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The number one thing Nick Glimenakis wanted to do when he moved into his 500-square-foot New York City apartment? Buy a credenza.

“For my first real adult purchase, I really wanted to own one!” says Glimenakis. “I moved from an apartment I shared with other people and I had accumulated a bunch of stuff. I sold everything and moved here with a clean slate.”

Glimenakis is a photographer with a background in shooting interiors (though one look at his portfolio demonstrates an expertise in everything from dreamy landscapes to intimate detail shots)—a background that definitely came in handy when it came time to decorate his new apartment.

In the lead image: Design Within Reach Laccio Table, $862; Trnk-NYC Chambray Color Blocked Pillow, $85

In this image: CB2 Mercer Sliding Door Credenza, $699

“I was exposed to so many different styles, concepts, and schemes that over time I kind of developed my own style. I’m not an interior designer and I don’t have the verbiage to execute this on any type of professional level, but I definitely have an opinion,” he says of how working in design inspired the design of his own home.
The apartment in question began as a legitimate blank canvas, with whitewashed walls and simple wooden flooring. And despite any initial misgivings (“It was one of those sketchy situations where the door was unlocked and the windows were blown out,” recalls Glimenakis of the first time he saw the place. “Before I installed screens I had pigeons fly in—you’re not a true New Yorker until you’ve fought off some pigeons”) the apartment had good bones and plenty of space.

In this image: Design Within Reach Wishbone Chair in “Black”, $595

Even after bringing in furniture, the space retains the original clean, bright feeling. This was an intentional choice for Glimenakis, who wanted to replicate the airy minimalism of a coastal beach house. Having spent much of his childhood on coastal Rhode Island, Glimenakis was drawn to design motifs reminiscent of the ocean; for the most part he sticks to a neutral color palette with pops of blues and hints of orangey browns, and adds in lots of texture and natural materials for a layered feel.

In this image: Restoration Hardware Stonewashed Belgian Linen Bedding Collection in indigo, $27-$269

“At the end of the day—in a perfect world—I would like to be able to close my eyes and pretend I can hear the ocean waves crashing outside the window,” says Glimenakis. “I kind of referenced previous trips [to the beach] and past photography and found a palette that represented my life, my clothing, my photography… I really wanted my apartment to be a tangible representation of that. It’s a very neutral palette, and my accent is a little Havana flair.”


In this image: CB2 Butler Stand, $199

One example of the aforementioned flair is the gorgeous burnt sienna couch. The bold piece served as the centerpoint for most of the apartment decor, though actually physically getting it into the home proved to be quite the arduous task. At 85 inches long, it didn’t fit through the door so it had to be ripped apart in the hallway and reassembled inside.

“It’s definitely here to stay,” says Glimenakis. “It will never leave this apartment.”


In this image: House of Marley Get Together Mini Portable Audio System, $149.99; West Elm Globe Table Lamp, $103; CB2 Swing Arm Black Wall Sconce, $79.95  

As for designing around the statement-making piece, the photographer turned to social media for additional inspiration. Looking first to Instagram (“like a visual rolodex at your fingertips”) and then to Pinterest (“I swear by it and everyone laughs at me for that, but it’s one of the strongest tools for developing a palette”), he created a finished space that’s a lesson in intentional decorating.

For one, everything in the apartment looks like it was meant to be there. Where most homes have little odds and ends that don’t really match the rest of the decor, every piece in this apartment is coated in one of the core color scheme shades and is thoughtfully placed. Items are carefully situated at right angles, an organizational decision Glimenakis attributes to his left brain. Even the little black radiator in the corner looks specially designed for the place.

In this image: Design Within Reach Mag Table, $199; AllModern Holstebro Tree Floor Lamp, $849.99

Then there’s the fact that practically all of the decorative pieces have some sentimental backstory. From a piece of driftwood, decorated by an old friend that sits on the sideboard to a film camera gifted to him by a college professor to some of Glimenakis’ older photos, there is meaning behind everything.


“It seems simple, but I see a lot of homes that are overly decorated, and to me that makes it feel sterile. So I really appreciate spaces that have a curated, collected feel,” he explains. “Everything has a story. If people are over, I want books and magazines and tchotchkes that people can pick up and start flipping through.”


For Glimenakis, mastering that balance between personal and minimal was essential in creating his dream space.

“My every day is different, my environment as a photographer is always changing. I really wanted something that I could come back to and shut the door and be transported,” he says. “This is the most ‘me’ it’ll get for a while. It’s my little sanctuary.”


In this image: AllModern Plain End Table, $61.99

Photography by Nick Glimenakis.


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