Art, Arts and Culture, Astoria, Living, Shopping
May 08, 2020

Astoria Interiors: A Prized Piano On 30th 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 well-traveled (…)

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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 well-traveled one-bedroom on 35th St, where an Astoria adventurer has collected art and artifacts from all over the world. But Emily has also found history right here at home—her living room features a century-old piano, passed down through Astoria artists’ homes over the years. 

With all of us spending more time at home (please stay home!) we’d love for you to submit your pad 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 with “Astoria Interiors” in the subject line. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.


Name: Emily Kistner

Social handle: @ekist 

Location: 30th Ave & 35th Street

Years lived in: 3

Size (# of bedrooms, bathrooms):  1 bed, 1 bath

Tell us a bit about you and your Astoria apartment: My name is Emily, and I’ve lived in Astoria for 6 years. I’m an avid solo traveler, very proud aunt to 2-year-old Abigail, and I just started training for my second marathon. My design style is a combination of mid-century furniture with 70s boho design elements.

The gallery wall in the living room includes some art from my travels. I try to find a little hand painted canvas on every trip. My living room has art from France, Greece, The Netherlands, Peru, Cambodia, and China. (And a sweet little hand stitched heart over a vintage map of Queens is in there thanks to @sadieandjune from Astoria Bookshop).

Describe your design aesthetic in 5 words or less: Mid-century, bohemian

I love my Frame TV – goes into art mode when it’s turned off and solves one of my design pet peeves of having a big black box in the center of the room.

What’s your favorite room and why? My living room. It’s spacious, serene, and a great room for hosting neighborhood get-togethers, which I like to do often.

Living room – almost always has a candle burning in here somewhere because I have a severe Lockwood addiction. (not sorry).

Favorite local element? My piano! It was gifted to me and, legend has it, has been passed around several Astoria artists’ homes over the years. It’s over 100 years old.

The piano is from Ropelt & Sons, made in Rochester, NY in 1892. I haven’t found a mention of Ropelt & Sons after 1929, so it’s suspected that the company went out of business during the Great Depression. It’s truly a miracle it still plays!

Most prized piece? That quirky yellow lamp in my room. I saw it on some design site and became obsessed. Turns out it was only being sold in the UK so I ordered it, shipped it to a friend in London, and had her mail it to me. I have to plug it in with a converter and had to go to a specialty lightbulb shop on the Upper East Side for the right bulbs… ha! Every time I turn it on I have to laugh a little.

Aforementioned quirky yellow lamp! And my cross-stitch travel map. Had to do a lot of searching to find one with Antarctica on it – my #1 bucket list travel destination.

What part of your home are you most proud of? I’m especially proud of the macrame piece in my bedroom. I wanted a large wall hanging and at the time, macrame hadn’t really caught on yet and was very expensive. So I decided to make my own! I bought a spool of rope from Home Depot and found that stick outside my apartment on 33rd Street in Astoria.

My bedroom is the sunniest room in the house and has a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline out the window (Astoria, for the win!)

My handmade macrame wall hanging, one of my favorite pieces in the apartment.

I love this shell hanging because it’s so retro and reminds me of my grandmother. She had one just like this in her home and I thought it was the coolest thing. You don’t see them that often.

Best apartment advice? Your home should feel like a safe space. Even as a renter you should paint the walls, hang art. I’ve lived in NYC for over a decade, and having a comfortable place that feels like yours makes a big difference in a sometimes chaotic lifestyle.

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