One of the biggest milestones for couples is designing their first home, but it can also be a major relationship pressure point. We partnered with Homepolish—an NYC-based home-design company that provides design services by the hour—to get some of their married clients' takes on how they decorated their first home together…without killing each other.
Six years ago, graphic designer Meredith Hayes (now Durone) met Anthony Durone, a lawyer from Kansas City, while living in his home city. Four years later, the pair made the move back to New York City (Meredith is a native of the Northeast) and bought their Chelsea apartment together last spring. The pair married not long after in January of this year at the Harold Pratt House in NYC—did we mention they were moving into their new home at the same time as planning their wedding? "It was a bold, slightly insane choice," admits Meredith. Now that the newlyweds are settled, we caught up with them to chat about what it was like to design their apartment with the help of Homepolish designer Kevin Clark.
How did you pick out this house? Was it a love at first sight situation or did it take some convincing?
"The neighborhood feeling friendly and intimate was really important to us," says Meredith. "Good food, drinks, and pretty historic streets to walk our dog Moxie along were all on our checklist.
My number-one priority was the building being Pre-War, and Tony’s was having enough space and light. When we walked into this pre-war Chelsea loft with massive windows, we knew it was the one. The major thing lacking from the space right away was personality. I love homes that feel really intimate and personal to the family living there. Also, being a designer, I love vibrant, colorful spaces with lots of personality, and knew that I wanted our home to feel comfortable, creative and inspiring."
“We had such a great time with this space," says Kevin. "The ceilings are high and the footprint is so large. The client is a graphic designer and already knew what she loved. I am also an artist (who loves color) and, since it’s rare for clients to want lean that way, we had fun with it and pulled rich jewel tones.”
What made you decide to hire a designer? How did Kevin help you to bring your vision for your home to life?
"I have a passion for interior design, but knew that I wanted some help as the space was such an open, blank slate, and we were planning a wedding at the same time," says Meredith. "We wanted the space to feel eclectic and easy. A mix of modern and vintage, without anything being too matchy-matchy. Kevin helped us devise the perfect floor plan so that the large living space felt less overwhelming, and more like a collection of different rooms. We wanted all of the new things (like the built-in bookshelves) we were working in to look like they may have been original, but with slight modern twists."
How did you navigate conversations about design, especially if you didn't necessarily agree? What were the hardest parts about designing a home together? The best parts?
"Tony pretty much defers to me when it comes to the design realm," says Meredith. "He definitely has opinions, but trusts my more out-there ideas, too. I knew I wanted bold, rich colors, and Kevin had amazing suggestions (the deep almost black navy in the bedroom is my absolute favorite). There were aspects that Tony wasn’t necessarily sure about (like the purple wall in the dining room), but he put his trust in the final outcome, and loved everything in the end. I think your home should be fun, so that’s what we went for. Taking risks with paint color is also so easy because it can always be painted over, so why not?!"
Of the inky blue-black color in the bedroom, Kevin says, "It is my favorite color to use in projects. I have it in my home and in my office. It is one of those perfectly-tinted neutrals. A lot of people are scared of black, but I tend to think it can make spaces look bigger.”
"I love a really layered, lived-in home," continues Meredith, "so it’s still a work in progress, but I think it probably always will be. I would say the best part about having put so much time into designing our home is when we entertain and people make comments about how 'us' it is. Having a space that you are excited to come home to at the end of the day also just feels really good. Especially in New York City, you need your personal retreat, and our apartment has definitely become ours."