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Our NYC Apartment Tour!
We are just TWO days away from moving out of our Manhattan apartment and into our first house in the beautiful New Jersey suburbs!!! Sam and I have lived together on West 15th Street for 5 1/2 years, PLUS he lived with his best friend in the building next door for two years prior to that. That means in total we’ve been on our block for 7 1/2 years, which is a very long time by New York City standards!
If you missed the big news on IG, we just bought a house in South Orange, New Jersey (!!!), which is the area that Sam and I are both from, is close to where our parents live, and is a short commute from New York City! While we knew moving to New Jersey was our long-term plan, we never imagined buying a house this year or even in the next few years. But, like so many, Covid swooped in and changed everything. In light of our studio closing, TNTP’s new go-forward plan of operating completely from home, and our desire to be closer to family during this time, buying a house ended up making the most sense for us in all the ways.
Before we pack up and say goodbye to our first and incredibly beloved home, I wanted to give you guys a home tour of where The Neon Tea Party was born and has grown for the past four years!
We and all of our friends and family keep joking about how we’re going look back on our time in the apartment and wonder how the HECK we ran TNTP from here! From teaching classes in the early days to shipping every customer order to expanding our shop inventory and shipping kits for 100+ people events, all projects big and small went down inside these walls.
In addition to touring our home in the photos below, you can also check out this post from last summer in which I shared my plans for putting the finishing touches on the apartment to 1. better integrate TNTP into our living space and 2. make our bedroom and bathroom serene, TNTP-free zones. Reading back through the list I was so happy to see that I’d checked off almost every single one of those plans — and that they all have made a HUGE difference in the organization and overall vibe of the apartment.
As I write this post, our apartment and hallway outside our front door are bursting at the seams with TNTP stuff. As sad as it is to close our NYC chapter, it’s truly time to make this change to provide our little family of two and our business baby more space and support to continue to grow and flourish.
Now, without further ado, enjoy this apartment tour, which includes photos from our IGTV feature by Bustle last summer, some shots from past room tours on the blog, and some fresh photos to show you how some of the spaces look today. Enjoy!!!
The living room is the heart of our apartment where everything happens — literally! Working, eating, hanging out, making kits, the occasional nap, you name it!
Our living room is split into two sections: the couch area and “TNTP HQ.”
Our couch has been through so much with us! I purchased it from a second-hand shop with my first NYC roommate Joanna when we moved to the city right out of college. In typical NYC fashion, the couch made it up four flights of stairs to that first apartment, only to not fit through the door no matter what we did! Enter the Couch Doctor, a local service that breaks down couches to make them fit through doors, then reassembles them once they’re through. The couch then moved home with me to NJ and lived at Sam’s dad’s house for 2 1/2 years before coming back to NYC with me when Sam and I moved in together. We recently realized that this couch — which is practically the only place you can sit/eat/be in the apartment — is truly part of our family, and we are excited that it will come with us to our new home!
The other element of the couch area worth noting is our gallery walls! We have two proper gallery walls, plus some decorations around the TV, whose arrangement was never really perfected – ha! The art on our walls is a melange of some of our first real art pieces (such as the Miriam we purchased in Israel, the overhead photograph of the Jersey Shore by aerial photographer/friend Claudia Chloe, and prints of our NYC block by my incredibly talented illustrator friend Fernanda Sanovicz!), mixed with special photographs, record covers, posters, prints, and objects from our travels. The art on our walls is always the first thing people notice when they walk in our home! It’s so fun to have a conversation starter as soon as guests enter!
You can read more about our gallery wall in this old post here!
The TNTP HQ side of the room is our order packing area and (some) inventory storage. Each and every TNTP shop order since the beginning of TNTP history has been packed in this area or on our coffee table! Isn’t that wild?! The packing station (where the orange tissue paper is laid out) is a Covid-era edition that has hugely helped the packing flow.
On the right is our “famous” rainbow Omegacryl yarn wall! This has been such a visually satisfying part of the living room, even if it does take up about 1/4 of the space. If you can believe it, the yarn on the shelves is a small fraction of the total yarn we have on hand at any given moment! On the other wall is a smaller version of the shelf along with drawers, both filled with inventory and packing supplies.
Like the living room, the kitchen is split into two parts: the desk area (some might call this an office – lol) and the kitchen itself.
When we first saw the apartment and decided we wanted it, I looked at the empty space on the back wall to the right of the stove (which looked to be just the right size for a desk) and declared, “I’m going to start a business right here!” At the time I didn’t even have a business idea besides blogging, but something in my gut told me it was bound to happen.
Lo and behold, less than two years later I launched TheNeonTeaParty.com from my little $30 IKEA desk — the same one that, like the couch, has traveled with me since my first NYC apartment. The desk started out along that back wall, hence the bulletin board and all the decorations that surround it. When we began sheltering in place in March and I started teaching virtual classes weekly, I turned the desk to face the window for more natural light, which totally added more space to the work area for storage and such! Some of my fondest apartment memories will be from this very corner of our home!
The kitchen itself is small but mighty! It may not have a dishwasher or ample counter space, but it has lots of cabinets and is its own room, which is a treat in and of itself in a small NYC apartment! We’ve cooked countless meals for ourselves and friends between these walls, and some of my favorites go-to recipes and delicious experiments have happened in here! We will miss this kitchen immensely but boy are we excited to (almost) never have to wash a dish by hand again.
Dubbed by me as the “world’s smallest bathroom” (because you really couldn’t make a bathroom with a tub, toilet and sink any smaller than ours), I like to think of our bathroom as a little tropical oasis in the middle of downtown Manhattan. The tropical vibe started with our palm leaf shower curtain and coordinating green bathroom accessories. In more recent years, we added actual plants, including two cuties who are thriving on the window ledge in our shower! With all the moisture and steam in there, it’s no wonder they’re so happy!
It was important to me to make our bathroom a fun yet serene escape from the craziness of our apartment. I even started taking bubble baths in our tub, something I swore I’d never do because who knows what city cooties could live in there! But a little rinse with bleach, some lavender-scented bubble bath, and sheer desperation lead me to take the plunge and let me tell you, it was worth it!
You can read more about our bathroom decor here!
Our bedroom is the other room we try to keep serene and relaxing, which is largely the case as long as there aren’t clothes all over the floor! There are three focal points in the bedroom: the Moroccan wedding blanket above our bed (one of our favorite wedding gifts!), the long set of shelves above the mirror filled with treasured souvenirs and artwork, and the yellow bookcase, which — like my couch and desk — has followed me from home to home since I graduated college. I also love to use jewelry as decor, so you can find it in dishes, and in jewelry boxes, and hanging from hooks around the room!
The style of our bedroom is pretty much a continuation of the living room: white walls covered with colorful art and tchotchkes, and globally inspired textiles upon each soft surface! It also has touches of straw by way of baskets and floppy hats, which add a little neutral earthiness to the vibrant mix!
While our hallway isn’t technically part of our apartment, our building has been kind enough to let us use the space under the stairs (which is conveniently located right outside our door!) as backstock for inventory and shipping supplies while we “figured things out.” I call this masterpiece: box mountain. She is one of the things that is most excited for her new home!
I have no doubt our new home will end up looking like a larger and slightly more sophisticated version of our colorful, tchotchkelicious apartment! While we are incredibly sad to say goodbye to living in New York City, we are so excited about this fresh start for our lives, TNTP, and, of course, adventures in home decorating!
Peace, love & neon,