that into my tiny NYC apartment as possible.
I love my apartment because it is representative of the life I want to create for myself: One filled only with things I cherish and need, and free of superfluous items that cause distraction and discomfort. In a world of insatiable desire, the question I always come back to is, what makes me happy and what do I really need? The outcome is reflected in my apartment and increasingly in my persona. (No, I have not watched Marie Kondo!).”
My Style: California-Scandinavian, a.k.a. “Cali-Scandi” or “Scandifornian.”
Inspiration: I’m inspired by minimalistic design that is modern, functional, and calming. I’m a huge fan of dining out, and dining in; basically I like eating. I’ve tried to re-create what I’d describe as my happiest state—the feeling of eating together in a dimly lit restaurant, filled with candles, music, and people sharing stories. Specifically, I’m inspired by places like abcV in New York, 108 in Copenhagen, and the aesthetic created by Taryn Toomey’s The Class, of which I am a huge fan.
My favorite part of my apartment is the openness. It’s a glorified studio with a light, sea glass-colored sliding divider that creates just enough of a barrier between my bedroom and living room. I love to entertain, and my kitchen is big enough to be a gathering spot, but if my friends move a few feet away into my living room, I still feel part of the conversation. The biggest compliment a friend can pay is that they love coming over. I usually have yummy snacks or ingredients for an easy pasta on hand, just in case a last-minute opportunity to entertain arises. I always have wine, crackers, nuts, olives to pull out onto my kitchen countertop so a friend or two can perch on my stools while I prep a meal for us to enjoy.
My biggest challenge is natural light. When I saw the apartment for the first time, I immediately saw the potential (updated bathroom and kitchen) but was concerned about the lack of natural light in the north-facing, low-floor unit. To overcome this, I replaced the blinds, ripped out a built-in bookshelf, and painted the walls a bright, fresh white to make it feel clean, larger, and lighter. I replaced the fixtures, installed dimmers to the track lighting that came with the unit, and added lamps so I could create the right mood, whether I’m entertaining, or hanging out by myself reading, cooking, working.
I’m proudest of the DIY things you don’t see on the surface—how I’ve organized my kitchen, my closet space, my bar area, and the essentials I need for living, like paper towels, tools, etc. basically all the things you don’t want to have to store in your precious small space, but you do. I’m proudest of how I have extended the minimalist philosophy I strive for behind closed doors, inside drawers, and under my bed.
The second one would be replacing all the handles and pulls on my drawers and closets. It’s like jewelry for your apartment!
Definitely a beautiful custom framing treatment for two photographs my stepdad took and gave me for my 30th birthday. I’m from California and love having the prints of San Francisco taken from Marin County as the focal point of my apartment. The framing and mounting were not cheap, but completely worth it as they made the photos even more dramatic and elevated the look of my space.
Prioritize your changes based on your realistic budget and what will have the greatest impact on your happiness and ability to live functionally. I considered updating my bathroom tile because I frankly don’t love it, but I was shocked when I got quotes—not in my budget! Instead, I invested in high-end clean, white towels, installed dimmers to my bathroom lights, and applied a fresh, warm coat of paint to change the look just enough to make me enjoy the space more. One day, I’ll get to the bathroom tile.