Mickey Boardman, aka Mr. Mickey (PAPER'sEditorial Director), has always lived in complete chaos and clutter. Notbecause he likes it that way, but more because of his compulsion to shopand hoard stuff due to an aversion to throwing things away. Eventually,he grew to accept that living in a merry mess was his fate ... untillast month.
Drew Elliott (PAPER's VP of CreativeServices and Marketing) lives for a challenge. He specializes in, amongother things, putting together million-dollar parties for $29.99. Buthis latest -- and perhaps greatest -- task was to turn Mr. Mickey'sapartment from an overpriced mess of a storage bin to a small butgorgeous showplace where he can live comfortably, display his trinketswith pride and entertain visiting dignitaries ... a tall order.
MR. MICKEY NEEDS HELP
I have a terrible confession to make:I'm a total slob. Not a never-shower, sleep-on-week-old-food type ofslob, but more of a pack rat organizational-disaster type of slob. Ihave always kept my passport and checkbooks in a royalty commemorativetin on the stove. With only one teensy closet in my one-bedroomManhattan apartment, my clothes end up in piles on the floor. Not randompiles, mind you. The system is: Marni blouses and Lacoste shirts on thechair, sparkle tops in one pile on the floor, pants on another pile, andjewelry in a big mixing bowl on the back of the toilet. It's not that Ienjoy the junkie lifestyle, it's just that I have no sense when it comesto figuring out where stuff goes. I buy 10 new royalty books and theshelves are full. Anyone with some sense could figure out how to make itwork. But I get confused and say, OK, we'll put them in a pile here ontop of the TV.
DREW ELLIOTT COMES TO THE RESCUE
Not so long ago, Mickey wasvisiting at my house when he said, "You live in a palace. Can you helpme with my house?" So I went over to Mickey's, and what I saw shocked me-- dirty sheets as window coverings, pots and pans on a stove filledwith paperwork, furniture stacked in front of furniture, an unusablecoffee table covered in piles of receipts and clutter. You couldn't movefrom one room to another because of all the stacks of magazines, clothesand gifts that had never been opened, along with an unmanageable artcollection. Stuff was everywhere, and it had taken over his life. Iimmediately told him that the best thing he could do was to go away fortwo weeks and let me do a makeover. At first, I thought that my jobthere would be strictly organizational, but when I actually dove in, Irealized it was much bigger than that. Mickey was going to have tochange his lifestyle. He was going to have to grow up and become anadult.
Before starting work, I forced Mickey to decide which of hispossessions were truly important to him. This editor had to do a severeedit. We filled trash bags with unwanted clothes for his ScreamingMimi's celebrity sidewalk sale. We recycled the thousands of magazineshe had collected over the past 15 years. Then we actually threw away 45garbage bags of just basic clutter. Once Mickey left for the agreed-upon15 days away, I had to work fast -- and cheaply, as our budget was low,low, low.
First I came up with a design plan. I wanted to keep the look andfeel of Mickey's enthusiasm, but also to give him a place where he couldrelax and feel tranquil, where he was not necessarily surrounded byevery single one of his favorite bright colors, art pieces and crazyclowns. I decided his living room could be wild, but that his bedroomshould be more subdued. I then packed up all his remaining possessions,donated 16 pieces of furniture to charity and enlisted the help of mysuper-hardworking friend, Lindsey, who is an organization freak. Thencame the army of upholsterers (to redo Mickey's favorite couch andchair), painters (to paint the walls, cabinets and furniture), thewallpaper hangers (to slap up amazing vintage paper), the electricians(to install the fabulous eBay chandeliers) and the plumbers (to installa fresh sink). It was a race against the clock. At 5 p.m. on day 15, Iwas racing around P.C. Richard's buying a microwave before heading toWhole Foods for frozen vegan burritos and ginger ale to stock Mickey'sfridge. I was totally exhausted, but ready for the big "reveal."
MR. MICKEY IS AMAZED
Walking up to the front door of myapartment after two weeks away, I was giddy. What would it be like? Whatif I hated it? I'd been practicing my "Oh. My. God! I LOOOOVE it!" facefor days. Well, my rehearsals were totally unnecessary. The place lookedAMAZING. I had wanted a balance between the kind of place that could bephotographed for a magazine and a place where I could flop on the couchand catch up on episodes of The Biggest Loser. And I got it. Drewsomehow managed to maintain my personal aesthetic (which some mightdescribe as alcoholic-housewife-meets-birthday-party-clown) while alsoadding chic and simple basics for contrast. And to address mydisorganization and pack rat disabilities, Drew set up boxes with labelsfor everything. My passport and other documents are now in the"International Travel" box tucked away inside a real cabinet; my pornmagazines are all neatly stacked in a box labeled "Dirty Dirty"; and mysparkle tops are hanging majestically in the special "Sparkle" sectionof my new IKEA wardrobe. And the kitchen? I can see the stove! It's amiracle.
I'll admit that the first day in my newly fancied-up palace was a bitnutty. I felt like my Grandma in a fancy hotel -- afraid to touchanything and madly wiping down the sink whenever I washed my hands. Buttwo days later, I was already adapted to the new system. I walk in thedoor, put my keys in the key tray, take off my shoes and put them in theshoe basket at the bottom of my new Ikea closet, drop my purse on theWest Elm yellow scoop chair, pull out my Blackberry, get the chargerfrom the "Chargers and Cords" box and plug it in. I feel a bit like aStepford Wife automaton -- even though I don't steam the bedspread asDrew would -- but I'm loving my fresh, immaculate digs and taking my newlife as a neatnik one day at a time!
Special thanks: Lindsey Sturdy, Evan Sturdy, Spyke Toombs, MackDugan, Jamie Granoff, Ryan Taft, Pete Trentacoste, Jill Hutchison,Lester the Super, Amanda Preston , Lorna Montalvo, Abigail Jacobs,Kristy Evans
LIVING ROOM: Parsons sube side table by West Elm, Billy Bookshelves by IKEA
KITCHEN:Scoop-back Chair by WestElm
CLOSET: Organizers by West Elm
BEDROOM: Zebra rug andleopard pillows by West Elm, Headboard by Target