We all know how busy the HGTV star Genevieve Gorder is designing fabulous spaces around the world but did you know that she’s been working on her own masterpiece that she can finally call home?  For years she has lived in the top floor of a small Manhattan brownstone built in 1853 but when the unit next door became available it only seemed right to purchase it in order to combine the two.  Through many hurdles she was able to merge the spaces over an 18 month period, which for those of you who know, is a long time for what seems like a fairly simply project.  The results, which won’t surprise you are fabulous and Genevieve has gladly shared some of her photos, decorating and space saving tips for city living:


- Optimize your kitchen space by building the cabinets to the ceiling and don’t feel limited to only storing kitchen items in them

- Mount televisions on the wall. It saves tabletop space and can serve as a centerpiece for a beautiful, eclectic art display.  She chose a Sanus full motion wall mount

- Use reflective surfaces and oversized furniture wherever possible to make the space seem bigger

- In rooms that lack natural light decorate with white and add neutral accents like grey and gold to keep it bright

- Mix high end pieces with lower end finds to give the space contrast and a unique aesthetic


GG bdrm

She chose to work with whites and neutrals in her bedroom to keep the space light and bright

bebelles room

She added a fun swing and a few ethnic items in her daughters room

office 2

Her office is also neutral because she’s always working with patterns and colors which are easier to see and sift through in a white space.  As a designer you want a clean, stark room to work in

bath 2

Look at these fun tiles she chose for one of the bathrooms – some old and new combined always makes a space feel unique

tv room 4

Her living room has a beautiful, rich charcoal wall which allows her to bring in fun objects and accents to play off it.  Her mix of materials – leather, metal and natural wovens give the space a fun and eclectic, cozy feel




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The kitchen (in most cases) is by far the most used room in your house, even if it’s a studio apartment in NYC and sits on one wall of your entire living space.  You cook (or at least grab a plate to put your take-out on), you eat (if there’s room), you feed your kids, your cats, your dogs and you usually end up congregating in the kitchen when you have people over.  So if you’re spending so much time in your kitchen why not spend time making it a really comfortable and cool space that both you and your visitors can enjoy.


Create a comfy place to sit if you have the room

Don’t be afraid to add a splash of color!

Make the breakfast nook as cozy as possible

As far as city living goes, you’re usually stuck working with a limited space.  No excuse to ignore your kitchen.  In fact, you should give it more love and attention.  Check out these great small kitchens and let them inspire you to create a cooking nest of your own.

A new hanging fixture, trendy colorful runner, simple subway tiles, new appliances and simple white cabinetry with updated hardware has made this small space desireable to hang out in.  Are you asking for too many cooks in the kitchen?  Maybe, but if that’s the case, you’ve done something right!

Use your pots and pans as decoration and design

The floor is the best place to add a little punch.  If checkerboard isn’t your thing, pick a pattern that is and get out your paint brush.

Again, the floor has been given some life and the roman shade adds an element of modern chic

One of my favorite small kitchens by Ruthie Sommers.  Don’t be afraid to paint the walls in a small space a dark color.  Just remember to keep the cabinetry and trim bright and popping – like this eye catching turquoise door!

Find a fun wallpaper and paste it to just one wall

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Love NY? Bathroom for Rent!

Posted By Abby - New York | Dec 13, 2008 | 6 Comments | Category: Small Spaces

I am so excited to join Material Girls as the resident New York Interior Designer! I thought a great first post would be to give you one of the many reasons why I love NY (at least most of the time). Just yesterday a friend emailed me a “Best of Craigslist” post she came across about a 60 year-old woman who wants to rent out her bathroom. That’s right, her bathroom! Here’s a clip: “My bathroom is large. You can easily put a twin air mattress in there. I only ask that when I need to use the bathroom, you or your air mattress are not in it. This might seem a bit odd but please remember the rent is $400 and the bathroom is large.”

My friend and I both agreed that a lot of people make these things up but we would never put it past a New Yorker to be willing to pay $400 a month to live in a Manhattan bathroom! As an Interior Designer I have to give credit were credit is do, we New Yorkers can turn any space into a living space!

Kristan Cunningham recently did an amazing apartment makeover for a couple that lives in a 290 sq.ft. Studio.

Check out the video on Rachael Ray’s website.

Domino always has great spreads on well-designed small spaces; here are a few of my favorites:

Rashida Jones’ 400 sq.ft. Studio

I think what drew me to this was the bright accents in an otherwise light space. It’s the quintessential single NY gal’s apartment!

Tori Mellott’s 450 sq.ft. Apartment.

I love how she paired the neutral palette with black accents. And although she has a lot in the space it doesn’t feel overcrowded or cluttered.

And one of my all time favorites, which brings hope to all NY women living in a one-bedroom and wanting a baby (eventually!). This nursery was birthed out of a Domino staffer’s walk-in closet:

Now if I only had a walk-in closet!!

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