Getting around a small space: I think lighter, neutral colors are easier in small New York apartments. The key is to choose the carpet and matting first – that’s the basis for everything. Then the curtains, and lastly the upholstery. The floor typically should be a bit lighter than the upholstery and the curtains – it makes things look lighter, airier, gives you more volume. With fabrics, get variety in the texture rather than in the color. Most products from Rogers and Goffigon (979 Third Avenue, Suite 1718; 212-888-3242) are great; they have a terrific texture palette.
Furniture worth investing in: I’m always on the lookout for a few designers: Pierre Guariche (which is not easy to find in New York), Arne Jacobsen, Jean Prouve, Florence Knoll. Too much of this kind of thing is not a good idea, however – it can get themey. I like old pieces that are tattered a bit. I always worry about a showroom sort of look.
Storage: Everyone comes with a lot of junk, but it should be concealed architecturally, in closets and built-in cabinets; otherwise, you end up with a lot of pieces of furniture, like bookshelves. There’s a very inexpensive wire-basket system called Alfe that you can buy at Bed Bath & Beyond. They work great and can be fit inside any closet.
Fixtures: The Lower East Side has many good sources for glass and people working in metal. 200 Supply Corp. (200 Bowery; 212-925-1017) is a terrific restaurant-supply company that specializes in plumbing fixtures, industrial kitchens. You just have to be patient. You have to dig through piles of stuff to get to that piece. Design Source (115 Bowery; 212-274-0022) is a great company for hardware. The big sheets of laminated glass were from East Side Glass on Chrystie Street (201 Chrystie Street; 212-674-8355); the windows came from Skyline Windows (625 West 130th Street; 212-419-3000).
Paint: I buy paint at Janovic Plaza – it carries everything. I usually go for gloss lacquer, which has a thick, shiny finish.