Lisa's Artistic Time Capsule

Lisa's Artistic Time Capsule

Jill Slater
Mar 30, 2011

Designer: Lisa Zador
Location: West Village, Manhattan
Size: 400 square foot, two-bedroom
Years Lived In:: 20

Lisa has grown into the person she is today — over the past 20 years — in the same apartment. While it started out as a cramped share amongst college friends, replete with milk crates and plywood desks, it started to mature when Lisa took over the lease.

Once Lisa's name stood alone on the doorbell, she had transformed this apartment into an artist studio, a bastion of things past, and her home. In addition to inheriting a lot of furniture from her parents, she scoured eBay and thrift shops to acquire accessories that would remind her of her childhood and the home in which she grew up.

Lisa loves animals. She paints them for a living and she has them as pets. She's even developed a relationship with a select group of the neighborhood's pigeons and squirrels that know they can always visit Lisa's fire escape to hang out and partake in a good meal.

Living in the same apartment for over two decades, with a tendency to collect, can be a challenge in a small apartment! Lisa knows she has to do the occasional sweep and to try her best to let go of some stuff. It's not easy, but she keeps at it. In the meantime, she loves that guests feel inspired to "come over, put their feet up and smoke a cigar" in her Dickensian living room.

Apartment Therapy Survey

Style: Well the kitchen definitely has a 1950's feel which I find very cheery. I have put mostly needlepoints on the walls (that I design and execute) that give it a nice old fashioned look. The living room on the other hand is more like something you would find in a Dickens novel or a Sherlock Holmes story, lots of velvet, fringe, paintings and old clocks.

Inspiration: I think I have tried to re-create the cozy and inviting feel of my family house when I was growing up. Lots of pillows and lamps to create an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. I also love collecting vintage things such as clocks and cameras. Many of these show up in my paintings which helps me justify buying more.

Favorite Element: It is most likely my antique secretary desk which once belonged to my Grandfather. He seemed very stern to us as children so his desk was full of mystery and strictly off limits. I was always fascinated by all the little drawers and nooks which are now filled with old ink bottles and fountain pens.

Biggest Challenge: Space. I've accumulated a lot of treasures over the years and am rapidly running out of space to put them. I also don't have much closet space. The one real closet is in the studio so I have to be cautious when dressing not to be too near the fresh oil paint! I built two lofts in the hallway to store paintings and Christmas decorations which helps.

What Friends Say: I think they would say that my home is welcoming and comfortable. It always feels good to see someone kick off their shoes and stretch out on the couch (usually with my dog Bingo on their lap). I take that as a compliment.

Biggest Embarrassment: That would probably be my shelves full of old video tapes! I know I should just throw them all out but I haven't been able to bring myself to actually do it. At least I finally got rid of all my old cassette tapes...

Proudest DIY: Building the custom bookcase to fit in the alcove next to the fireplace. My father was still alive when I built it and talked me through a lot of it over the phone. It is still standing after many years which makes me proud.

Biggest Indulgence: My Dutailier rocking chair/glider. I love rocking chairs and at one point actually had three in this little apartment. I had always wanted a glider but generally found them to be so overly padded and poorly designed. I spent a long time searching for one that had a vintage feel with sleek, simple lines.

Best Advice: Your home is an extension of your self. It should show your personality and not necessarily adhere to a strict style.

Dream Source: I would go to Renovation Hardware for a new sofa or day bed. Their furniture is so solid and classic.



    • Dutailier (rocking chair)
    • Jennifer Convertibles (couch)


    • Vintage bed frame.
    • The dresser I believe came from The Land of Nod. A baby dresser was all that fit in that space.

Thanks Lisa!

Images: Jill Slater

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