Design Envy: Marina Apartment

The main event- the living room!
You know that feeling when you walk into someone's home and you say to yourself, "holy cow this place is so much cooler than mine!"? Well a few weeks ago I had that exact same feeling when I walked into my friends Sophie and Grant's new apartment. I had a serious case of design envy.

Sophie and Grant had just moved in together and already the design of their home was so well thought out. From the worn leather caramel sofa paired with the modern black and white chevron rug to the large gray console table and art filling their wide hallway, every design decision was not only carefully thought out, but really expressed who Sophie and Grant were as a couple. Please join me in a tour of both their home and their design process.
Grant Lee and Sophie Cikovsky in their uber-chic living room!
How did you two approach the design? Was there a vision? Did one of you take the lead?
It was a fairly organic process. Before Grant and I moved in together I’d lived with my best friend Sabrina for seven years. She has a great eye for design and I’m lucky to be holding on to a fair amount of her furniture while she’s at business school on the east coast. Because of this, I came to the apartment with a lot of furniture already, which helped shape the vision and cut down on our budget (also, having it reminds me of my BFF, which isn’t the worst…).
One of the pieces Sophie inherited from her BFF Sabrina.
Pinterest was super helpful when we were deciding what else to buy. I pinned what I already had (couch, dining room table, coffee table) so I could see it all together and then added other items I knew we needed (rugs, curtains, desk). Grant was definitely of the opinion that we didn’t need much, but once he saw it all priced out on the board it was a much easier sell :)
African and animal touches in the living room.
Since we’ve settled in to the place, we’ve figured out more of our joint style. Because Grant is South African, he likes anything that has an African flair. Our living room rug accomplishes this for him because it’s patterned; while for me it just seems like a trendy chevron rug. I also like (ok, love) animals and will gladly include anything animal-themed in the apartment.
Love this bar set up in their dining room. Also love how it plays off the design of the rug.
Were there any things that one of you said ABSOLUTELY NOT about? 
Grant nixed a lamp I found on OneKingsLane because he said it looked like a purse and was too girly. I also tried to sneak in some (admittedly very girly) plates which he vetoed.

What are your top 2 favorite things in the apartment? (Both answer)
Sophie: leather couch, living room rug
Grant: leather couch, bed
The amazing leather couch.
Any design tips?
Do research and understand how much things cost so you can find good deals. I knew, for example, when I saw our leather couch at a consignment store that it was a good deal because I know couches usually cost the same as a flight to Europe (sigh). Similarly, Ikea is hell on earth but can be great for items you know you’ll upgrade later in life. (The real tip there is that you should NEVER assemble Ikea furniture with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Fights will ensue and someone will say something they can’t take back.)

The well-balanced bedroom.
Also, don’t rush into any purchases. Obviously you can’t live for long without a bed or couch, but don’t buy anything just to check it off your shopping list; you’ll end up either paying too much or buying something on sale that you don’t love. I scoured Gilt home, OneKingsLane and for months for rugs and ended up getting three for under $500.

Finally, counter to the above advice, invest in nice bedding. Always.

Great couple with great style right?! Special thanks to them for opening up their home and special thanks to Christy Lottie for her photography skills!


  1. They have a great apartment, thanks for sharing. And LOL about putting together Ikea stuff with your significant other...So True!
    xo, Chelsea


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