A Brooklyn Artist Infuses Her 1,000-Square-Foot Apartment With Her Signature “Pantone-Punk” Style
For artist Lizzy Plapinger, the apartment was kismet. She’d almost given up hope of finding a suitable spot for her needs and aesthetic—a within-budget space big enough to create her work in and enough of a blank canvas to put her stamp on the interior (plus an amenable landlord). But the way she got her floor-through, 1,000-square-foot railroad-style rental was the stuff of New York legend.
"I got a text out of the blue from my friend Kelsey, and she sends me a picture of the outside of this house," says Lizzy. The photo showed a townhome on a block of otherwise unassuming row houses that stood out for its electric-blue facade with yellow-painted window trims and blocky, hand-painted sign reading, SKEWVILLE. "I go to Instagram because I’m curious," Lizzy says. "It’s a Tuesday. [The owner] is showing it Saturday. I message him immediately.
The owner is an artist, Adam Deville, who goes by Skewville professionally and lives on the building’s basement level. He rents out the first and second floors as separate units and works out of a backyard studio. When he and Lizzy connected about the available second-floor unit, the two artists clicked immediately. "I heard her excitement over the phone. That was an instant connection," he says. Deville supported Lizzy’s making stylistic changes to the apartment: "She just elevated what we already started."
While Lizzy knows the hyper maximalist aesthetic isn’t for everyone, even a devout minimalist would concede that her use of colorful graphics—like the black swirling patterns on a wall in the kitchen or the hallway floors with geometric steppingstones cut from colored vinyl—has been deployed with consideration. "I want my home to be this very earnest and accurate reflection of my personality, how I see the world," Lizzy says. "Especially as you get older and your taste is more finite, I really don’t believe you need to have a ton of money to create a space that means something to you—but you do need a point of view and creativity."
"It’s like a monster that’s feeding itself as you’re working on it. Every element is having a conversation with itself."
—Lizzy Plapinger, resident
Lizzy’s eclectic DIY touches are every-where in her space. One standout piece is a repurposed Ikea dresser in an ante-chamber of the apartment that Lizzy repainted with circles and squares in cheery hues of magenta, cobalt blue, and orange covering every surface, "like chic Willy Wonka," she says. "It’s solving a puzzle, essentially. You’re like, How do I make this look good? These are the constraints I have to work with."
The philosophy that less is more, but more is better permeates the apartment; the TV stand (filched from an ex-boyfriend) is decked out with black-and-white checkers and squares of primary colors that complement a vintage medicine cabinet in the corner with a pattern evoking folk art on psychedelics. Lizzy’s specific vision and well-honed eye make her an excellent thrifter. A large orange Montis Aztec couch that she found for a song on Facebook Marketplace recedes into the living room, functioning almost as a neutral. "My grandmother would’ve one hundred percent owned this couch," Lizzy says. "She’s like a style icon for me. She would’ve fucking rocked this orange." It’s by either coincidence or circumstance that the majority of the pieces in Lizzy’s apartment are hand-me-downs or street finds. "Anything that I’ve painted in this apartment, I had already," she says. "Is that me being creative or frugal or maybe both?
Interiors: Lizzy Plapinger aka LPX
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