APT: Washington Heights + Life + Health

D16, pied-à-terre style.

I’ve been storing up a big secret for a few weeks now, and it’s finally time to let the cat out of the bag: Evan and I have decided to rent a small (400 square feet) studio apartment in Manhattan!

No, we’re not selling our house, and no, we’re not moving away from Newburgh. We’re just giving ourselves another option throughout the course of the week. Evan and I both spend a lot of time in the city, and having a little place there will allow us to do things like go to museums or concerts or dinners with friends without having to think about taking a long train ride home afterward. After five years of commuting for four hours on a daily basis, my health is suffering and I need to ease up on the stress load. (Bruno and Fritz will always be in tow, of course.)

Having a pied-à-terre in Manhattan is most definitely a luxury (though our apartment is decidedly no-frills), but as with the ongoing renovation of our house (work is currently on hiatus until February, by the way—we needed a break!), we’ll be doing everything on a supertight budget and with a lot of careful planning. And, of course, I’ll be blogging about all of it here!

I’m excited to be taking a new direction with Door Sixteen. Renovating and decorating a rental is a very different kind of undertaking than working on a house that you own—not to mention the challenge of making life work inside of much smaller place, and in one room to boot!

I hope you’ll follow along in this new space. Sunday the 27th will mark Day One of cleaning, painting, and planning. I can’t wait…

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  • Reply Lindsay December 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Ooo! Exciting! I’ve always wondered how you dealt with that long commute (I live in LA and think my 2 hours of commute per day is bad enough!). I guess you need a break from it sometimes!

    Congrats, I can’t wait to see what you do with your new space! :)

  • Reply Adam December 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Wow!! Congrats, I can’t wait to see what you are going to do with the place! I also can’t wait to see it firsthand!

  • Reply victoria December 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    congratulations! i cannot wait to see your new decor projects! :)

  • Reply zarla December 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Ooh! I can’t wait to see what you guys do! I have a rental studio space/living space and am always looking for ideas/inspiration (but not so permanent changes)! :)

  • Reply Krystle December 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Check out those wood floors! I’m seeing a ton of potential here. Cheers for a new chapter!

  • Reply Kate December 21, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    So cool! Of course we’ll all follow along. I can’t wait to see what you guys do with the rental. That’s so exciting!

  • Reply sweet fine day/Jenna December 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Nice! I’ve lived in 400 sq feet studio apartments quite a few times in Manhattan over the course of the years. Never really minded the small space. Have fun!

  • Reply cara of CGC December 21, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    exciting ~ congratulations! I’ll look forward to following along through the process ~ as a small [chicago] apartment dweller, I know I will appreciate!

  • Reply Chi_collector2 December 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Fantastic! I, too, live in a rental/ studio in Chicago and am very anxious to see your creativity put to the test in a limited space.
    Can’t wait to see the transformation unfold.
    Best wishes in the New Year!

  • Reply alex sunday December 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

    wow! this is going to be super exciting to watch. :D

  • Reply sigga December 22, 2009 at 12:09 am

    As someone who’s renting a small studio in a big city, I cannot wait for these posts!

  • Reply Annette December 22, 2009 at 12:14 am

    yea!! a new project…

  • Reply Katie December 22, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Congrats! This will be so nice for you! I can not wait to see what you do with this place. Exciting!

  • Reply Nina December 22, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Wow, that’s so exciting. As a small space renter, I look forward to how you’ll decorate it! Also, nicely done finding a place that allows dogs! It’s nearly impossible to score one here…

  • Reply LaDonna December 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I shouldn’t be so excited but I am. Can’t wait to see what you can do to a rental apartment.

  • Reply patricia katchur December 22, 2009 at 1:22 am

    uptown? downtown? midtown?

  • Reply Anna at D16 December 22, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Uptown, pk!

  • Reply Desiree Fawn December 22, 2009 at 1:37 am

    What a thrill! Happy new home!

  • Reply karly December 22, 2009 at 2:33 am

    wow!!! Congratulations! What a wonderful thing to do for yourself!!!!

  • Reply Benita December 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Ok, now I’m officialy green with envy :) I can’t wait to see it being decorated and organized.

  • Reply Kristina December 22, 2009 at 3:09 am

    That is really exiting Anna!
    And what a great idea…can’t wait to see it…

  • Reply Anna Valla December 22, 2009 at 3:46 am

    How exciting!
    What a treat I can’t wait to read/see more.

  • Reply maria December 22, 2009 at 3:46 am

    congrats- can’t wait to see the loveliness

  • Reply decor8 December 22, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Oh this is very exciting Anna. As someone who once lived in two residences simultaneously all I can say is this:



  • Reply Carrie @ CarrieCan December 22, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Good luck with the new place. I’m sure you make something wonderful of this one too!

  • Reply Jo in NZ December 22, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Include me with the other small space renters who are wayyyy excited to see what you do with the place!

  • Reply Dieuwy December 22, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Wow, congratulations! I look forward to your updates of the renovating and decorating, since I love your house. Hopefully you will give me some ideas for my own rented house, 50 sq.meters.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Fionnuala December 22, 2009 at 5:40 am

    a) Congratulations for you!
    b) Yippee! for the apartment-decorating tips for me!

  • Reply uglygirl December 22, 2009 at 5:58 am

    i am excited and jealous! Can’t wait to follow your journey. Congratulations and good luck.

  • Reply Monica December 22, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Beyond cool and the best part is that we all get to take part.
    Happy Holidays!

  • Reply thessa December 22, 2009 at 8:05 am

    I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with a rented appartment. I did the same and rented one in the big city too.

  • Reply Fila 11 December 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

    That’s great news! Congratulations Anna! Can’t wait for updates!

  • Reply lindsay December 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

    That is awesome! How exciting for the two (four) of you! I bet the doggies will love having you home :)

  • Reply Mary-Ellen December 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Congrats and best wishes!

  • Reply Jessica December 22, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Wow, that is awesome…congrats!

  • Reply Michelle December 22, 2009 at 10:41 am

    What a fantastic Christmas present Anna! Can’t wait to see further details and see the amazing things you do with it!

  • Reply Rosa December 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Goody! I can’t wait to follow you on that journey. It was my dream as a little girl growing up in NYC to have a house Up State and an apartment in NYC. Bon chance!

  • Reply DiP December 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Will the New Years Eve party be there this year??? 8^P

  • Reply DiP December 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Congrats to you guys and pups!)

  • Reply coral December 22, 2009 at 11:12 am


  • Reply alana December 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

    This is Wonderful.

  • Reply Crysti December 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Much luck on your new endeavor! I can’t wait to see your posts!

  • Reply Alicia December 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Brilliant! I would love a pied a terre in New York!! Or Singapore, too. Unfortunately, I live in California, so neither are practicable.

    I will live vicariously through your blog. Yay!!

  • Reply elisabeth December 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    My goodness! How EXCITING for you. Now, listen, I know you dont know me, but could you also spruce up my rental too, sort of as like a pro bono project?

    My guess is that some of your eames chairs are going to find a new home in your pied a tierre?

  • Reply priscilla December 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Pre War. Yay!

  • Reply jones December 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    So, so, so great. We just moved out to the DC suburbs and for a while still had our city condo (which we loved) we jokingly refered to it as our own little pied-a-terre. too bad it couldn’t last! enjoy your new space. can’t wait to see the changes…

  • Reply Eva December 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Exciting! I understand your reasoning and think as long as you guys can swing it, then doubling up the residences is a great idea! We’re going to be looking into something similar if our house ever sells because our being renovated house is not livable yet.

  • Reply jennifer in sf December 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Oh my god! Congrats. I’m cannot wait to see what you do with a rental. Seriously. So excited.

  • Reply ingrid December 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    you have magic fingers Anna. i can’t wait to see what they’ll do with what i am sure is a magical space. congratulations and good luck!

  • Reply heather December 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Congrats to you two! It looks like a great space.
    Now that you’ll sometimes be closer – maybe you’ll stop by to offer advice? ;)

  • Reply Lise December 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Sweet. Looking forward to the transformation unfolding.

  • Reply elissa December 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Wow! I’m both jealous and excited. How much fun to have a second place to decorate. You can have a little more freedom to experiment since you don’t have to worry about it “going” with your main house.

  • Reply anh-minh December 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    A pied-a-terre! I’m so jealous. I have been trying to convince my husband that we need one in San Francisco (which is only 45 minutes from our house).

    At the same time, I’m super excited to see what you do with your rental. You are always such a great source of inspiration.

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) December 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Oh Anna, I’m SO excited for you both! What an amazing difference this will make to your lives. On a selfish note, I am almost licking my lips with delight at the thought of having another whole D16 journey to enjoy.

    Enjoy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to more adventures in 2010!

    Love from Australia.

  • Reply christiana December 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Wow, that is the coolest! Looks like it has really nice bones. Can’t wait to see what you do with the place and get some renters inspiration!

  • Reply Elisabeth December 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    How exciting, looking forward to follow your journey. Wish you a sweet Christmas Anna, and the happiest new year! /Elisabeth

  • Reply FROM THE RIGHT BANK December 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    How exciting! It’s great for you guys and for us who get to see you work your magic with it. Congratulations!

  • Reply Anna at D16 December 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    DiP: No party this year. :( Too much going on right now. Next year, though, for sure!

    elisabeth: If I had the time, I definitely would. (And yes, three chairs will be coming along!!)

    heather: Pshaw! I should be asking YOU to come over and help ME! (By the way…)

    Thank you for ALL the well-wishes, everyone. This is such an exciting time for us, and I think it’s going to be fun to take on a new project. :)

  • Reply lindsay December 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I’ve already commented on this post, but couldn’t help wondering….do you plan to rent the place on the weekends a la Cup of Jo style? I’m sure you’d have a ton of takers to screen. :)

  • Reply Anna at D16 December 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    lindsay: I don’t think so, no. I’m pretty protective of my personal space, and I don’t think I’d want to deal with all of the related hassles.

  • Reply Lori December 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Wow. Best wishes!! Can’t imagine tackling something like that. I barely can keep up with one house! You both must have amazing energy!!! Wow again… :)

  • Reply momo December 22, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    How wonderfully exciting! Well done you and Evan on finding a way to make life more workable. I love that.

  • Reply Katja December 23, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Exciting news! And double the fun for us who read your blog, now we get to see two places that you are working your magic on! :)

  • Reply Euni December 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah Anna! What an awesome new step and cannot wait to see the new exciting posts! I’ll miss bumping into you guys on the train :)

  • Reply dewi December 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    How wonderful .
    Nothing in the world compares to living on the island of Manhattan!
    Best to you!

  • Reply Jessica December 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    quite a few people have already shared similar ideas on your exciting news, but I can’t help adding:

    I’ve lived in similar (or smaller!) 1-bd and studio apartments w/ my boyfriend for the last several years as a grad student at Purdue University. I think you’ll love it. The smallest apts were always my favorite. It’s so nice to just have the small footprint to keep track of, and it feels very virtuous somehow to have so few belongings to keep/ store/ rely on day-to-day. You end up being surrounded only by things that you truly love (esp. dogs and husband). Also housekeeping is a lot easier, and everyone learns to keep tidy or you won’t have room to move!

    I find with decorating, tend to be a bit monastic with your color scheme (you’ll have no trouble with this) or the room will very quickly become overwhelmed. Since it’s a second place, I would explore a different “look” than the one in your main home. You know the kind you adore in photos but just wouldn’t fit in the current aesthetic? The biggest trouble I had was finding appropriately sized furniture, but in Indiana that’s a much bigger challenge than in Manhattan. I’m so envious of all the resources you’ll have close at hand! It’s also nice to be able to get things that are a little nicer than you could if you were re-doing a entire 4,000 sq ft house, but I swoon over small luxuries.

    I am looking forward to see what you do with the place, as I’m on the hunt for refresher ideas for my own small space!

  • Reply Jessica December 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Anna- I forgot to mention in my long-winded post above that in my spare time I do a lot of space planning and designing in small spaces for friends. The main point I’d wanted to make is that if you need any help or advice from a long time studio-dweller, feel free to ask!

  • Reply Tania December 24, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Fab! That place already looks gorgeous. Love the floor detail. Looking forward to seeing what you do with a small space.

  • Reply jaime December 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Congrats! Looking forward to seeing how it shapes up! :)

  • Reply kay* December 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    don’t know how i missed this post but i can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    i have been living in my first small apartment, a rental at about 600 ft including closets, and it is a challenge to make it feel like home without making the permanent changes you would love to do.

    i’ll definitely be looking forward to this new project….and congrats! how very exciting for you.

  • Reply verhext December 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    This is the way to do it if you can swing it!!! Affordable huge house out of the city, teeny place in! Mad jealous! It’ll be perfect!

  • Reply frannie December 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    i am absolutely over the moon for you! i know how hard it’s been to take in a concert or stay late (for whatever reason) and have evan pick you up at a different station so late if you want to get home.
    now we can eat a late dinner at freeman’s and then i’ll wake you up for brunch at five points!
    it works out PERFECKLY. ;)

  • Reply tamstyles December 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Congrats. I cant wait to see what you do.

  • Reply dkzody December 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    We are doing this in San Francisco but with a few more feet (527) and it’s in super condition. Our plan is to make it our main home, though, so I am purging our 1400 sq foot house that we’ve lived in for 29 years, trying to keep just what I hold dear. I will check back to see how your adventure goes.

  • Reply Sarah December 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    wow its awesome, im renting in manhattan now and my apt looks nothing like that and im paying an arm and a leg! i’d love to know how much youre paying and the general area youre in! ill be in the market for a new apt soon!

  • Reply Christmas lights have been put away « Dkzody's Weblog December 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    […] notice a few new blogs over there on the blogroll. I found two ladies who have recently moved into apartments in New York City and are writing about it. It will be interesting to read about their adventures as we continue our […]

  • Reply dkzody December 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I noticed, somewhere in all those comments, a question about subletting the place for weekends…we had thought about doing that because that is how we found our wonderful building in the first place; however our lease agreement has a huge NO SUBLET page so it’s a moot point. I can only guess that a new owner made some changes and no longer allows such behavior.

  • Reply Ryan January 4, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I’m really excited about this apartment project of yours! I’m really fascinated (probably because I’m in the same situation) about the rental renovation side of things, so it’ll be interesting to see how someone else tackles the situation.

    good luck!

  • Reply cuppy January 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    OK … forget the last comment! I just went scrolling back to see if I had missed an announcement & I had.



  • Reply nath January 26, 2010 at 6:14 am

    wow, your energy and creativeness is astounding. i cast my weary eyes around my house and wish that i could make it more D16 in a heartbeat. good luck on the new project.

  • Reply william March 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

    just discovered ur site. very nice indeed. i lived in washington heights for 18 years (bennett ave near 181st. a smallish apt, maybe 600 square feet). it wasn’t so hip then, but i loved it just the same. the pics of the floors in ur apt. brought back memories. my rent for a 1 bedroom in the 1970’s was like 500.00 dollars. can’t wait to visit wash. heights again to see how it’s changed. i hope it doesn’t get too too chic or hip.

  • Reply jp April 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    hi there! may i ask you guys how you found this apt? is there a pied a terre focused website?

  • Reply Anna at D16 April 20, 2010 at 12:29 am

    @jp: It’s a standard NYC studio apartment — I’ve just been calling it a pied-a-terre since it’s not our primary residence. We used a broker, but there are lots of similar places on Craigslist.

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