Welcome to Room Envy, a series where we ask interesting people about a favorite room in their house. From minimalist living rooms to vibrant kitchens, we’re zeroing in on the best features of the most enviable rooms.
Architectural designer Madelynn Ringo has helped conceptualize some of the buzziest retail spaces and exhibits in New York City—from Glossier and Bala to the Museum of Ice Cream—with millennial-friendly, endlessly Instagrammable interiors that make people want to stay and browse for awhile. When it came to outfitting her Brooklyn studio apartment with sweeping views of the Williamsburg waterfront, the founder and creative director of Ringo Studios similarly had to think outside the box with vibrant color schemes, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and foldable midcentury-modern furniture to fill the 350-square-foot space.
Creating one functional live-work area in such a small space certainly had its limitations. For starters, there’s no couch. “I’ve been living in New York for three years now without one, which is very interesting,” she adds. Tight spaces can also easily collect clutter, so Madelynn maximized her wall space with a 12-foot-long wardrobe system that runs the length of the main room, concealed with custom linen drapery. Taking a page from her retail design book, she even infused her apartment with color and pizazz in the form of vibrant hue lights—plus a hanging mirror ball pendant—that transform living here into its own “capital E” Experience.
Coming from an architectural background, Madelynn “always wanted to try doing my own thing and pushing the boundaries of what a degree in architecture could provide as a creative profession.” Now she notes that she’s still doing the same problem solving, spatial thinking, and narrative building, except through the lens of a brand. As a nod to her fellow architecture school grads with passions beyond the job, she also displays a collection of visual art from friends and colleagues that have trained as architects but have since explored other mediums.
The biggest headache of all with setting up the tight-knit space were the two floor-length mirrors that Madelynn installed on either side of two nine-foot tall windows—sans contractor—to play off light reflections from the broad windows and create the illusion of having a corner unit. “I thought to myself, ‘I install mirrors in stores all the time. This is no big deal,’” she recalls. Six backbreaking hours later of getting the piece of glass in the door, installing Z clips to maintain the shape, and securing each piece on the wall, they were finally in place. “It was a very wild process that nearly killed me, but they’ve made it for three years, so there you go,” she laughs.