As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the East Village two-bedroom home of Juliana Salazar, brand manager, stylist and consultant. Our intentions behind the creeping: to — what else? — learn what she’s all about.
Neighborhood, # of rooms:
East Village, 2BR
What do you do?
I’m Ganni’s US brand manager and do some styling/consulting in my spare time.
How long have you lived here?
I just moved (as you might be able to tell)! I moved from a few blocks away, though; I’ve been in the neighborhood for two years now.
Who do you live with?
A friend and my money tree! (Yes, it’s actually called that.)
What do you like about your hood?
The location is definitely what does it for me. I love that I am able to leave my apartment and walk to some of my favorite places within 15 minutes. There are also a lot of good local coffee shops and restaurants when I don’t want to venture too far but need some fresh air.
What about this apartment?
Ahhh, where do I begin! I love the exposed brick, high ceilings, and having a washer/dryer — such a game changer. Oh, and now I have my own bathroom which is a pretty sweet upgrade!
What’s the worst thing about the apartment?
Minuscule closets 🙁
What’s the best?
So much good natural light coming in!
Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like? Is it important to you to have a dedicated work space or do you work from bed/the couch?
I do work from home sometimes. As much as I want to just stay in bed, that never really works out. I might as well be narcoleptic, so I need to get up. I’ll leave my apartment first to get a coffee and breakfast and make sure my blood and brain juices are flowing before I set up shop in my living room.
What did you think about when decorating? What was the process like? Did you start with one piece and design around that or has it been add as you go?
When decorating, there were a few pieces I definitely *needed* to have and the rest I just wanted to feel special, not like I just bought my whole living room from Ikea, you know? The process was a little annoying at first, seeing as we had to replace some key items that didn’t fit the space, but it was also great to be able to pick new pieces. Our decorating process has definitely been add as you go — everything in here has been collected over time. There are some things I’ve had since college!
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating? What was it and where’d you get it from?
Not really. I knew the kind of environment I wanted to create, but I didn’t necessarily know how it would all come together. My mom is an interior designer and architect and when I was a kid, she would take me to work with her. She really wanted me to be interested in what she did, but I just wasn’t. I don’t know why, but I hated it. Looking at fabrics, wall colors — it was torture. And now, one of my favorite things to do is look at houses and decorated spaces. I can spend hours on interior design blogs and reading up on designers and architects.
What are your favorite apartment “scores” and where are they from?
My Lucky Strike ashtray! When I was in Cuba, I saw them everywhere I went and ended up begging a bartender to let me take one. I don’t even smoke but just think it’s so cool!
Tell a story about one thing in your apartment — couch, photo, plant, anything (how you came across it, if you upholstered it, etc).
My mom sent me a money tree when I first moved into my last apartment for good luck. It ended up being one of my favorite things. It’s surprisingly easy to keep alive! Also, I built my couch and console myself!!!
For someone young and broke and trying to nest, what are your top three tips for finding/buying for the home?
Etsy, eBay, and Craigslist. You’ll be shocked at how much cool (and inexpensive) stuff you can find there that would otherwise be a million dollars in a store. The best part is that most of the stuff you’ll find is one of a kind. Etsy and eBay are great for decorative pieces, but if you know you need bar stools or some furniture piece always check Craigslist first — there is an 85% chance someone is selling the one you’ve been eyeing from West Elm at half the price.
What about tips for a total amateur in putting a room together?
Decorating can be pretty daunting and overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to copy an image you pulled from Pinterest. Hone in on special items you know you want and build around them. A mistake I think a lot of people make is thinking that they’re going to set up a new room in one go — they buy all this stuff thinking that’s it, but a room is hardly ever completed at its initial set-up. Also, don’t just buy things because you have a space you need to fill up. Be patient and eventually your home will be filled with only the best stuff.
What does your dream room look like?
An open space with high ceilings complete with either a velvet pink or marigold couch. I never thought a couch would consume me the way these have, but I literally think about them every other day. There would also be a hammock chair hanging in a corner with a huge fur throw falling off of it. Oh, and when you turned off the lights I would have one of those galaxy projectors so you could just stare up at the stars before falling asleep — I need to get one of those!
What’s the one thing every apartment should have?
Some greenery. Whether it be a plant or flowers or succulents, plants are an easy and pretty addition. Also, a deck of cards or some sort of board game — so underrated but comes in handy more than you’d think!
Photos by Nicole Cohen; follow her on Instagram @sketchfortytwo.