Coastal Style

Personality Radiates

The attractiveness of this Midtown Manhattan apartment is its balance between flow and function — a concept that designer Kate Cummings, who lives here, employs often in her small business, Freestyle Restyle. “When you walk in,” she says of the apartment, “I want you to see that this really is the home of two working professionals in creative fields.”

Cummings shares this airy apartment, just a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal, together with spouse Griffin Stenger, creative director and co-owner of the ad agency Concept Farm. Chunky organic pieces, open shelving and personal details highlight a warmth and personality unique to the couple, while creating an inviting environment for family, friends and clients alike.

in a Glance
Who resides: Kate Cummings and Griffin Stenger
Location: New York City
Size: 1,200 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Cummings’ favorite area is your living room, with its excellent view. “I sit on the floor a good deal,” she states. “I love that the distance is multifunctional. It is great when we have a lot of people around, but we don’t have plenty of technical seating per se. We like it to be somewhat casual and simple, so individuals find themselves sitting everywhere, actually employing each component of the space.” A projector replaces a TV here.

Custom glass sliding doors from Alpha Restoration separate the living room from the bedroom space. “They typically stay open when it’s just us, but they are great for providing a bit of privacy once we have overnight guests,” she states.

Couch: Togo, Ligne Roset; coffee table: Ikea; lamp tripod foundation: Pottery Barn; lampshade: Only Shades; carpet: Surya Contentinal, Rugs Direct

Chris A Dorsey Photography

“We purchased [this art piece] years ago from a box truck in an alley outside the Puck Building in the Outsider Art Fair. The performer, [Ross Brodar], was outside that they wouldn’t let him in,” Cummings says, “but the funny part is that now he is a significant draw in the fair. I call her ‘Alley Girl.’ It is created from raw materials the artist’s friends gave him — a doorway from a kitchen cupboard and the top of a linoleum flooring. I carried it home on the subway. I got some pretty strange looks for that one!”

Chris A Dorsey Photography

“We love this particular table,” Cummings says. “I am such a lover of big, luminous, organic pieces. Our friend Matt Frangola out of Board & Beam made it and the seat from salvaged wood.”

The light above the table is called Blue Light, by Ingo Maurer; it takes its title from the fact that the filament has a bluish colour when viewed via the gold panel. “It is also great because it is possible to turn and shift it and change it into various shapes,” she states.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Holding true to keeping the living room multifunctional, the dining table doubles as an office area. “I love working at this desk, since it’s so big, I can really spread out and arrange,” Cummings says. The images and artwork on the wall are an evolving and revolving collection of inspirational works. “I attempt to accumulate ephemera and operate with picture montages, collage, whatever can really add a pop up of imagination and personality,” she clarifies.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

This tiny area of the apartment is a nook Cummings refers to as her altar. “That is my little corner where I do yoga and attempt to meditate. The strategy is to attempt to do it daily, although sometimes it does not occur,” she states.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

As a designer, Cummings understands the art of display. Instead of boxy cabinets in the kitchen, she picked for shelving.

Vent hood: Bosch; stove: KitchenAid; shelving: custom from Alpha Restoration

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Cummings states a lot of what she’s as a designer is akin to similar to what a stylist does. “I look around and try to find patterns or motifs in what you have,” she states. “If you accumulate ceramic figurines or cat images or whatever, if it’s important for you, then it’s important to highlight. The trick is creating the space while keeping in mind flow and function.” Throughout her home, as in this open shelving in the bedroom, Cummings highlighted the private items that inspire her.

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“I always do light in my design projects last to cap off the distance,” she states. “Lighting can be a great accent, distance filler or merely a way to light up the tiny dark corners.”

Light: Milk Bottle Lamp, Tejo Remy for Droog; dresser: Anders, Room & Board; artwork: Saul Steinberg print

Chris A Dorsey Photography

“I am a big fan of a high-low aesthetic with the caveat of not having anything overly valuable, meaning if something has character but is busted or not perfect in some way, it can still be fantastic,” says Cummings. For example, the nightstands are tables salvaged in the public college from Chinatown.

“It’s a green style: Have a vision and a little faith, and you’re able to work with what you have before jumping to buying something brand new,” she adds. The sensed artwork that doubles as a decorative headboard was created by Anis Stenger.

Lamps: Industrial Task Table Lamp, West Elm; framed photograph: Paul Cargnello; mattress: Hastens

Chris A Dorsey Photography

The unit only toilet includes a counter made of black stained butcher block plus a custom shelving unit out of Alpha Restoration.

Sink: Aquamedia, Lacava; light fixture: Y Lighting

The apartment’s open plan, shown here, allows for seamless flow between the kitchen, living and dining spaces.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Cummings relaxes in her favourite sunny spot.

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