This 800-square-foot maximalist apartment is filled with vintage treasures

“The key to a maximalist space is that it has to be worked in a certain way — everything has to feel intentional,” says Alex Bass, an emerging art world enthusiast and proud self-proclaimed maximalist. “When things start to get messy, I know to take it back immediately.” This was one of the biggest challenges for her move earlier this year. It would be her first time sharing a space with her partner, James, and building a house together. “Before everything was unpacked, I was absolutely nervous,” adds James. “It looked like an endless amount of stuff.”

Shop the look of the house here

Fortunately for Alex, assembling “things” has become not just a hobby, but a career. During the pandemic, downtown New York vintage hot spot Treasures of NYC asked her to design their SoHo showroom after seeing her infectious interior style on Instagram. Since the project happened at the same time as her own move, it offered many good purchasing opportunities, as well as experience in creating a shared space.

“I was so rebellious back then, totally sick of minimalism and cool tones,” Alex shares. And it shows: the first changes made to the apartment were to give it an unmistakable identity. “I wanted to pay tribute to the building. It had a deep cherry floor, very 1970s.” To play on this in a contemporary way, a textured gold wallpaper lines the entrance hallway. “It’s fun, it’s grounding and picks up on the warm light and the paintings,” she adds. Other early additions included re-tiling the kitchen and replacing the hardware – quick and inexpensive fixes that made it feel like home right away.

Alex's collection of bar accessories is on display at the vintage disco tiki bar she found in Miami with her partner.

Alex’s collection of bar accessories is on display at the vintage disco tiki bar she found in Miami with her partner.

Megan Marina

Alex poses with her vintage barware and an old issue of Architectural Digest.  In the corner is a melting disco ball sculpture by Kelly Wearstler.

As for the furniture, many of her pieces found new life during the move, like the modular couch that was a fixture in her previous home and expanded to become the centerpiece in Alex and James’ new living room. Other items were bought together, like a disco tiki bar, which grounds the corner of the living room to showcase a swoon-worthy collection of vintage glassware. The pair ventured to a carriage house outside of Miami to pick it up from a vintage retailer in the middle of nowhere. “It’s mid-century tropical, and that includes both of us,” Alex declares, pointing out that James grew up in part in Hawaii and they’re both fans of the design style.

“I grew up with ABC Carpet [& Home] with my mother, and I found this wrought-iron bookshelf in one of the clean-ups,” says Alex.  Many of the trinkets, objects and books were found at Portobello Market in London.

“I grew up with ABC Carpet [& Home] with my mother, and I found this wrought-iron bookshelf in one of the clean-ups,” says Alex. Many of the trinkets, objects and books were found at Portobello Market in London.

Megan Marina

The breakfast nook sofa is sourced from Wayfair and repainted by Alex.  It is upholstered in Kelly Wearstler fabric, which was sewn into couch cushions by her grandmother.

The breakfast nook sofa is sourced from Wayfair and repainted by Alex. It is upholstered in Kelly Wearstler fabric, which was sewn into couch cushions by her grandmother.

Megan Marina

Despite the countless details that exude charm in every inch of the 800-square-foot apartment, it’s the art that really sets the space apart. It’s another part of the house that’s not just for fun (although it’s incredibly fun), but it’s also work. As the founder of artist consultancy Salon 21, the 26-year-old’s apartment is just as much a gallery space to showcase the artists she collects, collaborates with, and genuinely admires. Mixed in are personal relics, such as black and white photography taken by her and James as one of their hobbies; as well as special vintage finds like a Monet poster found on a subway platform.

The burl wood drop-down cabinet is an Etsy find.

The burl wood drop-down cabinet is an Etsy find.

Megan Marina

The night before the apartment was photographed, something didn’t feel right, so Alex spent the entire evening rearranging her gallery wall. It’s one of the reasons the whole space feels like an artful study in the curation of maximalism: ever-changing for work and ever-growing with vintage treasures and collectibles; packed with stuff, but never too much, because it’s all covertly intentional.

The bedroom is a serene place.

The bedroom is a serene place.

Megan Marina

Shop it out:

Cesca chair without armrests with wicker seat and back

$1065.00, Tuber

Felicia Pine breakfast nook dining set

$630.00 Wayfair

Courtly Check enamel serving bowl

$78.00, Mackenzie-Childs

Ripple Bench by Laurinda Spear

$3995.00, Etsy

Avalon Rattan Bar

$999.00, CB2

Square brass wine rack

$90.00, West Elm

Dusen Dusen check bed linen

$225.00, design at your fingertips

Rice paper shade

$89.00, HAY

Originally published on Architectural Digest

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