A Closet Grows in Brooklyn
One of the apartment's few pieces of original art, a painting by Thelma's friend Glenn Ligon, is propped on the brick mantel in the living room. A combined 22 feet of built-in shelves hold books as well as Depression-era glass, which she loves for its green color. The two-section sofa by Paola Lenti and the coffee table by Peter Mann are from Karkula.
"As much as it seems like I've never gotten rid of a book in my life, I've actually given away hundreds—especially cookbooks. To donate, check out the charity bookstores near you. I usually go to Housing Works in New York."
Thelma and Baptista's brainchild—16 feet of running closets—required the sacrifice of two and a half feet of floor space, but no matter. Behind closet door number one hang shirts and pants, with some serious shoes on shelves above and below (at least 50 pairs, mainly Prada and Sigerson Morrison). Closet number two holds suits, dresses, sweaters, and knit shirts. Number three follows with evening wear, a bridesmaid's dress saved from her best friend's wedding, six years ago, and other "sentimental stuff," such as her christening gown and the plain white dress she wore at her graduation from Smith. "If I were to make an exhibition about my life," Thelma says, "almost all my clothes would be in it."
"Tailor your space to your needs. In one closet, I have upper and lower rods for skirts, pants, and tops. The second is all shelves for bags and linens. In the third, there's just one rod for suits and dresses. To hang evening gowns, I use hooks on the ceiling."
"Consider the appliances you use regularly. If you never cook dinner for a crowd, you might not need that dishwasher. Save the space for extra storage drawers—you don't have to have the trendy drawers with a slot for every utensil."
Rich fabrics and patterns decorate her white-walled bedroom instead. Dutch designer Tord Boontje's Garland lights add a fanciful touch to a bed made with linens from Dwell and Designers Guild.
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