A Pre-War Paint Schedule

At long last, we are set to close on our new apartment this coming Tuesday! I knew this had the potential to be a long process, but had not idea it would take five (five!) full months, so we are thrilled to be moving forward. Given that the apartment is in estate condition, the next month+ will be filled with some immediate updates, but it will certainly be an ongoing project. We plan to work through renovations as quickly as possible and move the week before Thanksgiving. I couldn't be more excited. 

Small spaces can be challenging for obvious reasons, but the upside is that every square foot is meaningful. My dad did some simple - but dramatic! - math this weekend and determined the new space is just about 60% larger than our current apartment. While it is still a one-bedroom, we are really going to benefit from having significantly more room.


I've had entirely too long to think about what I'd like to do in the space and haven't really wavered on much since we first saw the apartment. I keep coming back to these inspiration images on my secret Pinterest board:

I really admire Steven Gambrel's use of color, especially in this first image. He is able to pull off a lot of color / pattern without the space feeling chaotic. I especially love that he painted the door, a trick that Miles Redd often uses.

I discovered this kitchen in a Remodelista article and loved, loved, loved the mixture of modern and traditional elements - the inset cabinets (traditional) with flat fronts (modern), the brass hardware (traditional) with the sleek stone counters/backsplash (modern). 

This final image from Jeffrey Bilhuber's Country House featured on OKL is something I've even sent to a couple of clients - I just love that contrasting poppy red cabinet interior. Such a fun use of color.

I have not doubt I will be my own worst enemy/client during this process, but at least I know what I like, right?


The apartment has lots of beautiful pre-war details we are excited to play up - picture mouldings, cove ceilings, transom windows, original doors. The floors are also original and just need refinishing.

This is subject to change until we actually start painting but this is where I am going with our paint schedule. Below the paint are the fabric swatches we are working with (existing, new) in each space. 






My goal is to work with warm and cool colors side-by-side since we have and like a lot of both. I am trying to shy away from bold wall colors - except for the interior hallway - since the space gets a lot more light than our current apartment. I've always really loved shades of coral, so I think using it on the doors will be a fun way to connect the rooms while still using distinct colors + patterns in each space.

Looking forward to sharing more from this little apartment reno starting Tuesday! Follow me on Instagram to see little snippets from this personal project + my client work!

Emily C. Butler

Emily C. Butler, 1153 3rd Avenue, New York, New York 10065, USA

Emily C. Butler is a New York City based interior designer + decorator.