“Before moving into this apartment, in GRAMERCY PARK, I’d only ever lived on Manhattan’s West Side. Despite my apprehensions about living on the East Side, I craved change after moving out of my ex, [the photographer] Ben Watts’s, apartment, in 2012.
I fell in love with this space’s northern and southern light, its spirit and energy, and the way it felt old — like a home.
Starting a new chapter of my life as a single mom, I wanted to fill my new place with warmth and love. When my daughter, RUBY, and I first moved in, we didn’t have our own furniture or art. I slowly acquired pieces by going to thrift stores and rummage sales.
I love finding those needle in a haystack items that are affordable, old, and have a story.
I tend to be more eclectic and bohemian — I prefer to do things myself, which is what being a stylist is all about. Everything here is mix of textures, colors, and pieces that shouldn’t necessarily go together, but somehow do. I never want to move, but if I do, this home will always hold a special place in my heart.”
“I painted the entire apartment before I moved in. It was a good way to start filling the space. I love color, and a moody hallway. This particular shade was risky, but I wanted something dark, royal, and poppy. It helps each piece stand out.”
“Ruby often visits her dad on set, where he’ll take the most amazing photos of her. Certain ones really show how big her heart is.
This shot is so sweet — I don’t know where she got the flowers, but she brought them home to me.”
“I love the cross — it’s a beautiful symbol — but sometimes it scares people. I don’t think that it has to represent a certain faith, but rather faith in general: faith in yourself, faith in life. I purchased this one in Byron Bay from a local designer. I always shop when I travel.”
“MONTAUK has become a big part of Ruby’s life ever since Ben got a house there. She loves the beach, and everyone in town knows her — she’s like the mayor! Ben took this shot of her at [the hotel] RUSCHMEYER’S when she was two years old.”
“Every year, NAOMI [WATTS, Ben’s sister] and I take our kids to visit their grandmother in SAINT HIPPOLYTE, [a commune located] in the foothills outside of PROVENCE, FRANCE. This photo of Naomi was taken there. It’s important to have lots of photos, because they help me recall moments that may otherwise be forgotten in old age.”
“I got this painting at a thrift store in the Hamptons, in August 2012. It reminds me of something my grandmother would have passed on to me.”
“Being [in a relationship] with a photographer left me with tons of beautiful photos. Ben always prints them for me — they’re the best gifts I can receive.
He took this one of Ruby at the Soho House in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. She and he spend a lot of mornings swimming in the pool there together. It’s their thing.”
“Ben took this photo of me, in his apartment, when I was eight months pregnant. My memories of Ruby’s birth are so vivid, and she loves hearing my stories about what it was like to have her in my belly.
I like to relive that time because it was the biggest miracle I’ve received in my life.”
“I’ve always loved butterflies.
I have them all over the apartment. A lot were gifts, and others I bought myself at The Evolution Store, in Soho [New York City]. I find their different colors and intricate wings to be so beautiful, and I love how the light reflects off of them.”
“Ruby was just a week old [when Ben took this picture] of her asleep in her little bed. Her teeny fingers are holding mine.”
Photography bySania Tharani
As told toMichelle Rizzi
Jeanann Williams is a stylist based in New York City.
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