Arts and Culture, Astoria, Community, Living
May 22, 2020

Astoria Interiors: A Cat Kingdom On 31st Ave

Welcome back to another edition of Astoria Interiors, a series where we go inside neighborhood homes to showcase design on the most local level. Today we head inside a creative (…)

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Welcome back to another edition of Astoria Interiors, a series where we go inside neighborhood homes to showcase design on the most local level. Today we head inside a creative director’s feline fiefdom on 31st Ave, where cats Gnocchi and Gene reign supreme (seriously, peep those custom portraits above the couch). After five years as home-owners, Sydney and her hubs have showed this apartment some serious TLC (sometimes bathroom tile says it all), but are moving out east to be closer to family. That means this pad is now on the market— and we’re seriously considering dropping a down payment

With all of us spending more time at home (please stay home!) we’d love for you to submit your home for Astoria Interiors. Please send a selection of six well-lit photos (including captions!) and a series of responses to these questions. All types of homes are welcome and encouraged. Send your submission to dore.anna@gmail.com with “Astoria Interiors” in the subject line. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.

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Name: Sydney Levin-Antonelli 

Social handle: @ravioliandsydney 

Location:  31st Ave and 29th Street 

Years lived in: 5 years 

Size (# of bedrooms, bathrooms): 900 square feet; 1 bed, 1 bath, 2 cats with massive egos. 

Tell us a bit about you and your Astoria apartment:  

Hi! I’m Sydney. I’m a Creative Director at the New York Times’ T Brand Studio, but I’m currently out on maternity leave. (Another way to phrase that: “I have a new 3-month-old boss named Arlo who has 0 regard for work/life balance, is a very small tyrant and breaks major HR protocol by demanding all my money). Our apartment still has a grown-up, clean and eclectic vibe, but our new boss is slowly encroaching. His design taste is…a little more garish. And since he can only see black and white, he has yet to compliment us on much of the color pallet. 

Describe your design aesthetic in 5 words or less: 

Chic, modern, cozy, eclectic 

What’s your favorite room and why? 

We renovated the entire apartment so I really love every nook and cranny (especially the built-in shelves in the foyer and the arches that feel so European). The bedroom is definitely my oasis. I refused to listen to the contractor who said hanging pineapple wallpaper was crazy. Pineapples are a sort of inside-joke with my husband and I — we also have them tattooed on our arms, because we really commit to a theme — and ain’t nobody going to tell me where I can put them. (This feels like a weird hill to die on, but here we are). The gallery wall above our bed has photos from our wedding and pieces we’ve been given by our super talented and thoughtful friends, so it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to be surrounded by love. 

No room is complete without pineapple wallpaper and a bed sloth.

Most prized piece? 

So, our cats are the first loves of our lives. We are nuts for them. People say that a lot … but do they then commission incredibly talented Astoria artist Jason Heuer to come over, take in the cats’ auras and then make huge, custom, avant-garde portraits with fancy stuff like gold leaf? They hang over our couch and are a big topic of conversation. Since one commemorates our dearly beloved and departed Ravioli, they are extra meaningful. 

Cat portrait alert! We also turned a Louise Gray quilt into a wall hanging that brings our color scheme together.

What part of your home are you most proud of? 

We gut renovated the kitchen and bathroom, which were quite literally crumbling. I love the little details like gold fixtures,  breakfast bar and farmhouse sink in the kitchen and black hexagon floor tiling in the bathroom. It was a lot of work, but I’m really proud that we invested in making our space somewhere we really look forward to coming home to. 

More specifically, I really love the ombré macrame piece hanging in the foyer. We wanted to figure out a simple way to fill a large space and I felt like the room was already pretty busy, so something serene with a natural vibe would work best. I found her on Amazon and really wasn’t sure what the quality would be, but she’s a gem! Of all the odds and ends in our apartment, it’s probably the item friends most ask about (and buy for themselves). 

Dramatic bathroom party. A black accent wall and black tiles is grown-up sexy goth, in my opinion.

Love the cut-outs, where I display rotating chachkas based on the season/my mood. Also featuring the famed macrame piece and a rocking chair that turns the foyer into a reading nook.

Favorite local element?

The American Sign Language alphabet and pasta pictures we have framed in the kitchen. They’re actually pieces of wrapping paper we found at Lockwood, and they each have special meaning. I studied ASL in college and one of our cats, Gene, is deaf. The pasta image pays homage to my deep and abiding love for noodles and our  other cat, Gnocchi. (Writing this out makes me feel like our love of our cats is … a thing.)

The hippest breakfast spot in Astoria, that I have affectionately named “The Ledge.” We seat two people at a time, reservations required.

Best apartment advice?

I think Coco Chanel’s famous advice also applies to decor: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” In our apartment’s case, before you enter the house with something new, think about whether it’s going to add to the vibe of the space or junk it up and make you feel cramped.

Also, cats. 

The album cover for Gnocchi and Gene’s rap LP.

Gene.

Gnocchi.

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