Apartment tour: Studio in Chelsea

Flea market finds and vintage goods from eBay transform this fashion photographer's pad into a Grecian shrine.

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  • Fiberglass caryatids (left), classically installed at ceiling height to give...

  • "I burn sage and essential-oil candles at least once a day," says Menendez of...

  • Zodiac signs "in their proper, natural order," according to Menendez, were...

  • Menendez won this ornate tiled table, whose rim depicts the signs of the...

  • Bacchus shows his face in this 1930s chandelier from Spain, which Menendez...

  • Menendez bought the headboard off of eBay and had it reupholstered with vintage...

  • "Clouds are a delicate issue, because it can look very cheesy," says Menendez...

  • The feathers flanking the Lladr figurine of Greek god Pan were collected off...

  • Placed on one of several "altars" strewn throughout Menendez's apartment is a...

  • Elison used Bisazza Italian glass tiles for the kitchen floor and inlaid...

  • "I wanted the whole apartment to have this otherworldly feeling, but here...

  • Prepare to be greeted in the bathroom by this ceramic cheetah. "Cats are...

  • Black-and-white photos of Menendez's grandmother and himself as a child rest in...

  • "This painting came from Housing Works and I didn't know what the history was,"...

  • The only evidence of Menendez's profession is a photograph of burlesque...

  • The white ceramic bust is actually an ornate rum bottle from the 1950s. "It...

Fiberglass caryatids (left), classically installed at ceiling height to give...

As a fashion and beauty photographer and avid traveler, Steven Menendez's work (stevenmenendez.com) has taken him all over the world—and yet he's never been to Greece. That's probably because he doesn't need to go: He can experience that country's culture without leaving his studio. "There's definitely a Grecian-temple theme going on," he says of the 500-square-foot space. "I wanted to create a serene environment that would be uplifting and peaceful. It's basically an honor to all the gods and goddesses, because I've always loved the deities of different religions around the world." Menendez purchased his prewar apartment in 2007 and, over the course of a year, renovated it with his friend Greg Elison, an architect and designer. He then outfitted every cranny with vintage decor sourced from eBay and the flea market at West 25th Street (between Broadway and Sixth Ave, hellskitchenfleamarket.com; Sat, Sun 9am--6pm). "I go there every weekend I'm in town," he says. "If I'm traveling, I'll go to thrift stores." His aesthetic has two primary sources: the Grecian-looking Belvedere Guest House in Fire Island (belvederefireisland.com) and Menendez's own blood. "My grandmother decorated in this manner," he says, "so she was an inspiration."

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Greg Elison (917-715-6567, gregelison77@gmail.com)
Menendez collaborated with his friend, architect and designer Elison, on nearly every structural detail in the apartment.

The Garage (112 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, hellskitchenfleamarket.com);
Hell's Kitchen Flea Market (W 39th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves);
West 25th Street Flea Market (W 25th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave)
Menendez loves his fleas, and names these as his favorites. "They're awesome, inspirational and exciting!" he enthuses. "The vendors are all very friendly and open to bargaining, which can make shopping a fun adventure."

Showplace Antique + Design Center (40 W 25th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-633-6063, nyshowplace.com)
"[Showplace] can be a little more high-end but has amazing stuff," says Menendez. Browse the online catalogs, attend a live auction or just wander through the store: It sells everything from tribal masks to chandeliers.

City Opera Thrift Shop (222 E 23rd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-684-5344, nycopera.com)
Menendez likes this store's "small but nice selection of handpicked vintage"; proceeds benefit the costume department of the New York City Opera.

Salvation Army Thrift Store (208 Eighth Ave between 20th and 21st Sts; 212-929-5214, salvationarmyusa.org)
As with most Salvation Armies and Goodwills, it's hit-and-miss—but still worth a try.

Housing Works Thrift Shop (143 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 718-838-5050, shophousingworks.com)
Though it can be pricier than other thrift shops, Menendez says the selection at this Chelsea outpost of Housing Works is a knockout.

Brulhardt Brothers (212-829-8330)
Menendez hired Rob and Jan Brulhardt of this third-generation, family-run business to reupholster his headboard and sofa—and loved the results. The duo also offers custom window treatments.

Roger Bailey (917-239-7075)
Menendez is a big fan of Bailey, a contractor who also did the carpentry for all his moldings and woodwork.

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