Emma & Her Home
Creating a livable, cozy space in a cavernous open concept apartment isn’t easy, but musician, Emma Kate, certainly makes it look so! Her home is the antithesis of cold industrial style. Instead, it exudes a welcoming warmth that invites lounging and intimate conversation over anything from a gourmet meal to a bowl of Emma’s favorite macaroni and cheese.
With the help of Bunny Williams Design pro, Elizabeth Swartz, Emma was able to make the most of the one-of-a-kind architectural features in her New York City apartment. Exposed brick walls were highlighted and turned into rich backdrops for her art collection, while chunky original columns helped add a feeling of separation to the extra open space.
Elizabeth’s clever space planning and Emma’s love for pattern and color have been combined to create a home that feels fresh and ‘in tune’ with the young songwriter’s fresh aesthetic. See the full tour of Emma’s sensational SoHo oasis below!
Tell us about your space! How did you find it, and how long have you lived there?
I was actually studying abroad in Paris, and my brother called to tell me the apartment below his was available! It was perfect timing, and there is no better inspiration than springtime in Paris! I have now been here about a year and a half.
What are your favorite spots to visit when you just need to get out of the house?
I went to New York University, so I love walking over to Washington Square Park. On my way, I love to grab yogurt at Chobani. More often than not, I find myself running into Zara or Olive & Bettes, where I actually had my first job in high school!
How did you manage to create such a cohesive, cozy look in your wide, open-concept space?
I am Moroccan, so I love prints and patterns, which can get a little out of control sometimes. With the help of my designer Elizabeth Swartz, at Bunny Williams Design, I reined it in a bit, and she helped me find a balance of all the fabrics I wanted to use while staying on Earth! It was definitely a challenge making such an open loft not feel like a furniture showroom, so I used the original columns as dividers. I am one of five children in my family, so I have always lived in an organized mess, while my Type A personality keeps my home neat. I am not a coaster person. I like my home to feel lived in.
I have found that making time for friends and family, no matter how busy work gets, is essential. Being surrounded by those I love genuinely lifts me up.
What do you love most about being a musician? Why did you decide to pursue a career in this area?
Being from such a large family, music always gave me a way to distinguish myself. As a songwriter, one of your jobs is to pull inspiration from anyone and anything around you, and find a way to make that relatable. I like that challenge, and I enjoy looking for bridges across the board through music. I love uploading short videos on my Instagram on a rainy day to keep people interested while I’m working on more long-term projects.
Stripes or polka dots?
Les deux, ensemble!
How do you practice self-care?
Everyone in my family makes fun of me, but I always say I need at least 10 hours of sleep a night! Aside from the obvious—eating well and exercising—I have found that making time for friends and family, no matter how busy work gets, is essential. Being surrounded by those I love genuinely lifts me up.
When you eat out, where do you usually go?
As I mentioned before, I love Chobani, otherwise my friends and I like to keep it casual at this really cute Italian place down the street called Il Corallo Trattoria, or if you want an Insta-worthy spot, the Little Prince is super cute.
What’s your favorite thing to cook at home?
My favorite thing to cook is Annie’s Homegrown macaroni and cheese! I am admittedly a horrible cook, but I make a mean bowl of cereal; the milk-to-cereal ratio is key!
You’ve only got 30 minutes to exercise! What do you do?
I go for a run outside! Thirty minutes of cardio gets me sweating, and being outside always boosts my energy—even in the cold!
My friends and I almost never eat at the dining room table—we are always curled up on the couch and the hanging chair, seamless in hand, watching sappy movies!
What are two or three things you incorporate into your routine to help you live a healthier lifestyle?
I try to run (outdoors) a minimum of three days a week, I allow myself a little candy here and there so that I don’t go crazy and binge, and always make sure to get enough sleep!
What’s the key to a perfectly made bed in your opinion?
Bed making is actually one of my secret talents. I am obsessed with pillows! My old roommate recently moved to San Francisco, and when I came to visit she said, “I need an Emma Kate bed makeover please!” I like to go all out—fitted sheet folded down about a quarter over the top of the quilt, four regular pillows, with a fluffy or printed duvet at the foot of the bed. Then I like to have at least four throw pillows—maybe six!
What’s your favorite room in your home?
My favorite “room” would have to be the living room! My friends and I almost never eat at the dining room table—we are always curled up on the couch and the hanging chair, Seamless in hand, watching sappy movies!
Tell us about the gorgeous art in your living room! Where did you source everything?
The large prints are actually on loan to me from my big sister (she doesn’t have room in her home for them)! The Hillary Clinton print is by Chuck Close and was from an auction that was held in support of Hillary’s campaign. Otherwise, I typically find works on One Kings Lane, and recently picked something up from the Affordable Arts Fair in NYC!
I am one of five children in my family, so I have always lived in an organized mess, while my Type A personality keeps my home neat. I am not a coaster person. I like my home to feel lived in.
Favorite New York moment: go!
It’s so hard to pick just one. New York City can feel alienating at times, but living downtown I almost always bump into someone I know! One time, while sitting outside at JG Melon on MacDougal Street, I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in almost six years! We pulled a chair over and had a great dinner.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to young creatives looking to make a name for themselves in New York City?
Don’t be shy, and always be prepared. No matter how big or small the opportunity, always treat it like your final exam. The best advice my mom ever gave me was, “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt said that, and I try to live my life by that motto!