"When I first saw this apartment, it felt like this place knew exactly what we needed," Keri Glassman says of her New York City residence. "The previous owners had two young kids—also a boy and a girl—so moving my kids in felt like a continuation of what this home could do."
As the founder of Nutritious Life, Keri has long been advising others on how to cultivate and sustain healthy habits in all of their daily concerns—from work and relationships to sleep and exercise. She’s a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition from New York University, and she’s written four bestselling books on the subject. Not only does her home embody her lifestyle, but it’s also a case study in how thoughtful living can help families weather a pandemic.
"My approach to healthy living focuses on eight pillars, and the one I really wanted to focus on in my home was ‘live consciously.’ It was important for me to be at peace with my surroundings, and to have them nurture my mental health," she says. "I was looking for an apartment with enough room to be separate but together."
The one she found on the Upper East Side seemed to fit that mold. It’s in the same neighborhood where her teenagers Rex and Maizy had gone to school when they were younger, and offers enough space for Keri and her boyfriend Ken Slotnick to stay out of their way. "The previous owners had already done the hard work of combining two apartments to create three bedrooms," she says. "It was laid out in a way that was best for Rex and Maizy’s privacy, too: The kitchen and living room are down the hall from the bedrooms."
The 1,950-square-foot apartment’s biggest selling point, however, was the large den that Keri recognized as a rare flexible space. "In New York City, apartments typically only have bedrooms for sleeping, kitchens for eating, and living spaces where everyone goes to relax," she says. "I saw the den as a place that didn’t have a designated label."
Shop the Look
Once she got the keys in August 2018, Keri hired longtime friend and designer Margaret Costello to focus on maximizing the den’s potential while also updating the kitchen and primary bedroom over a three-month timeline. "We built a wall with a pocket door to divide the den into two spaces: one for Ken and me, and one for the kids," she says. "After working or gathering in the kitchen or living space, it’s nice to come in here alone and check out with a movie, or a book, or a meditation."
This adults-only den is awash in a moody blue, a departure from the rest of the home’s more neutral palette. Keri wanted the home to be bright, clean, and efficient—which best describes the kitchen where she does a lot of work—but she asked for this space to embrace the fact that it was naturally dark. "The den doesn’t have any windows, so I liked that its palette would be a clear contrast to the rest of the home’s airier feel," she says. "It almost feels like a hiding spot."
Since the pandemic began, Keri has been especially in tune with how her home either positively or negatively impacts her mood. For instance, she makes use of the existing storage built-ins in the living room to ensure that the area stays clean, leading to lower stress levels, and does the same with the addition of floating nightstands in the primary bedroom. Aside from keeping spaces mostly clutter-free, she’s also filled her pantry with non-processed food and made healthy items look extra desirable.
"Storing vegetables inside a bin in the fridge makes them easy to forget, so I like placing them in glass bowls on the shelves," she says. "Every vegetable looks tastier in a glass bowl." Lastly, she upholds a sleep schedule that allows her to wind down at least a half-hour before bed, and keeps soy-based candles and diffusers around to set a relaxing mood.
"When adults want to put a child to sleep, they don’t get the child all excited and then turn off the lights. We read them a bedtime story, dim the lights, and let the kid slowly get ready for bed," she says. "Adults need the same care."
Keri acknowledges that it’s a privilege to consider her apartment a sanctuary, and to be in the position to offer these healthy living tips in the midst of a pandemic. But she also wants to put her 20 years of experience to good use, especially now when striking a balance seems more difficult than ever.
"I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is that healthy living comes easier if you think about it throughout the day, rather than as something you tack on to whatever you’re already doing," she says. "Even small steps toward a healthier life can become habits, from keeping your electronics outside of your bed tonight to eating a good breakfast in the morning. Over time, these choices can have big, positive results."
Get the Renovations Newsletter
From warehouse conversions to rehabbed midcentury gems, to expert advice and budget breakdowns, the renovation newsletter serves up the inspiration you need to tackle your next project.