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Stylish City Home for a Young Family

A project in Manhattan gets personal for Henry & Co designers Elle Clymer and Stephanie Woodmansee, 2015 New Trads

Written by Kari Costas

Elle Clymer was five months pregnant when she and her husband, Greyson, bought their new apartment. With their first baby on the way, the couple had less than four months to decorate and move in, not to mention prepare for their special arrival. Thankfully, the challenge fit squarely in Clymer’s area of expertise. She is one half of the talented young duo behind Henry & Co Design, the boutique firm co-founded with longtime friend Stephanie Woodmansee. Together they were able to transform Clymer’s apartment from blank space to family-friendly and baby-ready, and with one month to spare. 


The apartment is tucked away on a quiet street in Chelsea.

Tucked away on a quiet street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the apartment fulfilled all the criteria for the growing family. As frequent entertainers, the Clymers wanted an informal environment where guests would be comfortable. 


A console table from Treillage also functions as a dining table. Clymer opted for white walls throughout. The clean slate allowed the designer to show off her favorite textiles, accessories, and artwork.

A sunlit living area was large enough to act as a dining-meets-family room and of course, a soon-to-be playroom. 

The spacious, newly renovated kitchen still had all the historical details and quirks of the home. And most important for the time-pressed couple, it was move-in ready. 

The space had just been renovated and, thankfully, needed little work. Clymer made some quick changes to give it a little bit of personality while still embracing the historical details of the space. She painted the wall black, swapped the light fixtures, and added a rug from Eliko Rugs and a Drew Doggett photograph.

The couple already owned a lot of furniture and artwork, from family heirlooms and flea-market finds to souvenirs from their travels. “The most important goal was to incorporate many of the pieces that are very personal to them,” says Woodmansee. “They have quite a collection that they’ve accumulated over time. This allowed the home to feel very eclectic and layered; it really tells the story of who they are and where they come from.”


Farrow & Ball’s “Aranami” wallpaper makes a big splash in the small space, while black lacquer adds a glamorous contrast. “It’s like a little jewel box,” Clymer says. A gallery wall of family photos and artwork collected from flea markets makes for a fun introduction to the Clymers’ home.

Clymer and Woodmansee mixed the existing pieces with functional purchases like a sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. “We had to be realistic about the baby,” Clymer says. “We chose a sofa with classic lines and upholstered it in a neutral fabric, knowing it could be easily reupholstered down the line after it had been touched by sticky fingers!” The mix of old and new continues throughout the rest of the home. 

The light fixture in the living room was originally in the home of designer Elle Clymer’s grandmother, which the family sold years ago. Knowing that she had always pined for the lantern, Elle’s husband, Greyson, reached out to the new owners, purchased it, and had it restored.  

A charming mix of patterns enlivens the living room’s neutral palette. 

“Every piece in this room has a story, which is a great reflection of how Elle and I approach design,” says Stephanie Woodmansee. “We love the hunt for the perfect piece, and have no problem seeing the potential of something, even if the springs are popping out!”

In the nursery, a glider from Target sits next to a crib that was purchased from a small shop in Paris.

 

Clymer didn’t want an overly girly nursery, so she opted for a somewhat neutral palette. A glider from Target was reupholstered in a playful fabric from Lulu DK. In a Quadrille fabric, the Roman shade adds a delicate note to the room. 


Fabric-lined woven boxes offer pretty storage options.

A practical IKEA dresser in the master bedroom fits right in with Clymer’s favorite Colefax and Fowler chintz. “It’s important for young families to have highs and lows in their home, to invest in pieces but also acknowledge that some things might get some wear and tear from the kids,” Woodmansee says. 

Colefax and Fowler’s “Bowood” fabric is a favorite of Clymer’s and was the foundation for the room’s design. Sconces from Galerie des Lampes and a bedside table from Chelsea Textiles are elegant, space-saving additions. 

The Hugo Guinness print above the bedside table is a loving nod to the family’s French Bulldog, Commodore. 

“Elle and I are always finding and collecting little things,” says Woodmansee. “It’s helpful to group them, like we did with Elle’s jewelry. It makes more of a statement.” The photograph is by Jon Rou for Zoe Bios Creative; the blue lamp is from Christopher Spitzmiller.

Despite the time crunch, Clymer and Woodmansee were able to achieve the lived-in, collected look of a family home in just a few months. And now, with the arrival of little Genevieve, it truly is. 

Elle Clymer and Stephanie Woodmansee’s tips for a successful redesign:

  • Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. If you find something and absolutely love it, buy it. It could wind up being the whole focal point of a room.
  • Most things are salvageable. Tired of your sofa? Think about reupholstering instead of buying new. It’s amazing the difference a new fabric can make.
  • Must-have design elements. Two things you can’t live without: A reliable handyman and a good can of paint.

Photography: Marco Ricca

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