The Newlywed Nest: Design for Couples

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newlywed nest designThe only thing better than finding the right apartment is finding the right spouse. Or is it the other way around?

Either way, once you have both, it's time to play the real estate version of "The Newlywed Game" and face the daunting challenge of melding two homes into one. Brides magazine evidently realizes the risks involved and has joined with Ikea and interior designer Inson Dubois Wood to unveil the "Newleywed Nest" apartment at 311 East 11th St. in Manhattan.

And while the two-bedroom triplex penthouse (with a 2,000 square-foot private deck and a $3.545 million price tag) may be an anomaly for most young, just-married couples, there's much that can be learned from the show home's interior design.During the opening reception, interior designer Wood offered some clearheaded advice for any couple brave enough to share space. He even took on the hot question: what is the biggest mistake that newlyweds make in their new homes?

Answer: They bring too much stuff.

The first step in combining households is for both sides to toss out a lot before the mutual move. Simple but crucial.

"The biggest issue is bringing everything you own," Wood said. "The number-one issue is to purge as many pieces as possible, because once it's there, it's clutter." Ah, clutter, our old and not-so-dear friend.

Wood thinks clutter turns out to be tops on the list of contentious issues facing couples.

Wood, the brainchild behind another creative showroom gig last fall, understands that his job is part psychiatrist. This time around, Wood was "thinking about newlyweds," probably in their mid-20s to mid-30s, as he designed what Brides calls "The Newlywed Nest." Woods used Ikea furniture (haven't we all?), but also threw in a few beautiful accessories from his own collection.

9 PHOTOS
The Newlywed Nest
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The Newlywed Nest: Design for Couples
Designer Inson Dubois Wood says attention should be paid to an apartment's main space, especially when a new couple will do a lot of entertaining. This stunning living room is created with one bold print and sticking to mainly a red, white, and black color palate.
The kitchen meets the living area through the installation of a breakfast bar. Kitchens in The Village Green feature Energy Star-qualified appliances, including Bosch ovens and Liebherr refrigerators.
The second bedroom, as reimagined by Wood, serves more than one purpose. The space can be a media room or an office, especially since it comes with plenty of storage space. The warm-but-beautiful touch here: two dog statues Wood purchased in Shanghai—a good example of investing wisely in art.
When it comes to designing for newlyweds, Wood likes to use pairs of items. That manuever makes sense and looks good. A sun room can serve as a gorgeous gateway to outdoor space.
Yes, it's a lovely luxury for most, but if you've got it...decorate it. Wood stuck to his use of Ikea furniture to create the right look for socializing.
Personal photos are always a smart focal point for a room - why not make a gallery of your wedding (you have a professional photographer on hand for a reason!).
Wood once again uses a strong color palette in tandem with good storage and no clutter for the master bedroom.
The home of the "Newleywed Nest" apartment - 311 East 11th Street in New York's East Village.
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While the show house is open to all, it is targeted to newlyweds, soon-to-be newlyweds and, well, anyone who is thinking of shacking up. And when it comes to design for newlyweds, Wood has some other recommendations: multi-purpose furniture and pieces that will endure.

"I emphasize buying furniture that you can store stuff in," he said. That may be a pretty popular concept already here in the big city, where space is at a premium.

The East Village-based "Newlywed Nest" will be on display to the public on Saturdays and Sundays through May 2. And it's not simply a static showcase -- activities for brides and grooms are part of the housewarming. Those include wine-tastings, flower-arranging and design classes, and much more.
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