Designer Becky Shea's Long Island City Apartment Channels Modern Cali

For Becky and Jake Shea, founder and cofounder of Becky Shea Design, decorating their Long Island City apartment was all about functionality and minimalism. "Living in New York City means we have minimal space to work with, so we approached this home with the objective that everything had to be multi-purpose," says Becky. "We're minimalists at heart and hate clutter, so we rarely bring new things into the space unless they've been procured from travels or occasions that have sentimental value." They pared back everything from the furnishings to the palette, opting for soft hues with pops of black and gray for contrast, and used a curated selection of natural materials throughout the apartment, including linen, wool, and cashmere.

Since the apartment is a rental, they couldn't make any major changes, but the couple managed to make the most of the space's existing design elements and open layout. "At first, we were nervous about having one less wall because of the large-format windows, and when you toss in the angled entryway and part of the kitchen, we really felt we needed to get creative without compromising any views," says Jake. The end result is a calm retreat that feels worlds away from the busy city just outside their windows.

gallery wall in hallway
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credit: Sean Litchfield

The entry is lined with photographs the couple took while traveling, and a vignette beside the door sets the organic tone for the rest of the apartment.

modern living room
credit: Sean Litchfield

The couple layered plenty of different textures in the living room, from the jute rug to the cashmere and alpaca pillows. The coffee table and credenza are part of the firm's upcoming furniture collection, Shea x Shea.

Living Room with plants and white couch
credit: Sean Litchfield

California was a major inspiration for the design. "We love how open, spread out, and airy everything is there, especially in L.A., and we wanted to bring a little part of that city to this space," says Jake.

bar shelf idea
credit: Sean Litchfield

The couple turned a narrow wall into a bar with I-beam–style shelves.

small open kitchen
credit: Sean Litchfield

The corner kitchen is framed by black walls, which helps separate the space visually from the open living room.

bedroom with navy walls
credit: Sean Litchfield

The couple chose deeper hues for the bedroom, mixing muted navy blue walls with black sconces from Crate and Barrel and nightstands from CB2. The woven art piece and and copper-colored throw from Area Home add warmth to the room.

navy blue bedroom corner
credit: Sean Litchfield

In a corner of the bedroom, the Sheas draped cozy throws over a ladder and a Wegner chair from DWR. They also incorporated a jute rug by Stark into the space. "We love this style rug for a number of reasons including its durability, its neutral form, and the ability to layer it with bolder piece to add drama to a space," says Becky.

marble bathroom
credit: Sean Litchfield

The minimalist vibe continues in the bathroom, which is lined with statuary marble. A vintage stool balances the modern elements.


Elizabeth Stamp

Elizabeth Stamp

Elizabeth Stamp is a freelance writer splitting her time between New York and Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and CNN Style.