Apartment tour: 1BR in Hell's Kitchen

Home-decor entrepreneur Bradford Shellhammer pours his whimsical personality into his sleek Manhattan pad.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Informed by his training as a furniture sales rep and his graduate fashion-design degree from Parsons, 35-year-old Bradford Shellhammer has developed a graphic, modern aesthetic that emphasizes vibrant hues and texture. "I love color," he says. "I think when you have every shade, it works. You don't have to think about themes." His Technicolor approach is evident in every aspect of his 900-square-foot apartment, which he's rented with his boyfriend, Georgi Balinov, for the past year and a half. Though he spends much of his time at work---Shellhammer cofounded design-driven flash-sale site Fab.com this June---he still managed to infuse his home with his energetic disposition. One piece that epitomizes his color-centric philosophy is the living room's felted wool rug, a piece created by Barcelona designer Nani Marquina (nanimarquina.com). "When you have a lot of color and texture, it hides dirt," he reveals. "Also, I like to entertain, but we don't have a lot of square footage, so I wanted to choose a rug that would invite people to sit down on it."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    The e-commerce guru arranges his literature, fashion and design tomes chromatically, noting that he seems to have an unintentional aversion to brown books. Equally bold are the old-school posters that flank his bookshelf. "My boyfriend is from Bulgaria, and when we were there a few summers ago, we went searching for vintage posters," he recalls. "We found a lot of advertisements and propaganda. I've always been drawn to the graphic treatments in socialist and communist art because I think they're really beautiful."

     

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    "I love pieces that have stories," the avid collector notes. "Everything is either by someone I know or is something I love for a specific reason." The violet hexagon-quilted couch, for instance, is another Fab.com purchase that Shellhammer became enamored with and wanted for himself. "It's from a Spanish company called Sancal (sancal.com), and I just thought, Who wouldn't jump at a purple sofa? It almost looks like it should be on a spaceship." Accent pillows enliven the sitting area even further. The two flower-shaped examples are also from Sancal, while the needlepoint Liza Minnelli likeness is from Jonathan Adler (locations throughout the city; visit jonathanadler.com). Shellhammer had the leftmost pillow custom-created by textile manufacturer Maharam (maharam.com) from a circle-patterned fabric designed by Dutch artist Hella Jongerius (jongeriuslab.com).

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    A pair of zodiac posters hang above the mod love seat---one representing Shellhammer's sign (Gemini) and the other representing his boyfriend's (Scorpio). "My friend Leslie Simboli's parents, Joe and Gerry, are graphic designers (simbolidesign.com), and in 1969, they released a poster series of the astrological symbols," he says. "I have all 12, and my dream is to have a house where I have enough wall space to put up all of them in one room."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Shellhammer admits that the stellar view of the Hudson River from his fifty-second-floor perch is what convinced him to sign the lease. Positioned in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows is one of Herman Miller's iconic midcentury Eames chairs, accented with a Gunnar Andersen pillow from Maharam. A pile of throws that recall his family and world travels sit next to his corner retreat. "My mother knit me this blanket for Christmas last year," he says, pointing to the bottom wool blanket. The colorful striped piece is a souvenir from his first trip to India, while the topmost basket-weave throw is from Reykjavik, Iceland. "It's funny because they sell it as a women's dress and jacket; you can put your head and arms through the holes," he notes as he demonstrates how to wear the garment. "I just use it as a blanket, though, because I love the colors." Seven succulents in square vases---all procured from the Flower District---add a hint of greenery, while a pair of storage boxes from the Container Store (locations throughout city; visit containerstore.com) complement the orange and yellow tones in Shellhammer's rug.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Though he rarely eats at home, Shellhammer enjoys cooking and keeps his kitchen filled with sleek accoutrements, including a stainless-steel cocktail set and water pitcher by noted Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. In addition to these luxe tools, the entrepreneur also favors creative-yet-utilitarian objects from Ikea (1 Beard St at Otsego St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-246-4532, ikea.com), such as his carved-wood salt-and-pepper mills. Many of his vintage plates and cups hail from India and Iceland, but Shellhammer also stocks up on funky dishware from Fishs Eddy (889 Broadway at E 19th St; 212-420-9020, fishseddy.com).

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Shellhammer's whimsical auto-rickshaw mugs are from Pune, India. "I got four of them for like $2 apiece at a store called Either Or (eitheror.in), which is sort of similar in concept to Fab.com," he says. "They work with local artisans and create a storefront where they can sell their wares."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Brooklyn designer Sarah Cihat (sarahcihat.com) created these so-called rehabilitated dishes. Using old ceramic plates purchased from thrift stores, Cihat paints funky designs and shapes over the original patterns, then refires the dishware in her kiln.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    "My boyfriend asked that we have one room that's not full of color," explains Shellhammer of the bedroom's muted palette. "It's the safest room in the apartment [designwise]." Lithographs from artist Jim Winters' (jimwinters.com) "Fabulous Nobodies" series hang on either side of the West Elm bed (locations throughout city; visit westelm.com). "It was about people who don't have mainstream fame, but are the most fabulous people in their own certain circles," says Shellhammer. "The one on the left is Amanda Lepore and the one on the right is a San Francisco drag queen named Heklina."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Another iconic decor piece---Eero Saarinen's Womb chair from Knoll (knoll.com)---sits in the corner of Shellhammer's bedroom. "The design mission was to make a chair that someone could basically curl up in a ball inside of, which is where it gets its name," he explains. "It's too big for this apartment, but I love it. You really can sit in it any way you like." Shellhammer cuddles up to an Alexander Girard-print pillow from Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com).

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Vintage antiwar posters by Joe and Gerry Simboli are tacked above Shellhammer's blue ombre dressers from modern-furniture company Blu Dot (140 Wooster St between W Houston and Prince Sts; 212-780-9058, bludot.com), where he worked as a sales manager. The storage units also serve as a display area for two sets of nesting dolls from India---a nod to his love of birds.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Shellhammer's home office also acts as a gallery for his extensive poster collection. Among the works on view are a Bob Dylan profile by Milton Glazer; a Liza Minnelli ad from a Hollywood Bowl concert; and a silkscreen by artist and School of Visual Arts professor James Victore called Goodbye New York, a commentary on "the Disneyfication of 42nd Street," according to Shellhammer. Many were given to him by the artists themselves, but Shellhammer has also found some of the unique works on eBay. For his workspace, the entrepreneur uses a white table from Blu Dot, an Emeco/Coca-Cola chair (emecowithcoke.com) and an Eames aluminum management chair by Herman Miller (hermanmiller.com).

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    One of Shellhammer's favorite items to gift friends with is Always Ask a Man: The Key to Femininity by Arlene Dahl, which he often finds on eBay. "It was published in 1965, and it's totally ridiculous," he says with a laugh. "She was one of those people  whole life was spent on talk shows and game shows; I guess she'd been akin to a reality-television star of today---like a Kardashian. But the best part is that it has all this advice from famous Hollywood actors about what they think [women should be like], and they're all gay! It's hilarious in hindsight."The book rests in front of a vintage 1960s lamp Shellhammer found on eBay, and a Missoni bowl filled with sunglasses and glass bangles from India.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    "Everywhere I go, I buy a toy so I have some memory of the place," says the Baltimore native of his massive assemblage of 1,000 trinkets. The motley tchotchke crew includes a Tippi Hedren The Birds Barbie (given to him by a friend after a mini Hitchcock marathon), a tiny Amanda Lepore statuette from KidRobot, and a RuPaul doll from a friend who created the drag queen's television show. "If these all came to life, it'd be a fun party," he jokes.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    When asked to choose a few of his favorite toys, Shellhammer hesitates, then ultimately settles on these six, which he poses on his Eero Saarinen coffee table. In addition to the miniature Lepore, Shellhammer selects a stitched fabric mouse from Sri Lanka, a Keith Haring--designed mouse, a talking Pee-wee Herman figurine, a collectible Karl Lagerfeld doll by Visionaire, a yarn hairdo purchased in Paris and a small plastic model of Shellhammer himself made by a friend. "They all have stories or bring me back to a certain place or moment in time."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    For this frame in the hallway near his bedroom, Shellhammer assembled photo-booth pictures of himself with his boyfriend and pals from the group's annual trip to Palm Springs.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    A Harry Allen for Areaware white ceramic pig, scooped up at Moss (152 Greene St between Houston and Prince Sts; 212-204-7100, mossonline.com), peeks out from underneath the bathroom sink and fills the otherwise-hollow space. The graphic Izola (izolashower.com) shower curtain was yet another Fab.com score.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    Shellhammer came across the illustrations of Barcelona artist David Gmez Maestre (davidgomezmaestre.com) while poking around on Facebook. He loved Maestre's graphic, tribal style so much that he commissioned two pieces: one of himself and one of Balinov.

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    A brightly colored Kikkerland clock shares the wall with equally vibrant artwork created by Shellhammer himself. "For these, I mixed paint and applied it to giant sheets of paper and put them away for months. When I took them back out, I cut them into various shapes with scissors and blades and then rearranged the shapes," he explains. "I made 100 mini collage paintings, and I gave them to people as gifts in a cute little envelope. The heart, though, I made for my boyfriend."

  • Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

    A crisp white Ikea table and yellow chairs from a Los Angeles restaurant---another eBay score---make up the dining area. Shellhammer displays a vintage Bulgarian propaganda poster on the wall next to his handmade collages.

Photograph: Jessica Sokolowski

Informed by his training as a furniture sales rep and his graduate fashion-design degree from Parsons, 35-year-old Bradford Shellhammer has developed a graphic, modern aesthetic that emphasizes vibrant hues and texture. "I love color," he says. "I think when you have every shade, it works. You don't have to think about themes." His Technicolor approach is evident in every aspect of his 900-square-foot apartment, which he's rented with his boyfriend, Georgi Balinov, for the past year and a half. Though he spends much of his time at work---Shellhammer cofounded design-driven flash-sale site Fab.com this June---he still managed to infuse his home with his energetic disposition. One piece that epitomizes his color-centric philosophy is the living room's felted wool rug, a piece created by Barcelona designer Nani Marquina (nanimarquina.com). "When you have a lot of color and texture, it hides dirt," he reveals. "Also, I like to entertain, but we don't have a lot of square footage, so I wanted to choose a rug that would invite people to sit down on it."

Love the look? Get it here!

Chisholm Larsson (145 Eighth Ave between 17th and 18th Sts; 212-741-1703, chisholm-poster.com)
Shellhammer often gets inspiration from this shop, which stocks all manner of original vintage posters. Movie buffs can find pieces from their favorite foreign flicks, while Broadway enthusiasts can collect advertisements from the Great White Way.

Housing Works (locations throughout city; visit housingworks.org)
These donation-based stores are Shellhammer's go-to spots for vintage finds. Depending on the outpost, merchandise might range from antique radios and steamer trunks from the early 20th century to bronze-cast book ends and modern glass vases.

Paul Smith (locations throughout city; visit paulsmith.com) Though most people know this store for its dapper men's clothing, Shellhammer favors the retailer for its other wares. "It's an eclectic mix of all different kinds of things—some vintage, some new," he notes. "There's humor, pattern, texture.... It shows that style transcends the clothes you wear; it's also the life you live. You spend ten minutes in there and walk out thinking, I want to buy globes, or I want checkered wallpaper. I have a hard time leaving those shops without being inspired."

See more Apartment tours

More in Shopping + Style

Users say

0 comments