SoWa Sensational

A couple transforms an 831-square-foot apartment into a functional—and beautiful—pad fit for two

Graham Kostic, left, and Fran Taglia enjoy a moment on the stairway that leads to their roof deck.

WHEN GRAHAM KOSTIC MOVED IN with his partner, Fran Taglia, they knew the bachelor pad was going to need tweaking. “We wanted to make sure it was usable and had flow,” says Kostic, an art director for Rue La La. “But first, it had to look good.” By removing a wall, redoing the kitchen and bathroom, and adding unique touches, the pair created an artsy environment that matches their offbeat sense of humor. “We had a friend tell us our things are almost tacky, but we stop just before it gets there,” says Taglia.

Vertical stripes, handpainted by Taglia, heighten the space, while Thomas Paul curtains from Anthropologie add whimsy. “We painted the back wall a flat, solid color, so you don’t feel closed in by the stripes,” Taglia says.

Ruby, a stuffed bunny, sits pretty on an antique chair that the couple found on a road trip and placed in the bedroom.

The bathroom was completely gutted and redesigned with Scalamandré zebra wallpaper as the centerpiece; simple white subway tiles from Tony’s Tile balance the bold print. Kostic and Taglia also replaced an awkwardly angular shower with a transparent glass unit.

The reflections from a seven-foot-tall mirror give the illusion of more space, while floor-length cabana curtains from Pottery Barn accentuate the room’s height. Kostic used artwork, pillows, and books to add pops of color here and there.

Tibetan bells came from Kostic’s grandmother, Pee Wee Herman is a childhood toy, and printing-press blocks feature the couple’s initials. “I’m very sentimental,” says Kostic. “I’m a big believer that everything you have out should have meaning.”

All photographs by Bob O’Connor