The Studio

Do you guys want to see some of the real estate projects I’ve done in New York?  I kind of have a thing for renovating.  Here’s my first renovation.  This was my very first home in New York, fondly called “The Studio.” 

I bought it for $75,000 in 2001.  YES, $75,000!!!  In North Slope!  And yes, that included the tiniest fridge you’d ever see.   It was the cheapest piece of real estate anyone had ever heard of.  And also the s-m-a-l-l-e-s-t.  It was a mere 282 square feet.  Think a one-car garage.  You could scramble some eggs, go pee, pick out an outfit to wear, and answer the front door all while standing in the same spot 🙂

I bought it when I was single and alone in New York (this was before my first marriage).  The real estate agent thought I was too young to be buying real estate around here (age 24).  But I always had a crazy streak in me to buy a place and start busting out walls.  I had many, many reasons to leave NY (I had an AZ boyfriend of 5 years begging me to marry him, 9/11 had just happened, & I was then also unemployed – the co. I was working for folded.)

But, I just had a gut feeling that I should stay in NY and make it my home for awhile.  It was one of those things where I felt it was a suggestion from God, telling me to stay.  I didn’t even know if I believed in God.  But I wanted to.  And so I went against a lot of odds, and stayed.  And it turned out to be one of the greatest decisions of my entire life.  I have truly grown up in this town.  Sometimes I can’t even believe my own life and the things I have experienced here.  And the dear friends that used to pack into The Studio for dinner parties remain my dearest lifelong friends. 

This is what it looked like when I made an offer on it……..



That kitchen cost me about $350.  The cupboards and sink base were like $150 (they were from an industrial metal joint in deep Brooklyn that makes cupboards for garages and what not.)  The hutch on the right was really a bare wood bookshelf, which I had been given to me by someone for free.  It was cut half way on the top so that a counter space was created, painted, and completed with a tiled “counter” surface & lights underneath the shelf.  That tiny counter made that kitchen.  The original stove was “restored” meaning cleaned for days, by me.  And the chrome parts were spray painted back on.  The shelf above the sink was from Ikea, lights were attached beneath the cupboards.  The chopping board cart on the left was from Ikea (it housed a microwave, below).  Pots and pans hung above it on a rod from Ikea.  The fridge was original.  And the floor was some gray rubber matting from Canal Rubber.  The paint was by Ralph Lauren.




The bathroom was done with fixtures that I was not necessarily completely fond of, but they were white and cheap and the simplest designs Home Depot had to offer at 3:00 am (with a rented CC Courier commercial van awaiting in the parking lot.)

The loft bed was awesome.  The thing was built from scratch.  It had a curtained clothing section on the right side and a cubby with a door on the far left side (useful for luggage and a sewing machine.)  I love the ladder, which worked out great.  A closet was ripped out to make space for the loft bed, so some replacement metal ceiling tiles were found here.



The garden out front was a joy.  This picture was taken more recently as the new owner has cared for that little space, but the Japanese Maple Tree that I planted is still there!

After living in The Studio for a year, then renting it for 2 years, I sold it to a great guy.  I was so glad to sell it to him because he loved The Studio as much as I did.  Turns out we had quite an ordeal together prior to the closing.  My real estate attorney committed suicide!  And before doing so, he cleaned out his escrow account (containing my $30k down payment among millions of other peoples’ dollars)!  It was a sad ordeal & it shocked everyone, as he really had a great reputation.  Luckily, a year after the closing, I got my $30k back because these guys had my back (I recommend them if you ever get screwed by an attorney in NY).  I am still friends with the new homeowner of The Studio and we seem to run into each other in the Slope quite often.  He even came to our little wedding party on our roof!  He entered his apartment into the 2011 Annual Smallest/Coolest Home Contest for Apartment Therapy.  Here is my old kitchen.   So fun to see what he did with it.  And glad to see those cupboards are still standing (I guess the gobs of liquid nails we gooped behind them did the trick. 🙂

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  1. Erin November 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    oh! the studio. so many great memories in that place. i love seeing the pictures. It makes me miss it though. and wow, what a dump that place was before. I don't think I ever saw it in it's original state.

  2. Amanda Blair November 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    It's crazy that tiny little space costed so much. Also, that such a young woman could buy it…go you! I would LOVE, like really, truly love, to live on my own here but rent is so expensive! I wouldn't even mind living some place like this because it's so cute and cozy!

  3. -Maria- November 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    i love this- so fun to see!

  4. mara November 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Erin, I'll never forget you standing on a ladder in the kitchen, pregnant (!), helping us clean up after the fire. If anyone else is reading, yes, the place caught fire after the renovation! The building's boiler was just underneath the apartment and it had some debris in there which caught fire. 9 friends came over and spent ALL DAY cleaning up black soot that had covered that pristine place from head to toe. A wall behind the loft bed had to be replaced & everything was repainted. But it was new again before too long. Luckily, our friends Tom & Alysha were out of town for 2 wks so we lived in their place.

  5. Amanda Greer November 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Wow! The transformation is amazing! Show us pictures of your current place?

  6. mara November 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Amanda – pictures of our current home will be coming!

  7. Andi November 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Talk about a walk down memory lane! I remember falling asleep on your couch almost every night after my flower shop job while Mark and the rest of you talked until the wee hours of the night. So fun. Miss you!

  8. Stephanie February 23, 2012 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Catching up on some older posts…had no idea you were in the renovation business as well 🙂 Loved pouring over these images and seeing the changes you made!

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