Matt Bellassai, host of the podcast "Unhappy Hour," needed an apartment worthy of his outsized personality. Thankfully our designer Emma Beryl helped him create a modern, luxe and loungey pad.
Photos by Julia Robbs.
Matt Bellassai has a reputation as a good time. The comedian cultivates his sizable following with boozy and celeb-soaked tales via his Twitter, his podcast Unhappy Hour, and soon enough his book Everything Is Awful: And Other Observations (out October 24). But his apartment wasn’t living up to his outsize personality. Enter Homepolish designer Emma Beryl.
“Imagine an IKEA showroom, but more depressing and with way less meatball-stained children screaming in the background,” Matt says of his apartment pre-Homepolish. Emma had to do more than graduate him from easy-to-assemble-options into a modern and mature furnishings—she also needed to create a camera-ready backdrop for his weekly video series.
The result is sleek, stylish, and appropriately adult. For Matt, the apartment marks his move from “charming” pre-war New York to a polished place that reflects his aesthetic.
“I would describe Matt’s style as nutty professor-chic, in the best possible way,” Emma says. “We used a lot of dark colors and rich textures which typically make a space feel very serious, however, Matt’s gregarious personality shines through all of it.”
That good-time vibe is most evident in the incredible gallery wall in the living room. The array of artwork at first looks serious in medium (striking photography in classic frames) but it’s a little more playful in subject matter.
“My only criteria was that each piece had to make me smile or laugh,” Matt said. “The rest of the living room is so mature and swanky, I wanted to balance that with some fun, quirky art.”
That dichotomy is perhaps the overarching theme of the apartment, with most pieces offering a healthy dose of wit upon inspection.
“The bookcase could appear overly scholarly, but most of the books are colorful, comedic fiction or other comedian’s memoirs with funny trinkets dispersed throughout the shelves,” Emma clarified.
Besides humorous touches, the project is also full of upgrades Matt was dying to have.
“A blue velvet couch was pretty much the only thing I said I absolutely wanted from the beginning, because it’s warm and inviting, but also a little fancy,” Matt said. “Having a velvet couch is basically the most grown-up thing you can own.”
Keeping the loungey vibes alive in the living room is a Mid-Century-inspired lounger (per Matt: “probably my favorite place to sit and chill and ignore my responsibilities”) and of course, a well-stocked bar cart.
“I would say I’m much more shameless about buying bottles of alcohol just for the label, because now they’re a part of the décor,” Matt said.
In the bedroom, Emma also fulfilled Matt’s dream of graduating from his taped-together sleeping situation to a roomy, tufted linen bed.
“I actually moved to New York with all of my childhood furniture. So the full-sized bed that I slept in for the first four years I lived in New York was the same bed that I slept in since I was nine years old, and it was my brother’s bed before that,” Matt said. “The entire bed frame was held together by duct tape. My mother literally sent me to New York with written instructions on how to tape the bed back together.”
Emma upgraded his studio-sized bed to a more sprawling option, and enhanced enveloping feelings by swathing the walls in rich navy blue. Matt, who had lived a true NYC-renter’s life, had never painted an apartment before.
“I was a little hesitant, but it makes the bedroom so much cozier and cave-like and perfect for napping in,” Matt said.
Now the apartment gives him the perfect space to work, though he’s happy a good chunk of the book was written before the finished product.
“I actually can’t believe I managed to get anything accomplished before I had a little office space to work in,” Matt said. “But the book is about how depraved my life is and how much I hate everything, so maybe it’s best that I finished it before we came in and upgraded my apartment to something livable.”