Tour a Cozy Alcove Studio in NYC: Before and After Photos

Dining Nook: Henderson created it opposite the kitchen on the other side of the room divider with Swaim prototype shearling dining chairs and a custom table wrapped in leather. The sculpture on the table is by Carlos Otero and the sculpture on the shelf above is by Matthew Solomon from Maison Gerard.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

For three years, Shawn Henderson lived in a one-bedroom walk-up apartment in the West Village. It had plenty of charm, but after breaking up with his partner, its 900 square feet “was more space than I wanted,” he says. “And to be honest, I wanted a space with more modern conveniences: a doorman and somewhere to park my car.”

And so beginning in 2019, he went shopping for something a bit more modern — even if it is vintage modern. He’d make it charming: Henderson is an interior designer known for creating inviting, elegant rooms. (His first book comes out on November 9; Mayer Rus writes its introduction that Henderson’s “work makes a compelling case for the power of quiet, confident grace.”)

The first apartment he looked at — a 550-square-foot alcove studio in a 1960s building near Stuyvesant Square, a short walk from the East Village — was exactly what he wanted. . The studio even had a garden almost as big as the apartment itself, at 400 square feet. “I did a full gut renovation as it had not been touched; it was in original shape,” he says (see before and after photos).

“The biggest gesture I made was to put in that wall of cabinetry where my desk is to add storage and to demarcate the entrance foyer where that little dining nook is and the kitchen area to really separate that from the living/bedroom.” He also updated the kitchen with custom Chemetal metal cabinets and marble counters and walls. The mirror on the back wall teases a view into what at first glance seems to be another room.

It’s a little bit “back to the future” for Henderson. “Before I bought that apartment in the West Village, I had this alcove studio I rented in Gramercy Park for about four years, and there is something very comforting about being in a space where I can see everything right there.”

The Living Room: The studio is dominated by a large coffee table that was made from a table prototype that Henderson designed for his furniture collection. “The wood split a little bit because it’s made of solid oak and it had a steel plate on the bottom, so it wasn’t going to come apart,” he says. “I couldn’t use it for a table, so I cut down the legs and wrapped it in shearling, and I thought what an amazing coffee table it would make.” The pair of armchairs is by Raoul Guys.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

The Living Room, before his renovation.
Photo: Courtesy of Shawn Henderson

Living Room Corner: Henderson repurposed a vintage birdcage to hold his plants. The art above the sofa includes the “Black Ink” series by Sam Still; a print by Cecily Brown at the top left; and the black framed smoked mirror is by Maureen Fullam. The light by the birdcage is Flos’s Parentesi ceiling mount lamp, and in the foreground, a floor lamp by Sergio Mazza.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Dividing Wall with Storage and Desk: He put in a wall of cabinetry to add storage and to better demarcate the foyer, the kitchen/dining, and the living/bedroom zones.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

The Kitchen: The cabinets are custom Chemetal metal, with marble counters and walls. The mirror on the back wall gives the illusion of another room.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

The Kitchen, before.
Photo: Courtesy of Shawn Henderson

The Sleeping Area: The custom bed and headboard are tucked into an alcove with vintage Scandinavian nightstands, and the drapery fabric is from Cowtan & Tout. The vintage Swiss sconces are from Rayon Roskar, and the mirror is by Christian Astuguevieille. The long sconce is from Ozone Light.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

The Sleeping Area, before.
Photo: Courtesy of Shawn Henderson

The Garden: One of the biggest draws for Henderson was the 400 sq. ft. outdoor space he uses year-round. The outdoor furniture is from DWR. The table is from Skargaarden, and the dining chairs are from Fritz Hansen.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Shawn Henderson with his yorkie-poo, Gus.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Photo: Courtesy of the Publisher

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