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…

83 comments
  1. LindsayDec 21, 200911:28 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! :)

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  2. AdamDec 21, 200911:30 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!

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  3. victoriaDec 21, 200911:34 pm

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

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  4. zarlaDec 21, 200911:34 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)! :)

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  5. KrystleDec 21, 200911:46 pm

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

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  6. KateDec 21, 200911:47 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!

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  7. sweet fine day/JennaDec 21, 200911:48 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!

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  8. cara of CGCDec 21, 200911:50 pm

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

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  9. Chi_collector2Dec 21, 200911:54 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!

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  10. alex sundayDec 22, 200912:04 am

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

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  11. siggaDec 22, 200912:09 am

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

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  12. AnnetteDec 22, 200912:14 am

    yea!! a new project…

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  13. KatieDec 22, 200912:24 am

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

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  14. NinaDec 22, 200912:41 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…

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  15. LaDonnaDec 22, 200912:53 am

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

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  16. patricia katchurDec 22, 20091:22 am

    uptown? downtown? midtown?

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  17. Anna at D16Dec 22, 20091:33 am

    Uptown, pk!

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  18. Desiree FawnDec 22, 20091:37 am

    What a thrill! Happy new home!

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  19. karlyDec 22, 20092:33 am

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

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  20. BenitaDec 22, 20093:00 am

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

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  21. KristinaDec 22, 20093:09 am

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

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  22. Anna VallaDec 22, 20093:46 am

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

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  23. mariaDec 22, 20093:46 am

    congrats- can’t wait to see the loveliness

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  24. decor8Dec 22, 20094:10 am

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

    YOU WILL LOVE IT.

    Enjoy!!!!

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  25. Carrie @ CarrieCanDec 22, 20094:12 am

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

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  26. Jo in NZDec 22, 20094:14 am

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

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  27. DieuwyDec 22, 20094:38 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!

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  28. FionnualaDec 22, 20095:40 am

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

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  29. uglygirlDec 22, 20095:58 am

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

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  30. MonicaDec 22, 20096:38 am

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

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  31. thessaDec 22, 20098:05 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.

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  32. Fila 11Dec 22, 20099:00 am

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

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  33. lindsayDec 22, 20099:21 am

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

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  34. Mary-EllenDec 22, 20099:37 am

    Congrats and best wishes!

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  35. JessicaDec 22, 20099:48 am

    Wow, that is awesome…congrats!

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  36. MichelleDec 22, 200910:41 am

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

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  37. RosaDec 22, 200910:47 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!

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  38. DiPDec 22, 200910:54 am

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

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  39. DiPDec 22, 200910:54 am

    (ps…
    Congrats to you guys and pups!)

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  40. coralDec 22, 200911:12 am

    wow..fantastic..congrats!

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  41. alanaDec 22, 200911:33 am

    This is Wonderful.

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  42. CrystiDec 22, 200911:44 am

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

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  43. AliciaDec 22, 200912:22 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!!

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  44. elisabethDec 22, 200912:29 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?

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  45. priscillaDec 22, 200912:58 pm

    Pre War. Yay!

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  46. jonesDec 22, 200912:59 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…

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  47. EvaDec 22, 20091:25 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.

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  48. jennifer in sfDec 22, 20091:55 pm

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

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  49. ingridDec 22, 20092:18 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!

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  50. heatherDec 22, 20092:27 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? ;)

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  51. LiseDec 22, 20092:31 pm

    Sweet. Looking forward to the transformation unfolding.

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  52. elissaDec 22, 20092:44 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.

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  53. anh-minhDec 22, 20092:51 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.

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  54. Barb F (Australia)Dec 22, 20094:09 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.
    x

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  55. christianaDec 22, 20094:09 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!

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  56. ElisabethDec 22, 20095:55 pm

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

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  57. FROM THE RIGHT BANKDec 22, 20096:20 pm

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

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  58. Anna at D16Dec 22, 20096:24 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. :)

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  59. lindsayDec 22, 20098:16 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. :)

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  60. Anna at D16Dec 22, 20098:31 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.

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  61. LoriDec 22, 200910:04 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… :)

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  62. momoDec 22, 200911:30 pm

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

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  63. KatjaDec 23, 20097:09 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! :)

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  64. EuniDec 23, 20097:33 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 :)

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  65. dewiDec 23, 20098:19 pm

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

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  66. JessicaDec 23, 20099:38 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!

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  67. JessicaDec 23, 200910:26 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!

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  68. TaniaDec 24, 200912:18 am

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

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  69. jaimeDec 24, 200911:21 am

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

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  70. kay*Dec 24, 20096:57 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.

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  71. verhextDec 24, 20097:29 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!

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  72. frannieDec 26, 20091:45 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. ;)
    xx

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  73. tamstylesDec 28, 200912:37 pm

    Congrats. I cant wait to see what you do.

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  74. dkzodyDec 28, 20091:41 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.

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  75. SarahDec 28, 20092:35 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!

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  76. [...] 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 [...]

  77. dkzodyDec 29, 20093:53 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.

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  78. RyanJan 4, 20105:53 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!

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  79. cuppyJan 21, 20103:02 pm

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

    CONGRATULATIONS !!!!

    xoxoxo

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  80. nathJan 26, 20106:14 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.

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  81. williamMar 21, 201010:09 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.

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  82. jpApr 19, 201011:56 pm

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

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  83. Anna at D16Apr 20, 201012:29 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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