Claire, on moving

“Living in NYC had always made me feel like I was in the middle of something extraordinary…”

I interviewed Claire, my best friend from college, on leaving New York City and how she cultivates coziness in her new Yonkers apartment.

What made you decide to move out of the city?

When lockdowns first began in March, my boyfriend Natt and I moved into his mom’s house up in the “country” outside NYC. We missed our little apartment in NYC, but a 500 square foot studio was not going to cut it for two adults working from home, cooking 3 meals a day, and daring to have slightly different sleep schedules. The months began to fly by with seemingly no end to COVID in sight, and we decided that living at Natt’s mom’s lovely abode would need to come to an end. However, we had gotten used to the suburban lifestyle of evening walks around the neighborhood, driving a car (GASP) to the grocery store, and not falling asleep to the sound of garbage trucks and ambulance sirens. We both couldn’t imagine moving back to our tiny apartment during such a volatile time, but still wanted the city to be very much part of our lives. We settled on Yonkers–a city right on the Hudson River that offered us access to refreshing outdoor walks and cute towns, but was also just a 40 minute train ride to Grand Central Station. Within a week of considering to move out of NYC, we had signed a new lease in Yonkers and were preparing to relocate.

How are you feeling about your move?

I’ve had the same answer to this question since Day 1–it’s great for our situation at the moment, and I feel very lucky to have the flexibility to have been able to move. Our apartment in Yonkers is big and brand new and offers amenities we would have never dreamed of having. We’ve got lovely neighbors and a cute little town full of small restaurants and mom-and-pop shops. With that being said, I miss the city dearly. Living in NYC had always made me feel like I was in the middle of something extraordinary, whether I was just sitting in my apartment eating Chinese food and binging The Crown, or seeing an avant-garde production of Akhnaten at the Metropolitan Opera. NYC is truly a magical place. We’ll be back soon. 🙂

What was your desired aesthetic for the new digs?

I think that Natt and I would agree that our favorite part of moving is DECORATING! There is nothing better than finding a new space and truly making it a cozy home. To me right now, that means warm colors, fluffy rugs, and lots of plants. Think mid-century modern meets modern cowboy chic. Did I just say modern cowboy chic? Ugh. My mantra for decorating the apartment has been “When in doubt, hang a mirror and a plant.” It’s been going pretty well so far… says the crazy plant lady. 😉

How do you cultivate coziness in your home?

COVID lockdowns have made home coziness an ultimate priority. I’ve followed a few principles:

  1. Your bed is your haven. Invest in making your bed a happy place. Whether that’s through a luxurious sheet set, comfy pillows, or the perfect mattress.
  2. Incorporate nature into your home. I do this by putting all different types of plants around the house. I like to make the space look more natural by hanging some, planting some in large ceramic planters on the ground, or putting them in traditional vases on surfaces throughout the apartment.
  3. Don’t be afraid to adjust the temperature to make yourself comfortable. I’m known to raise the temperature in the apartment to 80 degrees some days when I just need that extra warm hug from the space.
  4. When you have visitors, create welcoming signals in the space. I know that’s easier said than done, but think of things like having comfy places to sit, different food/beverage options out and available, and having lots of little things spotting shelves and surfaces (candles, figurines, books, etc.) I think that this is a nonverbal cue to your visitor that they are at a home meant for enjoyment, rather than a museum meant for looking only.

What are some of your favorite parts about your new home? (i.e. a physical object or motif)

I really love the flow of the apartment. When decorating the space, I wanted to make sure that each room felt different but also worked with the others. I did this by sticking to a warm color palette, incorporating plants into each space, and hanging mirrors to capture wall art at different angles. Natt is a photographer, so it wasn’t hard for us to find beautiful (I’m biased) and meaningful art for our home. One of my favorite pieces in the apartment is a pitcher I purchased from a ceramic artist in Minnesota. The pitcher itself is quite large and bulbous and shows a “Staffordshire-inspired” blurred motif on the front which represents the forgotten stories of industrial workers in Staffordshire, England. I just love the dichotomy of a dainty feminine style being used to represent rough, tough stories of English industrial workers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. I use the pitcher as a vase, and tend to fill it with feminine, small flowers. I just love the aesthetic. This week, I went with a full bouquet of pink and white spray roses. I’m thinking just a few big, white lilies next week…

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