How To Apply Minimalism To More Than Just Your Wardrobe

Nana Agyemang

After years of sharing space with a roommate in a one-and-a-half bedroom on the Upper East Side, creative entrepreneur Nana Agyemang was more than ready to find a space of her own. The goal was simple—a modern and neutral space that could be the ideal backdrop for Agyemang’s other career as a fashion content creator. “ I was tired of paying booking fees for studio rentals in New York City. Sometimes I spent $1000 a week—most times a rental would be $100 an hour, and I’d be there for 4-5 hours at a time,” she says. The answer was a two-bedroom condo in a new build near Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. 

Transitioning from splitting rent with a roommate to being responsible for monthly expenses all on her own was a big adjustment the creative had to prepare for. To make it happen, Agyemang decided to leave her Upper East Side apartment and move back home to Ohio for a few months with her mom (it also happened to be at the height of the pandemic). The time outside of the city allowed Agyemang to save up for her dream place that would meet all of her work and personal needs.

Tip 1: Natural light is essential. 

How To Apply Minimalism To More Than Just Your Wardrobe

For Agyemang, a “content-ready” space meant natural light—and lots of it. During her apartment hunt, good natural light was at the top of the list of necessities. It was the one non-negotiable the entrepreneur wasn’t willing to give up, with south-facing views a priority. “When your space is south facing that means you get the most ultimate natural lighting,” she says. Ultimately, she lucked out with floor-to-ceiling windows in the primary bedroom and a large outdoor balcony that conjoins the living room with sweeping views of the neighborhood. “It’s great because I save money by not having to buy studio lights.” 

Tip 2: Create a moodboard.

How To Apply Minimalism To More Than Just Your Wardrobe

But the apartment’s layout was only one part of the transformation—Agyemang spent close to a year fine tuning everything that went inside of it. She jump started the interior design process by creating a moodboard that referenced moody Parisian accents, tranquil neutral tones, and bold one-of-a-kind pieces like Oscar Piccolo’s pleated squiggle lamp and a cream modular sofa from Maiden Home. “I wanted a space to match and exemplify my aesthetic online—very clean, elegant and elevated,” she explains. London-based creative director and fellow content creator Abisola Omole was also included on her moodboard, “She has a meditation room—that blew my mind. I really aspire to have that level of relaxation and tranquility in my space. Abisola also incorporates neutrals impeccably using textures and shapes.”

Tip 3: Draw inspiration from the interior designers who created your favorite spaces.

How To Apply Minimalism To More Than Just Your Wardrobe
Nana Agyemang

The EveryStylishGirl founder’s frequent work trips to L.A also served as inspiration, specifically one of her favorite hotels, The Santa Monica Proper. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the hotel’s aesthetic is west coast personified with a color palette of cream and beige married with edgy lamps and sculptures and dominant wood accents. “I feel like I’m in a museum whenever I’m there. I love every space of their downstairs lounge; you can shoot five looks in there and no one would know it’s the same space because every corner has its own feel. I wanted my own home to mirror that, to be able to collect a different beautiful visual throughout each corner of the space,” she says. 

Agyemang incorporated those cues via statement pieces made out of natural materials like an oak credenza designed by Leanne Ford for Crate and Barrel, and a white marble plinth coffee table to center the main area. Rounding out the living area is a squiggle chair (Agyemang is particularly a fan of squiggly objects) from Forom. “When people walk into my space I want them to feel like they’re entering a livable art museum. That chair is one of my favorite pieces because it really exemplifies the art aspect of creating an art gallery feel in my home.”

Tip 4: Measure your space to maximize every inch of limited areas.

Like most New Yorkers, Agyemang aimed to maximize the functionality of her limited space, including the apartment’s compact entryway. It’s here, placed against the wall just before entering the kitchen, that houses one of her most prized acquisitions—a custom travertine entry table. “It wasn’t something I expected to splurge on, but for me it was so important because it’s the first thing people see immediately when they walk in— I want people to be drawn to my space from the first step.” The stone table, which Agyemang estimates weighs over 100lbs, was shipped to New York from LA, “It’s incredibly heavy, it’s remarkable how they shipped it.” A custom closet from The Container Store was another space-maximizing move the entrepreneur splurged on. The custom build transformed the previously generic closet into an easy reach-in space, which makes sense for a fashion girl who keeps a steady rotation of outfits and accessories.

Tip 5: Attention to detail makes all the difference, creating a space that truly feels like home.  

The feeling of an oasis was especially tantamount to the completion of the master bedroom. Agyemang wanted to create a place where she could work and play—including taking a ton of Zoom calls without shame. Many of the pieces in the room—like a waterfall burl wood desk from design studio Forom (it has since sold out, but here is similar), Nicholas Bijan Pourfard ceramic lamps, and Calacatta Viola marble plinth side tables from Eternity Modern—are on the warmer side of the spectrum, creating an inviting space that’s also decidedly sophisticated. Nods to the New Yorker’s Ghanaian roots are also evident in a 3D art piece hung right above her bed. Agyemang commissioned the piece from UK-Ghanaian artist Ernestina via Etsy. “Every time I look at it I think, ‘wow’ because I am able to commission art and support other Black women entrepreneurs. It’s a surreal feeling,” she recalls.

How To Apply Minimalism To More Than Just Your Wardrobe
Nana Agyemang

Even though Agyemang has done everything from adding window treatments to creating a custom closet and fully decorating her balcony, the one thing she has avoided in the whole process is paint. Admittedly she has commitment issues when it comes to choosing a shade. When asked whether she’s open to adding color,  “I don’t know,” she says,  “Color can overwhelm me too much where I don’t feel like I can create, but I would really love to add in some texture. Maybe I’ll try limewashing.”

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