Meaghan Kimball’s walk-up apartment’s moldings have become soft focused under decades of paint, the main living space is tiled in black-and-white-checked linoleum that likely predates the Second World War, and there is hardly any closet space to speak of. In short, it’s an archetypal first New York apartment.
But for Kimball, it’s not a starter: It’s home. “I wanted a little place of my own that I really enjoyed,” says Kimball. Despite its modest 286 square feet, the studio charmed her on first sight. “The old prewar bones make it so New York to me,” she says.
Over the course of a year, Kimball has filled the apartment with a mix of old and new furnishings, some inherited and the rest purchased with an eye to scale. “I bought everything proportionate to the apartment’s size,” she notes. Since there was nothing she could do about the linoleum floor, Kimball embraced the black-and-white palette. A set of blue-and-white china from her family provides some of the only color in the space.
Unafraid to get her hands dirty, Kimball removed the existing light fixtures, installed ceiling medallions, and hardwired glam fixtures that she plans to take with her when she leaves (the apartment’s crusty old lights are stashed in the butler’s cabinet for reinstallation upon her departure). Kimball crafted a custom valance for the bathroom window with a yard of fabric, a glue gun, and some foam core. She installed floor-to-ceiling drapes that lend elegance to a less-than-picturesque view.
“A small space can still be luxurious and glamorous,” insists Kimball. But the secret lies in restraint more than anything else: Kimball has stuck to her limited color scheme and eschewed clutter of any kind. “It requires work,” she says of her style. “I edit every day.”