Archive for June 2017

Inside Caroline Ventura of Calliope’s Eclectic West Village Loft

June 30th, 2017

Jewelry designer Caroline Ventura’s beautiful West Village loft—located above her husband Michael’s design business, Sub Rosa, as well as their home furnishings store, Calliope—is a good reminder of the need for patience when it comes to finding, renovating, and decorating your space. Caroline and Michael lost several properties before acquiring this beautiful building (actually, two buildings connected by stairwells), then worked their way through a complete gut renovation, and waited close to two years before opening their retail shop. Now, it’s a dream—filled with beautiful light and an eclectic mix of furniture and objects from their travels—but it took a lot to get there! Hearing about their design process through our home tour and interview with Caroline was so interesting to me. I hope her stylish space and words inspire you too!

Rip & Tan: How did you come across this apartment? Did Calliope come first or second?

Caroline Ventura: My husband Michael and I had been looking for a space that could serve as a work/live space for both our design studios. We thought we had found the perfect spot but it ended up falling through and we were so bummed. The next day we just happened to walk by this dilapidated old building in the West Village that had a rental sign out front.
Calliope was the last piece of the puzzle in our building. First and foremost, we needed an office space for Michael’s design agency—they are on the second floor. We also needed a place to live, which was we designated the third floor for. We opened the store on the ground floor two years after we moved in, and we also have an adjacent gallery space that opened last year.


Rip & Tan: What type of rehab or DIY projects did you take on when you moved in?

CV: The building needed a full gut renovation. There was mold and asbestos in various parts and we really wanted to restore what the space looked like originally, so we tore down a lot of walls that had been put up, stripped the floors down to the original wood, and reinstated a lot of original materials and design elements. Our apartment was basically an empty space once it was gutted, so we were able to add in a small kitchen and bathroom downstairs. The loft where the bedroom is already existed and just needed a little structural work.


Rip & Tan: How would you describe the décor?

CV: I always have a hard time defining our decor. There are industrial elements; the shelving that is in our living room is from a French steel mill. There’s a little mid-century mixed in too. Mostly our place is a collection of things we pick up on our travels; rugs from a trip to Morocco, fabric from Japan, antiques we’ve bought on road trips. To us, our home is an always-evolving space that reflects the life we’ve lived and the places we gone.


Rip & Tan: What is your favorite corner or object in the apartment?

CV: The kitchen always gets the most traffic. It’s the place where friends gather and hang out, and, at the end of the day, I often sit at the counter to unwind.

Rip & Tan: How do you tend to entertain? Who comes over and what do you do for them?

CV: I love to have friends over for dinners. This is the first place I’ve lived that could actually have a proper dining table so we cook dinners on the weekends a lot.

Rip & Tan: Tell us about your vision for Calliope. What are you hoping to achieve with the store and what guides your buying process?

CV: I wanted a space that wasn’t intimidating to shop at. There are so many shops that are beautiful, but intimidating. Shopping should be something that is fun, and we encourage people to just come and hang out. It doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. We like to develop relationships with our customers and really try to create a cozy neighborhood atmosphere.

When we buy things for the store we only have one rule: only buy what we love. We want to fill the space with things we personally love and things that make us happy.


Rip & Tan: What wellness or beauty ritual do you cherish?

CV: Every night I try to take at least 10 minutes to myself before bed. I do a little facial massage after I wash my face, and that acts as a little meditation time too, and sort of preps my brain to begin to shut down for sleep.

This article was originally published on Rip and Tan on February 16, 2017.

How to Afford the Home of Your Dreams (Without Sacrificing Your Lifestyle)

June 30th, 2017

It’s no secret that we’re a little obsessed with small-space hacks, but there comes a time when every renter grows weary of the struggle. There are only so many times you can find temporary ways to update your rental home or deal with your roommate’s dirty dishes before the adult inside you screams, I just want a place of my own!

If buying your own home seems more like a pipe dream than reality, it’s time to get serious about saving. “A lot of first-time buyers say they want to wait and save more money so they can skip the starter home and move straight into their dream home,” says Kathy Cummings, home ownership solutions and education executive at Bank of America. “What many millennials are starting to learn is that it’s okay—in fact, it can be a good thing—to buy what you can afford now. People who wait are missing out on the chance to start building wealth and equity, not to mention they are paying someone else’s mortgage with their current rent payments.”

Yes, now’s the time to get into the market and put that hard-earned rental money toward your own home. Here, Cummings and Nicole Lapin, author or New York Times best seller Rich Bitch, share exactly how to maximize your savings to reach that major milestone.

This is how to afford the downpayment on a home, without losing your lifestyle. It’s possible!

Step 1: Follow the 28% Rule

First things first: You need to set a savings goal. Without one, you’ll lack the motivation to put money away and won’t fully understand the reality of affording a home. According to Cummings, the 28% rule is a great way to assess what you can afford. “For a starting point, take whatever you make each month, before taxes, and multiply that by 28%,” she recommends. “That’s a good rule of thumb for how much a manageable monthly payment might be, including taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance.”

She stresses that just because you can borrow a lump sum from the bank doesn’t mean you should. “To figure out what you can afford when you’re saving for a home, I recommend asking yourself, How much should I borrow? instead of How much could I borrow? This approach focuses on the amount that comfortably fits your budget.”

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to brave this process alone. “Once you’ve gotten a general idea of what monthly payment fits your budget, talk with your lender, who can help you translate that payment into a realistic mortgage amount,” she says.

Step 2: Understand the Big Picture

A down payment isn’t the only expense you need to account for when saving for your first home. Cummings says these are the most commonly overlooked expenses to build into your budget:

  1. Home loan fees: “Many homebuyers just focus on the interest rate when shopping for loans. However, they tend to fare better by keeping the annual percentage rate (APR) in mind to understand the true cost of their mortgage. The APR reflects the total cost of a loan during the entire lending period and includes fees like mortgage insurance, closing costs, and loan origination fees, among others.”
  2. Home inspection costs: “Home inspections can cost a few hundred dollars, and real estate professionals frequently recommend them to ensure buyers understand any repairs that might be necessary.”
  3. Moving costs: “Most buyers will need to pay for furniture movers or moving trucks, but renters may need temporary housing if they have to move out of their apartment by month end and before their new home loan closes.”
  4. Home furnishing costs: “Most homes do not come with a refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer and in some cases window treatments.”
  5. Maintenance and repair costs: “Once you own your home, there is no longer a landlord to call when something breaks.”

Step 3: Assess Your Wants vs. Needs

This is a crucial step in being able to afford your first home. That two-story mansion with a stand-alone tub and walk-in robe might represent your dream home, but it could also deter you from saving money when you realize how long it will take you to afford the deposit.

According to Bank of America’s new Homebuyer Insights Report, a huge 68% of young homeowners say their current home is a stepping stone to their forever home—and that’s smart, says Cummings. Why? It helps you build equity and enter the market. Yes, you’ll be one step closer to that Insta-worthy tub.

“Unless you have disposable income, you’re going to have to make some trade-offs,” she says. Her top tip? Ask yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice in a home and what you’re happy to budge on. Write a list of every non-negotiable so you have a clearer idea of the cost. “Things to consider include neighborhood, proximity to public transportation, new appliances, and school districts,” she says. “For example, first-time buyers should consider up-and-coming neighborhoods. Buying along the edges of higher-priced neighborhoods may be more affordable, which can help you reach your home ownership goal sooner.”

Step 4: Jump-Start Your Savings

Not ready to sacrifice your multiple coffee-a-day habit? Yes, it’s important to minimize unnecessary daily expenses, but Nicole Lapin, author of Boss Bitch and former news anchor, has an alternative that won’t cramp your current lifestyle: Make money with items you already own.

“According to a recent ThredUp report, the average woman doesn’t wear 60% of what’s in her closet. And the estimated retail value of that unworn clothing across the country? A whopping $220 billion!” she tells MyDomaine. “I’ve learned over time that in order to be a savvy investor in control of my finances, I need to be in control of my closet and my wallet.” The takeaway: KonMari your closet and your home and sell any items you haven’t used in the last 12 months. And just like that, you’ll kick-start your first home savings account.

Step 5: Find Creative Ways to Boost Your Income

Are you saving for your first home? Tell us what lifestyle changes have had the biggest impact on reaching your goal.

This article was originally published on MyDomaine on April 20, 2017.

How to Design a Home you Will Love

June 28th, 2017

MyDomaine spoke with Target Home Style Expert Emily Henderson of Styled by Emily Henderson to give a few tips on how to style your home so that it’s both timeless and comfortable.

“First and foremost, you need to determine how you want the room to feel,” she told MyDomaine. “Functionality can happen once you start picking out furniture and larger pieces for the room. Do you want it to be cozy and relaxed? Family-friendly for the kiddos? More formal for guests or a place to be productive in? Once you determine how you want the room to feel and, more importantly, how you want to feel in the room, you can begin designing.” Are you ready to get started? Ahead, Henderson shows us how, along with the biggest mistake most people make when decorating. 

MYDOMAINE: What’s your personal decorating philosophy?

EMILY HENDERSON: Perfection is boring; let’s get weird. Now, I know that isn’t exactly a philosophy, but designing a room is all about finding the juxtaposition between expected and unexpected and working with your client to find out what works and doesn’t work for them to further bring that out in their space.

MD: What are the top three qualities every room should have?

EH: I always say that every room should be happy, personal, layered, and include something vintage. I guess that is four, but they are all just as important as the next.

MD: How important is space? How does it impact the look and feel?

EH: Just as skinny jeans or oversize blousy tops don’t work for everyone, same goes for petite furnishings or oversize pieces. Consider the size of your space when you are purchasing, and remember that the negative space is just as important as what is in it. Leaving enough room around furnishings will give your eye the visual space that it needs when you walk into a room.

MD: What are your favorite ways to add texture to a room?

EH: Layering rugs of different sizes and colors is a way to add instant texture and visual interest to a room. I know most people think of rugs as an investment, but they don’t have to be. find a global inspired rug that feels fresh, makes a statement, and is relatively affordable.

If you don’t have the space, or the thought of mixing rugs intimidates you, then try the same concept with pillows. Remember to differ pattern and scale while keeping it tonal so it doesn’t get too busy.

MD: What are your favorite colors to work with?

EH: Since summer is all about bringing the outdoors in, right now I like working green accents throughout a space. A few of my favorites include this green planter, this banana leaf throw pillow, and this watercolor palm leaf print.

I will always be a fan of blue as well. Right now I’m loving this earthenware vase and tasseled pillow from Target’s spring collection.

MD: What is a next big trend you’re inspired by and see others bringing home in 2017/18? 

EH: I have loved midcentury home design for as long as I can remember, but lately I’ve found myself drawn to pieces with more of a modern influence, too. I can’t foresee myself ever going full-fledged modern in my own home because it’s just not my aesthetic, but I love a little touch here and there.

MD: How can we minimize clutter to achieve that minimal look?

EH: A quick and easy way to help corral clutter and items while keeping things from looking messy is through trays and decorative boxes. This wicker tray with handles could go on your coffee table, desk or entry console to help keep things organized and keep clutter to a minimum.

MD: What’s a mistake you see often or have done yourself that we can/should avoid? why?

EH: We are actually writing a post on it right now, but one of the biggest things people run into when decorating is moving forward with purchases without actually having a plan. They get so excited about a project that they buy before even knowing where the piece will go. Trust me, I have done this plenty myself, which is why I am learning firsthand how helpful it can be to map things out in your mind before you head out to purchase larger pieces. Measure the space out and decide how big things are and your general layout before making any large purchases.

MD: Small spaces are on the rise with more people decorating with less space. What are your tips for styling a size-challenged room?

EH: Multi-functional furniture and accessories are key to decorating small spaces. I like this wood slat bench with gold legs—it could easily double as a coffee table. And with small spaces, it is important to remember that things need to have a purpose in the room for them to be there. Sure, you can have some beautiful items displayed around the room, but a room full of beautiful accessories will quickly crowd a small space that needs more purposeful items.

MD: What are your favorite paint colors?

EH: These are my 10 go-to paint colors that I seem to use over and over, but recently I have loved mixing in some more daring colors into my own décor. I used green smoke in my kitchen and sharkskin in our laundry room. It is so nice having a splash of color among the white.

MD: What should we never do when decorating?

EH: Take things too seriously. It is just décor, and you should have fun with it. If you make a mistake, you can most likely return it and find something that is better suited for the room. Live in the space and experience, and let yourself make changes to the room as it evolves with you and the way you use it.

This article was originally published on MyDomaine on April 10, 2017.