An Artist’s Journey to Making Her 500 Square Foot Studio a Home



In the vibrant, ever-evolving landscape of New York City, nestled within the iconic Upper East Side, resides a sanctuary meticulously curated by the discerning eye and artistic soul of Natalie Aldridge.

Natalie, a multifaceted creative force, wears many hats—she’s an interior designer, a writer, and an artist, and her apartment is not just a living space but a testament to her passion for crafting beauty in the everyday.

Natalie Aldridge

Embracing Space and Style

At the heart of Natalie’s urban retreat lies a studio apartment spanning approximately 500 square feet. While studio living in Manhattan often conjures images of cramped quarters, Natalie’s abode stands apart, boasting distinct areas for both the kitchen and dressing room. For slightly over two years, this space has been her canvas, her refuge from the bustling streets below.

Natalie’s journey as a renter began at the age of eighteen, a rite of passage shared by many who flock to the city in pursuit of dreams. However, it was in her current apartment that she found a sense of permanence, marking her transition into what she fondly calls her “adult apartment.”

Natalie Aldridge

Crafting Home, Piece by Piece

Transforming a space into a true reflection of oneself is no small feat—it’s a labor of love that unfolds over time. For Natalie, it took the better part of a year to infuse her apartment with her signature style. From scouring antique markets for unique finds to completing numerous upholstery projects, every element has been carefully curated to create a space that feels uniquely hers.

While the desire to wallpaper lingers in the back of her mind, Natalie hesitates to embark on such a project in a rental. Yet, her reluctance does not dampen her spirit or her creativity. Instead, she finds joy in the process of layering textures, colors, and patterns to breathe life into her space.

Natalie Aldridge

A Fusion of Styles and Inspirations

Describing her style as a fusion of traditional English with a touch of neoclassical French, infused with a hint of 1930s Milanese glamour, Natalie’s apartment is a testament to her eclectic tastes and diverse inspirations. Yet, amidst this amalgamation of influences, her approach to decorating remains refreshingly simple—she collects what she adores, allowing her space to evolve organically over time.

Drawing inspiration from historic properties like the Sir John Soane House and Villa Necchi Campiglio, as well as visionary figures like Diana Vreeland, Natalie’s creative spark knows no bounds. From the grandeur of European palaces to the eccentricity of fashion icons, her influences are as varied as they are inspiring.

Natalie Aldridge

Treasures Found and Challenges Faced

Among the treasures that adorn Natalie’s walls, none hold more significance than her Giovanni Francesco Venturini engravings—a serendipitous find from a local estate sale. Acquired for a mere $100, these exquisite pieces serve as a testament to Natalie’s keen eye for beauty and her appreciation for the stories that each object holds.

Yet, amidst the beauty of her surroundings, Natalie acknowledges the challenges posed by the architectural bones of her apartment.

While she adores her space, she yearns to infuse it with the charm and character that define her aesthetic. It’s a delicate balance—one that she navigates with grace and creativity.

Natalie Aldridge

Embracing Impermanence, Cultivating Joy

As a renter, Natalie is no stranger to the transient nature of city living. Yet, rather than viewing her apartment as a temporary space, she sees it as an opportunity to create something beautiful, something that reflects her personality and her passions. It’s a lesson in embracing impermanence, in finding joy in the journey rather than fixating on the destination.

For those embarking on their own journey of apartment living, Natalie offers a piece of advice—learn how to upholster. Simple DIY projects, like re-covering a chair seat, are not only cost-effective but also allow you to infuse your space with a custom touch that is uniquely yours.

Natalie Aldridge

A Reflection of Self

In Natalie’s apartment, every corner tells a story and every object holds a memory. It’s a reflection of who she is and what she loves—a testament to the power of creativity and the transformative potential of space. And while her apartment may be just one chapter in her story, it’s a chapter filled with beauty, inspiration, and the unmistakable imprint of a true artist.



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