Tour a 450-Square-Foot Studio Apartment in Gramercy – The Cut


Postwar white-brick studios, with their galley kitchens and low ceilings, are always practical yet rarely inspiring. But Danielle Rago wasn’t about to let that stop her. “I have been around architecture and development my whole life,” she says. Her father is in commercial real estate, and she interned at architecture firms in the city. After getting her master’s degree at the Architectural Association in London, she moved back to New York. Then, in 2013, her boyfriend (now husband) got a job in Los Angeles, so they moved out west, where she co-founded a design-consultancy firm, This X That. Still, she missed having a place in New York.

When her sister, who had been living in a studio owned by their family in a white-brick postwar in Gramercy since 2012, adopted a dog and decided she needed more space, Rago thought it might work for her as a pied-à-terre. So she decided to renovate it.

The main room and kitchen before the renovation. Photo: Courtesy of New Affiliates.

The main room and kitchen before the renovation. Photo: Courtesy of New Affiliates.

Rago turned to Jaffer Kolb and Ivi Diamantopoulou of New Affiliates (which is also represented by This X That). The project required that the 450-square-foot space, which had been dominated by her sister’s bed and sectional sofa, serve as a place for both meetings and entertaining as well as become a minimalist crash pad at night. The keys to the transformation? That age-old, reliable space saver, the Murphy bed, plus a new, custom-designed “pleated” wall built the length of the apartment to conceal new closet space. “We thought of it as a Swiss Army knife,” Kolb says.

“[For the main room], we had to think beyond the specifics of designing a living space. The apartment was meant to be highly flexible,” designer Jaffer Kolb says. “We installed new flooring all across the apartment. We chose a narrow wood plank that makes the spaces feel more generous.” The pre-finished wood flooring is from Mirage’s Admiration Collection in Red Oak Nordic. A new wall of storage space runs the length of the apartment. New Affiliates designed the custom Murphy bed to blend in with a wall devised for storage. There’s enough room to house bookshelves on either side of the bed.

The Main Room: Here, the Murphy bed is hidden away. The wall sculpture is Nonlinear Shapes, by Kai Franz. “Previously, the lighting was via floor lamps. We added wall sconces to bring even light from above,” designer Ivi Diamantopoulou says. This sconce is from Schoolhouse Electric. Subtle details like replacing all the electrical outlets and switches modernize the look of the space. Photo: MICHAEL VAHRENWALD/ESTO

The View Toward the Window: The HEM-designed chaise, which sits where the bed used to, can be used as an extra bed when needed. The handmade wool rug is by Grain from Colony Design, and the discreet wall sconces are by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. The new wood floors help brighten up the room, as do the plaster-concrete ceiling surfaces, which reflect light. Photo: MICHAEL VAHRENWALD/ESTO

The Kitchen: “We wanted to keep the materials simple, light, and clean,” Kolb says. The new kitchen is in the same place as the old, but a wall and a door were removed to open it up. All of the appliances are by Miele. The overhead cabinets were removed. The countertops are by Caesarstone in Fresh Concrete. The floor tiles were replaced with the same wood flooring used in the rest of the studio. Photo: MICHAEL VAHRENWALD/ESTO

The Bathroom: “We kept the bathroom in its original location but enlarged it by removing an adjoining closet and gaining several feet of clear space,” Diamantopoulou says. A frameless mirror, as well as all-new fixtures, adds to the simplicity. The Nemo tiles are in Superwhite with Twilight-blue Laticrete grout. Photo: MICHAEL VAHRENWALD/ESTO

The Office Nook: The architects created this work space by removing the existing coat and walk-in closest. The high desk matches the design of the kitchen cabinets and cabinetry.” We thought this could be used as both a home office, or an extension of the kitchen when needed.” Diamantopoulou says. “The custom bookshelves on the back wall take advantage of the existing wall configuration.” Photo: MICHAEL VAHRENWALD/ESTO


The Pleated Wall: The hallway is now defined by a newly built-out wall that extends from the kitchen to the back of the space. “The apartment actually had over 55 square feet of storage and closets,” Diamantopoulou says, “but because most of that was in dedicated walk-in areas, a lot of it was standing room and was far less efficient in terms of capacity per square foot.” The wall unifies the components while creating the pantry in the kitchen and the storage area outside the bathroom, and it contains the Murphy bed with shelving in the living room. Illustration: Jason Lee

*A version of this article appears in the January 20, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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The 7 Best Eyeshadow Palettes to Buy (From Everyday Neutrals to Bold Statement Colors) – Yahoo Lifestyle

The best eyeshadow palettes should, at a minimum, have an assortment of shades that you can use daily to define your eyes. A great eyeshadow palette does that and gives you options for when you want to flex your creative muscles and try new colors or amp things up for a special occasion. So how do you choose the right palette for your needs? As your friendly neighborhood beauty editor, I’m here to walk you through seven of my standby’s that get the job done every single time.

If you’re new to makeup or are more of a minimalist when it comes to your routine, I’d recommend this petite palette from Fenty. It’s just slightly bigger than the palm of your hand and holds six, easy-to-wear neutrals from a creamy ivory to a shimmery rose and espresso brown that’s perfect for defining your lashline. Each of the shadows are satisfyingly rich in pigment and are as buildable as they are blendable. Also of note: The portable palette has a handy mirror inside for touchups and can be snapped together with any of the eight other options (including a set of shimmering pastels or deep earth tones) to create your own customizable palette. Rih really knows best. 

Another option for the everyday minimalist, this palette from Ilia is also made sans parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances, making it one of the cleanest on this list. Whether you’re into clean beauty or not, you will love the slim compact and velvety texture of these shadows. There are six shades in total in a variety of matte, satin and shimmer finishes. And if you’re into warmer tones like terracotta and rose like I am, this is a must buy for you. (If you prefer cooler tones, the brand has a palette to suit your needs as well.)

You can’t talk about eyeshadow palettes and not mention Anastasia Beverly Hills (or ABH as the beauty diehards call her). Simply put, ABH’s palettes are expertly curated and exceptionally pigmented. That said, it was hard to choose my favorite, but in the end, I went with this limited-edition collaboration with YouTube star, Jackie Aina. 

Each of the 14 shades in this palette are impossibly buttery and sweep onto your lids with little to no effort and the colors themselves play off each other so you can create any look you want. For example, a day at the office calls for a simple sweep of “Soleil,” which is a soft golden peach shimmer, while a night out with the girls might call for some “Big Wig” (a rich plum) with a pop of “Shookington” (a metallic violet) on top. Bonus: Every ABH palette comes with a compact, double-ended brush that has a flat end to deposit color, highlight, or pack shadow onto the lid and a fluffy end to diffuse and blend it all out. 

Buy it ($45)

For the ingredient and sustainably minded, this palette checks all of the boxes—and then some. Formulated with organic coconut oil and shea butter, the colorful array of shadows have a smooth, velvety texture for easy blending and the packaging itself is fully recyclable. Add to that the gorgeous selection of taupes, browns and purples and you’ve got yourself a solid 12 shades to choose from (though I’m partial to “Mystic,” an iridescent ivory that brightens everything it touches).

Buy it ($58)

If you love to play with color, this painterly palette is for you. With 39 intense shades from a tangerine orange to a fuchsia pink (and a lime green!), you can experiment with a different shade every day of the week and still not run out of options. Fear not—there are also plenty of muted hues that are suitable for more subtle looks as well. And for just under 40 dollars, it’s a pretty solid bargain (which is probably why it’s a fan favorite with over 3,000 reviews and 4.5 stars on Ulta alone).

Buy it ($39)

For the Sephora fanatic, you’ll want to get your hands on this stunning palette curated by Christen Dominique, the popular beauty influencer and makeup guru. With ten shades in total, the palette offers just enough variety to give you lots of options without making you feel overwhelmed. From a matte taupe to a shimmery rose gold and a striking plum or mocha brown, each of the shadows apply beautifully and can be used all over the lid or in strategic spots—like the inner corners of your eyes or just along the lashline—for an added pop. I’ve also been impressed with the longevity of these shadows; the initial fallout is minimal to nonexistent and the colors don’t fade throughout the day like some others I’ve tried.

Buy it ($42)

RELATED: We ‘Got Ready’ with a Pro Makeup Artist and Learned Way More Than We Expected

It feels right to end with Pat McGrath, as everything she touches is a literal work of art. From the custom illustrations on the outer packaging to the luxe lacquered case and, of course, the shadows themselves, this couture palette elevates the daily experience of applying your makeup. That said, it comes at a price…to the tune of 125 dollars. (You can’t hear me, but I just gave a low whistle.)

What I will say is this: If you can afford it, her shadows are truly unique. Take, for instance, Blitz Blue, which is described as a “vivid sapphire,” and honey, vivid is an understatement. The blue glitters and shines in a way that makes people stop you in the street and ask what you’re wearing. (Tip: Keep an eye out for some of the bigger sales at Sephora throughout the year; the palette has been offered at a discount in the past.)

Buy it ($125)

RELATED: The Best Makeup for Brown Eyes (According to a Pro Makeup Artist)

12 whimsical photos show what your favorite Disney characters’ tiny houses would look like – Business Insider

Woody’s imagined tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

While Disney characters often live in castles and palaces, who’s to say they won’t want to downsize some day?

As the tiny house movement sweeps across the globe, prompting many to seek out smaller, simpler living spaces, artists at Angie’s List wondered what tiny houses would like in the magical world of Disney.

The artists examined six famous Disney characters and designed 400-square-foot homes for each of them. Take a look inside.

Belle’s imagined tiny house would sit at the top of a tower.

Belle’s tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

Although most tiny houses are on wheels, it’s fitting that this Disney princess’ home is atop a tower and made of stone.

Inside the small cottage, Belle’s home would have a fireplace and stacks of books.

Inside Belle’s home.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle wears mostly blue and maroon, so you can see those colors throughout the tiny house.

Meanwhile, Mulan’s tiny house would be inspired by Japanese architecture.

Mulan’s tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

There’s also a zen garden adjacent to the tiny house.

Inside, Mulan’s home would be minimalist and adhere to Japanese culture.

Inside Mulan’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

To the right, you can see a ladder that leads to a loft, which is typical for most tiny houses in the real world.

Elsa’s tiny house would be a cabin that resembles the ice castle she constructs in “Frozen.”

Elsa’s tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

Throughout the film, the architecture has Norwegian influences, and this tiny house is no different.

The interior is a nod to the film as well, as the couch is the color of the queen’s dress.

Inside Elsa’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

The beams on the ceiling resemble a snowflake.

Woody from “Toy Story” would live in a rustic retreat.

Woody’s tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

You can almost see Woody sporting his cowboy hat out on the deck.

Inside Woody’s home, the rustic aesthetic continues.

Inside Woody’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

The antler chandelier that hangs from the ceiling is a nod to the Old West.

Princess Merida from “Brave” would have a simple tiny house resembling Scottish castles.

Princess Merida’s tiny house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

“Brave” is set in a fictional medieval Scotland.

The interior of Merida’s house would be made of stone and wood.

Inside Merida’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

If you look closely, you can see a painting of Merida’s horse, Angus, on the floor.

In “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” it was Jack Skellington’s job to scare people, and his tiny house would do just that.

Jack Skellington’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

The character’s tiny house is imagined to be haunted and decrepit.

Jack Skellington’s tiny house would be just as creepy and dark inside as it is outside.

Inside Jack Skellington’s house.
Courtesy of Angie’s List

As the “Pumpkin King,” it’s only fitting that his tiny house has at least one jack-o’-lantern.

Minimalist electric screwdriver is designed to be “unintimidating” – Dezeen

ÉCAL graduate Byongseon Bae has given the drill a non-threatening makeover – replacing its complex exterior and characteristic gun shape with a sleek, monochrome design and simplified functionality.

The resulting product, called Home Tool, can be used as both a manual screwdriver and a cordless drill, simply by applying different bits.

Despite being a power tool, it maintains the straight handle of a regular screwdriver, with a built-in LED-light for use in dark spaces.

The device is not meant for bigger home-improvement projects, but for everyday tasks from furniture assembly all the way down to repairing electronics.

“For a lot of people in their 20s and 30s, being able to drill holes into the wall is almost an unnecessary function because people don’t want to damage the wall when it’s a rental house,” Bae told Dezeen.

“This creates demand for a simple home tool that carries only basic functions and eliminates intricate details – one that is understandable and straightforward so that anyone could use it.”

By reducing the amount of possible settings and simplifying the exterior, Bae hopes to make the device less intimidating for first-time users.

“For an amateur, a hand drill can be a scary thing,” said the designer.

“Even something as simple as using the sliding switch to change the rotation direction can be confusing, so I reduced it into an intuitive two-button system – pressing the forward button drives in a screw, and pushing the back button unscrews it.”

In a preliminary observation study Bae found that, for an average user, the clutch on a drill is completely obsolete. This adjustable dial allows professionals to adjust the amount of torque, or force, that is applied when drilling.

“The numbers on the clutch are meaningless to a novice because they have no clue which one should be chosen for which material,” the designer explained.

As a result, she removed the clutch from her design entirely.

Most participants also struggled with the chuck – a clamp designed to hold drill bits of different shapes in place.

Bae simplified the set-up for her Home Tool to work exclusively with hexagonal bits, which means they can be installed more easily and fixed more securely.

The design also forgoes the array of multicoloured buttons and sections that can be found on a classic drill in favour of uniform blocks of colour.

“By making it all one shade, I wanted to make it look like an easy-to-use tool that can blend in with its surroundings in a home,” she explained.

“Red as a colour is symbolic of traditional tools like the toolbox and manual screwdriver. I think evoking the memory of the tools they already know means people can utilise the Home Tool with a sense of familiarity.”

Beyond fire-engine red, the device also comes in neutral shades of cream and navy – with a container to match.

The briefcase-sized box needed to store a traditional drill is replaced by a compact, stackable case, only slightly larger than an A5 book.

It is designed to be stored on a desk rather than in the attic, and also doubles up as a charging station.

Once the device is charged via the USB port – which can be hooked up to a laptop, power bank or regular plug – the cable can be neatly wound up and stowed away in the designated slot on the bottom of the case.

In her survey, Bae also found that people were likely to misplace essential elements such as screws or dowels in the process of assembling products such as flat-packed furniture.

This lead her to incorporate a series of empty grooves and rivets into the interior of the case which can be used as an inventory tray, while the essential drill bits are safely fastened to the inside of the lid.

Elsewhere, designers have reinterpreted the screwdriver as a desktop ornament and integrated it into a pocket knife for skiers, so they can adjust their bindings on the go.

Can a minimalist mindset help save the planet? – Khmer Times

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If everybody lived in the same way as the average German, we would need almost three planet Earths. If we lived like US residents, it would be almost five. That’s according to calculations by the Global Footprint Network.

But what if people chose a different lifestyle – a less consumerist one filled with less stuff?

Minimalist blogger and podcaster Elisa Stangl doesn’t have a couch or even a bed at home. She, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter sleep on Japanese tatami mats in their small flat in southern Germany. “We don’t own a lot,” she told DW.

Stangl adopted her minimalist lifestyle while still a student for financial rather than environmental reasons. Travelling the world compounded her sense that she was better off living with less.

“I just learned that I don’t need anything other than the things I have in my backpack,” she said. “So I figured, why should I need more when I’m at home?”

Now, Stangl says her main motivation is living mindfully. Having less stuff means she and her family can focus on what’s important to them. They need less money and therefore have more time for hobbies such as hiking and exploring nature.

Stangl and her family plan to move out of their apartment and into a converted van so they can spend more time travelling. Stangl also believes a minimalist lifestyle goes hand in hand with environmental responsibility. “Living a mindful life doesn’t only concern the individual,” she said. “If you get to know how to live mindfully then you know that you have to respect nature because you live with nature and it gives you something and you have to give something back.”

Beyond the decluttering craze sparked by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, there’s a growing interest in getting rid of stuff, with the idea that equates living more minimally with living more meaningfully. That’s reflected in an ongoing study into minimalist lifestyles by Duke University in the US. “Typically, people adopt minimalism in the interest of their own psychological wellbeing – to reduce stress and cultivate mental clarity, for example,” the study’s lead researcher Aimee Chabot said.

“But as their practice evolves, their motivations for pursuing minimalism often expand to include more outwardly focused sources of motivation, such as environmental or ethical concerns.”

Chabot and her team have so far surveyed more than 800 people, most of them in the US. “Only about 10 percent of survey respondents said that reducing their environmental impact was their primary motivation for practicing minimalism, although about 70 percent said they did consider environmental impacts to be one of their reasons for doing so,” she said.

Even as an unintended consequence, living with less is certainly good for the planet. A 2015 study found that more than 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are down to household consumption. That’s mainly from transport and food, but also the other products people buy that generate carbon emissions in production.

Household consumption is of course higher in wealthier countries. As economies around the world develop, consumption is growing. The more people who have money to spend, the more stuff they buy. But it doesn’t necessarily make them happy. As studies show, higher income and bigger spending power boosts well-being only up to a certain point.

And as the minimalism trend suggests, more and more people are becoming disillusioned with the materialistic societies they live in.

In her 2014 book Happier People Healthier Planet, academic Teresa Belton argues that the factors driving human wellbeing actually have very little environmental impact.

“What generates and sustains wellbeing are all sorts of what I call ‘non-material assets’,” she told DW. “Good relationships, contact with the natural world. Being creative, having a sense of belonging and community and purpose and meaning, being actively engaged in life and things like that, which don’t involve any material consumption – or very little.”

Beyond the individual level, governments are yet to be convinced to focus on human rather than financial and material growth. But leveraging the link between human and planetary wellbeing could be key to shifting our economies away from consumption and tackling the climate crisis. DW

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