Arts and Culture, Astoria, Community, Living, Neighborhood
Sep 18, 2020

ASTORIA INTERIORS: TWO LIVING ROOMS ON 23RD 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 spacious (…)

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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 spacious 3BR on 23rd Ave, where three Astoria roomies— a writer, publicist and event planner— have upgraded their space (including TWO living rooms) with DIYs and ambitious home projects: stay tuned for a serious glow-up in the bathroom. 

With all of us spending more time at home, we’d love for you to submit your home for Astoria Interiors. Please fill out this questionnaire, including at least six well-lit photos and corresponding captions. All types of homes are welcome and encouraged. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.

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Name: Caroline Mullen 

Social handle: @caroline_mmullen

Location: 23rd Ave – Ditmars 

Years lived in:. 2.5 years in Astoria, 3 months in this apartment  

Size (# of bedrooms, bathrooms): 3 bed, 1 bath

Tell us a bit about you and your Astoria apartment: 

My roommates and I (there’s three of us—a writer, publicist, and event planner) moved to Astoria when we all graduated college and got jobs in New York. We originally lived off 30th Ave, and loved the area, but wanted more space and light. When we toured this apartment, it was the end of a long night of viewings and we were starting to feel pessimistic about finding a place that worked for all of us. Upon walking in, our mouths dropped open at the combination of massive square footage, amount of windows, and brand new updates in progress—we asked the broker that night when we could sign the lease. 

When we moved in, I was between jobs and had a ton of time to unpack and decorate, so the apartment came together pretty quickly. It helped too, that we had lots of decor and furniture from the old place to fill up our upgraded square footage. We call the two living spaces (seriously, we’re so lucky) Living Room A (the first room) and Living Room B (the second room). Living Room A is where the sectional and TV live, and Living Room B is home to a loveseat reading nook and two desks for when my roommates work from home. 

Describe your design aesthetic in 5 words or less

Vintage-inspired, transitional, clutter-prone. 

What’s your favorite room and why?

Living Room A! It’s amazing that we have room for a large sectional, because it makes having people over and hanging out as roommates so much easier. We have room for at least four people to comfortably watch a movie together, and that’s a serious blessing in NYC. 

This is where we watch The Bachelor, let guests crash, and vegetate on the weekends.

I love this area of the apartment, because it’s home to my favorite couch (a love seat from an amazing company called Burrow) and side table, and it’s next to the window—perfect for reading.

Most prized piece?

Definitely the antique side table next to the love seat. It’s actually a Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet (a style popular from the 30’s-50’s) that I inherited from my grandmother. It was really worse for the wear when I got it, so I sanded it completely down, re-stained and finished it, and added new legs and drawer pulls. Now, it fits in perfectly with some of the more modern pieces in the apartment (while still maintaining its vintage charm!).

Here is my most prized piece! Refinished and home to a lamp that’s way too big for it.

What part of your home are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the temporary fixes I made to the bathroom. This was the only room in the apartment that gave me slight pause about signing the lease, because its original form is truly affronting to the senses. I knew in order to make it more palatable, I would need to cover the brown floor and ceiling tile, so I covered the floor with peel & stick vinyl and the ceiling with—painstakingly applied—white contact paper. I also put up a shower curtain to hide the outdated sliding doors so no one has to see the dirty brass. While they’re obviously not permanent solutions, they make the bathroom way more livable, and we can still get our security deposit back!

Here is the terrifying bathroom before…

…and the much more subdued bathroom after.

 

I was trying to think of art to put in the bathroom, and one night in the restroom of a bar, it dawned on me: “Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work.”

Favorite local element?

The nightstand in my room is actually an IKEA dresser I found in the alley of our old apartment. It’s one of the super simple untreated 3-drawer chests, and it was in near-perfect condition. I stained the sides dark brown, painted the drawer fronts, and added new pulls to give it a new life. I love a good before and after. 

Here’s the IKEA dresser I found in the alley of my old apartment, looking pretty plain, but otherwise in good condition.

Here it is after some stain, paint, and new drawer pulls! A whole new lease on life.

Best apartment advice? 

Don’t be afraid to rearrange, invest in soft lighting, and fill it with things you love.

This is my beloved bar cart from World Market, which is usually overflowing with gifted alcohol we rarely drink (we’re wine & beer kind of people), plus lots of glasses, tools, and bar books I’ve collected.

This table is actually from Target, and was super cheap, but I get so many compliments on it! The art is a hand-painted piece my aunt brought back from Nepal, and of course the stack of books is a bunch of show-offy classics.

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