This Editor’s Harlem Studio Is Closet-less and Tiny, But the Wainscoting Alone Makes Up for It
Vintage Italian dressers (from Facebook Marketplace) to the rescue.
Published Jan 28, 2023 1:15 AM
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Hudson Moore was in such a rush when touring his soon-to-be apartment in New York’s Harlem neighborhood last April that he didn’t realize the place was closet-less until after he signed the lease. “I was like, the ceiling height is good, it has wood floors, the paneling is pretty—I’m ready,” recalls Moore, the former brand manager for Schumacher and current design editor for the company’s magazine, Frederic.
Moore’s move was sparked by a very unglamorous reality: His Upper West Side apartment’s rent was about to skyrocket. But relocating to a new neighborhood had its perks. His main living-slash-sleeping space measures around 17-by-17 feet, which is an upgrade from his previous 9-by-18-foot studio. Plus his 30-square-foot kitchen is situated in a separate galley.
Fortunately, the Oklahoma native finds the whole boxing-and-unboxing process more exciting than stressful—he moves almost every year. “I think I got the itch from my parents,” shares Moore. “I lived in 11 different homes before I graduated from high school.” Just like his mom and dad, who would fix up the houses before selling them, Moore says goodbye to many of his belongings (books, sweaters, candlesticks) before heading to his next hub. “I have to keep a careful edit of everything or it can look messy quickly,” he says.
Moore resisted the urge to swap sofas right away, though. He’s sticking with the plush, deep-seated Blu Dot piece he had in his last studio for now. Besides, plenty of guests have slept on it and none have ever complained. “I love that it’s armless, because it takes up so much less visual weight than one with a lot of body,” he explains. Because his space is a laboratory of sorts (he’s constantly shifting items around to keep things feeling fresh), Moore has found its versatility essential. “I didn’t want to have a sofa that only fits on one wall,” he says.
Same goes for the easy-to-lift slipper chairs, which Moore knew he had to own after seeing them on a shoot with Miles Redd and David Kaihoi. Naturally, he had his covered in a graphic Schumacher fabric that reads as a solid from far away.
The natural wood wainscoting behind the seating area was one of the reasons Moore was so fast to jump on the apartment. There was just one problem: It doesn’t wrap around the room completely because the building was converted from a single-family home into units decades ago. Inevitably, the room appeared disjointed. As a simple fix, Moore “filled in” the missing sections with black paint to continue the visual delineation all the way around.
The dark hue also creates the illusion of a headboard behind the house-shaped canopy bed, which his uncle welded back in the 1980s and has lived with Moore through a few different times in his life. The frame is slightly too big for his full-size mattress and too small for a queen, plus “the whole thing is held together by boat straps; it is very much rigged,” he says with a laugh—but Moore makes do. “I’ve figured out ways to make sure it doesn’t fall apart, because it has before.”
Many other pieces ended up here because of someone else’s kindness. In exchange for Moore decorating one of his old roommate’s apartments, her stepdad graciously drove a number of his things from Oklahoma to New York in a U-Haul, including bookshelves he uncovered in a family member’s barn. “It was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me,” says Moore.
Moore made up for the lack of closets by sourcing two black Italian dressers on Facebook Marketplace “for pennies” and an extra-large vintage armoire. The black wall sculpture over the dining table, too, is a Facebook find. And when Moore reached out to the seller to inquire about buying the piece, he realized they had a connection through the design industry. Turns out, he was chatting with Hugo Vicente, the brand director at ASH NYC. “We really hit it off, and he was like, it’s going to a great home, you should totally get it,” recalls Moore.
The work only looks tricky to mount. In reality, it’s super-lightweight and hangs on magnets that are screwed into the wall. The IKEA table underneath it was a personal project: Moore originally painted the plain pinewood surface a vermilion shade but hated how it cast the whole apartment in a red glow. “The sun would come in and beam on it and project the color,” he shares. So he switched it to a light shade of pink that’s begun to grow on him. Most hasty decisions, as he’s learned, turn out all right—and the ones that don’t are easily remedied.