The ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR and INTERIOR DESIGNER tells us about her LOWER EAST SIDE APARTMENT, her latest VENTURES, and where to buy FURNITURE in NEW YORK…
Tullamore transplant Fiona Byrne is something of a native New Yorker, having made the city her home 13 years ago. “I used to work in magazines in Dublin covering fashion, beauty and entertainment,” she says. “When I moved out here, I began contributing to The New York Times, New York Magazine, Nylon and more before becoming East Coast editor of NME and focusing on music. I then co-founded the fashion/lifestyle site www.naag.com [with model Agyness Deyn] and a couple of years later my own site, www.byrnenotice.com. I gradually started to move into interiors as a room stylist for Teen Vogue and loved that, so I started www.roomersmag.com, which is my interiors site.”
Byrne is also a contributing interiors editor for cult site www.thecoveteur.com, where she finds interesting spaces to photograph. Such is her eye for interiors that last summer she was commissioned to redesign the rooms at the hip Surf Lodge hotel in Montauk and she’s currently designing an East Village apartment, which features on a before and after series on www.thecoveteur.com. “It’s nice that my decorating work is featured in Architectural Digest and such, I never in a million years thought that would be the case,” she says.
On the Lower East Side, Byrne has found the perfect apartment. Although small and noisy, it has windows in every room, including the bathroom. “It’s south facing so it’s really bright too. These are very important things in New York. It’s mostly white because I love minimal. When I first moved to this neighbourhood it was all bands and skinny jeans and small venues. Now it’s fancy restaurants and hotels. I’m not mad at that – I like nice wine.”
For unique furniture and homewares without the eye-watering price tag, Byrne recommends Adaptations and Porter James in Brooklyn. “I also like Design Within Reach and The Future Perfect. And Lee Broom just opened a store in Soho – his lights are beyond. Coming Soon in Chinatown has really, really nice stuff too.
Although she would like to eventually spend more time in Ireland, ideally in “a white thatched cottage with a red front door,” she is not prepared to give up her current lifestyle. Her most New York moment so far? “Probably Woody Allen making a joke in conversation with me at a party. It was like being in a movie. I was like, okay, my life has peaked. And last month I went to Marina Abramovic’s 70th birthday party at the Guggenheim. Everyone had to be totally silent and wear noise-cancelling headphones for 70 minutes until a gong sounded. You never know what you’re getting yourself into when you go to a party here, especially in the art world.”
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our February issue, out Thursday, February 2.
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