'The Apartment in Central Park'

January 2020 Issue

Meet the Home Owner:

2019 brought us some amazing features and we plan to continue that into the new decade. Our talented friend Jessica and owner of Six Eighty Eight, a lifestyle brand that combines her love for entertaining, decorating her home, thrift/vintage shopping, curating personalized gifts, pottery making, and local foodie excursions, has got the perfect space to bring us into the 2020! Read her story and see her space below.

What made you select this apartment or Durham?

Before moving to Durham, I lived in New York City for several years. My apartment there was tiny (as in my bed, minus a headboard, touched three of the four walls in my bedroom) tiny - but I loved it. I lived in the Chelsea neighborhood for years, then moved to Astoria, Queens for a while, and then finally on to Harlem. What was most common in all of the apartments that I lived in was that 1. they were all very small spaces, and 2. the neighborhoods, the moment you stepped out of the front door, were full of coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and theatres. When I decided to leave New York, I knew that I wasn’t ready for suburban life just yet, as I still wanted to have some of the same experiences that I loved having in New York - I was just ready to have them in another city. 

Once deciding that I was going to be moving to Durham, I started to look for apartments in the downtown area - close to some of the places that I really enjoyed when I used to come and visit friends. The moment I saw Liberty Warehouse Apartments online, I knew this was going to be the place that would allow me to still have a very urban experience - just in a new city. I loved the industrial history of the building, I was obsessed that it was right across the street from Durham Central Park where I could visit all of the events that go on there (specifically the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning), I was so excited to learn that all restaurants, shops, bars, coffee spots, and even my pottery studio were just a few short blocks away, and I was over the moon excited that my apartment itself was small (although massive compared to the places I lived in while in New York) and had a wonderful view of downtown Durham, which was exactly what I was looking for. Moving here has been one of the best decisions I have made. I miss New York every day, but I love it here in Durham. 

How has downtown living been like?

It’s amazing. I walk everywhere, because I can. On the weekends, I hardly ever get into the car because most everything I need is in just a few block radius to my apartment. I love the very local feel that Durham embraces so well. All of the restaurants downtown are local (minus one pesky McDonalds that for some reason hasn’t been kicked out yet) and I love that. For those that know me well, you know that I am a huge supporter of local and small businesses.

While chains and big box stores have their purpose in the world - I love that Durham remains committed to supporting small. And because I get to walk to all of these places whenever I want to, is such a bonus. In a place like New York, it’s easy to feel like the city swallows you up and you just become another one of the millions grinding day in and day out. But here, I actually feel a part of this city, and I love that.

What do you love most about this home?

That every single piece that I have in my space, I love. It is a reflection of who I am as a person, and when I walk into this space, it resonates with me, it makes me feel calm... and at home. 

What is your design philosophy?

My design philosophy is borrowed from Nate Berkus which I’ve always believed, but he says it so much better: “I believe your home tells a story about who you are and who you aspire to be. We represent ourselves through the things we own. I don’t believe in trends. I believe in collecting things that you connect with. We should surround ourselves with things we care about, that have a story, that have meaning”.

Jessica has the best view of Central Park and downtown Durham.

Who or what is your biggest design inspiration?

It’s a toss-up between Nate Berkus and Genevieve Gorder. I love their aesthetic because their homes are well designed yet looks very lived in and approachable. They both are world travelers and the moment you step into their space (as if I’ve actually stepped into their spaces, although they totally should invite me over for dinner) you feel like you too have traveled along with them. I feel like they would pour you a glass of wine and take you on a tour of their home while they relive all of their travels and special memories.

While I feel like my style is my own, I do feel that I constantly grab inspiration from both of them. On my walls, I not only have art, but found wood and metal pieces - I learned that from Nate. On my couch, I have very whimsical pillows of geese that I just adore - I learned the importance of adding a touch of whimsy to your space from Genevieve. There are many other designers that I admire, but for many many years - all the way back to the early days of the Oprah show and Trading Spaces (before HGTV), these have been my style gurus.