How I Decorated
My Apartment in NST
And You Can Too: Steal!
BY FLORENCE LEVINE
I didn't start out intending to
steal. It began when I stood in
my bare living room soon after
closing on the apartment. I looked
around. How on earth would I
make this feel like home?? I had
no clue where to start. I was forced
into my first decision the next day.
It was in the contractor’s showroom:
cabinets, knobs, sinks, faucets.
The choice of flooring erupted
into WW III between Rich and I:
“What do you MEAN you don't like
any?” Like Goldilocks’ porridge,
chairs and beds, the dark wood
was too…well, dark! And the light
wood was too...well, light! And
the medium wood was too…well,
medium! I got practically strangled
to the floor.
With good fortune, we met
Wendy and a friend right in the
showroom. “How's it going?” we
exchanged. We were to be neighbors.
It seems that Wendy was
persuaded by friend Amy to look
at a unique floor. It appeared to
be wood, but was actually tile...
porcelain tile. I liked it! Today,
its expanse greets me every time I
unlock the door and every morning
when I arise.
The color of the walls: Diane,
childhood friend since we're ten,
gave me a clue. Her daughter had
painted her entire (huge) house
this new Benjamin Moore color,
“Stoneware.” Diane liked it so
much she copied it and painted
her house the same. Now Alana
had gone to Harvard Law, as if
that gives her choice of paint more
validity. “If it’s good enough for
you, it's good enough for me!” I
darted to Benjamin Moore Paints,
took a quick look. Yes!! My apartment
now has “Stoneware” walls.
I wanted a fireplace for years. But
In my house, I decided it wouldn't
work. But here was a fresh start
and a perfect spot in the den, an
indented space--and perfect fit! I
loved the one in Rich’s son
Mike's home. But alas, the
store where they bought it
had closed down.
Rich did a Yeoman’s
search for another one I'd
like but, NO! It went like
this: “Here's a nice one in
Bob’s”…Me: “NO!!” Rich:
“Look, I found another”...
Me: “NO!!” He persevered,
kept on looking. But I only
wanted Mike’s! Then one
calm day…”You'll never
guess what I found!!”
There, on Amazon, was…
Mike’s fireplace!! I’m sitting
in the den by its warm,
fake fire as I write.
A dining room table…
Wendy had looked around
for one that would go with
‘our’ floor. She found a
good match! Me: “Um….
would you care if I got the
same?” (I actually think
she was flattered.) I must
say, It looks very good in
my dining room!
Bedroom decor, next
hurdle: The bedroom
remained empty, as we
took nothing along. I
looked and looked for
a bedroom set. Finally, I
found something I liked
very much in Pottery Barn.
But the headboard was
too...overwhelming. Now I like a
sleigh bed, but…I talked with an
Ethan Allen designer: “You can't
really mix woods.” I knew that!!
What to do? I cancelled the set,
bought another in Macy's (“Hope
it’s not too late to cancel!” It
wasn't.) I canceled. Then decided
I'd keep the original!
But the headboard? I Went to
visit friend Adele, who had just
moved in and decorated a place
in the ‘greens.’ Turned out I liked
her fabric hammerhead headboard
from Crate and Barrel. Turned out
it looks fine in my bedroom too!
Florence enjoys “Mike’s” fireplace! Photo courtesy of Florence Levine
The walls? We looked around at
many paintings but nothing! Until
visiting my friend Bobbi… Her
daughter had given her a special
original copy of a Thomas Kincaid
painting. And yes! You guessed, it
now sits just fine on Diane and
Alana's Stoneware wall over our
couch (courtesy of Pottery Barn),
on Wendy's floor, and near Mike’s
fireplace. To further fill up the
room, another piece I loved was
Mike’s server. We have plenty of
space: Me: “Why not get two?!”
And so we did.
I decided I should warn Mike’s
son and daughter-in-law before
they walked in. I said, “I know
you'll feel right at home here!” (I'm
sure that instead, they thought I was
a copycat. Donna??)
A year later, after my original
observation, I stood once again in
the middle of my living room
looking around. This time it had
become home. And I realized it was
a tapestry of sorts, of several friends’
and family members’ beautiful
additions to our place…and their
presence was in the room with us…
Maybe you’d like to come by and
48 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ May 2019