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A Harlem Rental that Fearlessly Embraces the Color Wheel

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Harlem Rental that Fearlessly Embraces the Color Wheel | Design*Sponge
When Guyana-born was transferred from Chicago to New York City in 2009, she made a contingency plan to return on the first plane if things didn’t work out. To her surprise, it took no more than two months before she was hooked — instead of planning to move back to Chicago, she was already making plans to stay in New York for the long haul.

Minetta’s husband, , a personal trainer, has also had a somewhat unexpected love affair with New York. Originally from Turkey, Ozgur moved to the city three years ago, after completing a government contract in Turkmenistan. He initially returned to Turkey but soon realized that he was longing for a bigger adventure. Having visited New York several times before, Ozgur knew that living there would be an experience of a lifetime. He sold his apartment and all of his belongings, and took a leap of faith. Within three months, Ozgur met Minetta — three months after that, the two married and have been going strong for three years. “I think maybe ‘3’ should be our lucky number,” Minetta laughs.

Shortly after the two met, Ozgur moved into Minetta’s two-bedroom apartment in Harlem, which she has rented ever since moving to the city. Minetta originally chose the area for its comparatively slower pace and value-for-money rentals. The apartment itself was ideal thanks to its layout with bedrooms at the rear, more than ample closet space and light shining through from windows at either end. Over the years, Minetta’s decorating style has changed tremendously. Many of the pieces she brought with her from Chicago have been replaced, and safer design choices have made way for bold accents, unique wallpaper and fearless experimentation with textures and colors. At the time Ozgur moved in, Minetta had already developed a good sense of the design direction for the apartment. “Luckily he’s been a real trooper in letting me take the reins of the design,” Minetta explains, “but we’ve also been able to compromise, which is why there are Legos prominently featured as decoration in our apartment!”

Until recently, Minetta was a sales manager for a major cosmetics company. An unexpected layoff caused her to re-examine her career. “I’ve always enjoyed decorating and was constantly helping friends and family pull their homes together. There was always a need in me to turn my creative endeavors into my full-time job, but the timing never seemed right,” Minetta shares. Realizing that she would never have full control over things that happen in any job, Minetta decided it was time to turn her passion into a career, and more importantly, work hard to create her own future rather than rely on someone else. Although the process has been challenging and a big learning curve, Minetta hasn’t regretted a single minute of it. Her home has served as the perfect canvas for experimenting and honing her skills as a decorator. Now, the four-story walk-up is a cheerful representation of Minetta’s style and creative mindset. What started off with upholstering a sofa in green velvet has taken Minetta on a decorating journey that has involved everything from wallpapering and painting each nook and cranny, to rearranging and styling her favorite pieces. “I’ve learned […] that pretty much anything can be reversed, so why not take a chance?” —

Photography by Minetta Archer /

Image above: Minetta tried to maximize functionality in the relatively small living area by creating different zones — lounging, watching TV, working, eating, dining and entertaining can all be done in different areas of the same space.

A Harlem Rental that Fearlessly Embraces the Color Wheel | Design*Sponge
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There is no shortage of rich colors and lush textures in Minetta and Ozgur’s living room. “The I had recovered in green velvet started the color revolution in the apartment. Since then, we’ve fully embraced the color wheel,” Minetta shares.

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Minetta and Ozgur in their living room. The couple wanted to create a space that is stylish, happy and welcoming to friends and family.

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The bookcases, painted a fiery red, serve as valuable storage in the living room. The gold grasscloth that Minetta added to the backs of the shelves adds a hint of glamour while highlighting some of the couple’s favorite items.

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As the apartment opens right onto the living area, Minetta and Ozgur wanted to ensure that there was a natural flow, and that each space transitioned naturally into the other. A vintage rug from Morocco, placed on top of a larger jute rug, adds interest and highlights the brass coffee table.

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“Keeping a well stocked bar is essential for entertaining.” Minetta went through several console tables before finding this upholstered option.

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As Minetta and Ozgur live in a rental, renovating the kitchen to their taste is not in the cards. To spruce up the space, Minetta has made cosmetic changes. “I went really bold with the green cabinet color and have not regretted it at all. It’s such a happy vibe, I honestly enjoy cooking more,” she says.

 

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The lone window in the kitchen looks out to a brick wall. To compensate for the lack of a nicer view, Minetta created a vignette worth looking at. She also added subtly patterned wallpaper, a neutral counterpoint to the green kitchen cabinets.

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The compact bedroom is Minetta’s favorite space in the apartment. The subtle metallic pattern of the vintage wallpaper creates beautiful movement in the room.

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With three east-facing windows, the bedroom gets plenty of natural light. Brass details, luxurious velvet, and the rich colors that define Minetta’s personal style, make this space a stylish retreat from hectic city life.

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“Though the term may be somewhat overused, [our bedroom] does very much feel like a jewel box to me,” Minetta says. Her nightstand is filled with original art found on eBay and Etsy, along with candles and favorite accessories to set the mood.

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A vintage dressing bench that Minetta had recovered in velvet fits perfectly in the nook by the window.

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The finishes in the small bathroom aren’t what Minetta or Ozgur would choose. Since they can’t redo it, they have tried to make the most with what they have. “The custom shower curtain and art help to make the space feel more homey,” Minetta adds.

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Every room, including the bathroom, is filled with plenty of color and fresh flowers whenever possible.

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Minetta and Ozgur recently redecorated their second bedroom to better welcome guests in style. Minetta wanted to ensure that the space tied in with the other rooms in the home, and jumped on the opportunity to use  that she had been eyeing for a while.

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The was the jumping off point for the guest bedroom design. “Layering in the rest of the elements in the room just fell into place after that,” Minetta explains.

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“Guests are welcomed with necessities and some extra touches to ensure a pleasant stay.”

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Global details have been included in the guest bedroom decor. “We enjoy filling our home with things that are culturally significant,” Minetta explains. “We always bring back meaningful souvenirs […] from each trip to display in our home.”

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“What I most love about my home is learning to fearlessly decorate every square inch!” — Minetta

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Floor plan of Minetta and Ozgur’s 730-square-foot Harlem apartment.

SOURCE LIST

Living room

Sofa – Reupholstered (fabric from )
Suzani Pillows – Carpet – Vintage (Purchased in Morocco)
Coffee Table – Crate and Barrel via Craigslist
Credenza – Salvation Army, Hardware Lews
Lamps – Overstock.com
Artwork-DIY, Minetta
Dining Table – DIY (Custom Marble, Hairpin Legs from eBay)
Dining Chairs – Grasscloth Desk – DIY
Mirrors – Wayfair
Bookcase – Custom, Painted Console Table used as Bar –

Kitchen

Wallpaper –
Cabinets – Custom Blend by 
Roman Shade – DIY
Red Bamboo Jars – HomeGoods/TJMaxx

Bedroom

Headboard – DIY
Dresser – Vintage, purchased from in Chicago
Lamps – Vintage from eBay, Shades DIY
Velvet Bench – Vintage Reupholstered
Wallpaper – eBay
Painting Above Bed – DIY
Cowhide Bench – Vintage Reupholstered, Cowhide from eBay
Curtains – Custom, Fabric from )
Round Mirror – DIY
Artwork – eBay and Etsy
Bedside Table – Light Fixture – Ceiling – Cloth of Gold by

Bathroom

Wallpaper –
Shower Curtain – DIY, Fabric.com
Art – DIY

Guest Bedroom

Wallpaper –
Curtains – DIY, fabric
Bedside Table & Lamp – West Elm
Bedding/Pillows – DIY,

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Comments

    • Caroline, Thanks. I wish more people would embrace wallpaper.
      There are so many wonderful options these days.

  • Dear Minetta & Ozgur your home is beautiful, warm and inviting. I love your choice of wall paper that gorgeous sofa and your layering of rugs. Lots of colour and textures creating a rich combination that is inspiring.

    I am green with envy!

  • Thanks to perfect, and sometimes unexpected, colour combinations and all the gold touches this home really does glow. So many brilliant idea. It really is inspiring.

  • I just love this – the living room is like a beautiful fall day you can stay in all year. Everything is so harmonious and balanced.

  • Love, love, love this space! I’ve seen it before on other sites and I always swoon. So timeless and elegant but bold. Minetta, you’ve got an eye!

  • I am in love with this space! The beautiful wallpapers and paint colors (master bedroom ceiling,kitchen cabinets,etc)and all of the collections!You have turned an ordinary apartment into a fabulous jewel box! Do you have a blog???

    • Madlyn,
      Thank you for the kind words. Decorating our home really was a labor of love.
      I am working on my website and hope to launch early 2018.

  • Beautiful spaces…and I absolutely adore the green of the velvet sofa and the kitchen cabinets. And the oval vanity/dresser in the guest room is fabulous.

  • I’m so inspired by this house tour. The use of color & print is inspired and feels really personal without being cluttered or busy. I struggle with having the courage to mix prints and colors, so hopefully this will give me a boost in the right direction.

    • Samantha,

      Thank you for your lovely sentiments. I recommend that everyone experiment with color and pattern.
      I find it’s those seemingly crazy decisions that in the end you love the most. You wont regret stepping out of your comfort zone:)

  • So stunning. I love every inch! I also can’t wait to reupholster our Room and Board couch in green velvet!

  • Wow! I have Always been a fan of color but your way of blending color with texture and wallpaper is fierce! Such attention to every detail. Thanks for sharing. Do you blog?
    Tara

  • wow this is a beautiful place.. all the colors.. would you tell us the color of your walls in the living room.. I love that warm grey? I think? thanks for sharing your beautiful place

    • Thank you Rebecca. All of the walls in the apartment are derived from Behr Creek Bend.
      It’s a warm gray that can be moody depending on the light in the space. We took it down w/20% white.

  • I love the unusual, warm and beautiful color palette, everything goes so well together. Congratulations on a gorgeous home, especially since you had limitations due to it being a rental. It is “stylishly cozy”.

  • I love everything about this apartment, so much warmth, attention to detail and sooo stylish. Not to mention fearless, love the layering and colour mixing, perfect! 10/10

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