Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen

Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen

Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen


Leslie Kroeger and Ben Wilson


Designing someone's home is an intimate experience. Using travel treasures and cozy pieces, Homepolish's Ariel Okin created a personal oasis for a young couple in Manhattan.

Photos by Nick Glimenakis.

We’ve never denied it. Being invited into someone’s home and designing a space for them is one of the most trusting and personal things that can be done. Homepolish designers get a unique opportunity to get to know their clients, their way of functioning in a home, and their dreams and aspirations (both aesthetic and otherwise). Few things are more personal than your home.

This was even more true in the case of Homepolish designer Ariel Okin, who recently completed a small redesign for the Hell’s Kitchen apartment of Leslie Kroeger and Ben Wilson. The two had just moved in together last November to the 891 square-foot 1-bedroom space. When they saw a friend’s home in Boston (also designed by Homepolish), they were convinced that they needed a designer of their own.

Ariel started right in on understanding their style. Ben bent toward masculine and traditional, while Leslie went for a feminine delicacy, mixed with a touch of vintage. It showed in the pieces they already had… a tufted headboard (Leslie-style) set against industrial mangowood dressers (Ben-style). The matter of combining the two would take some skill.

Ariel appealed to Ben’s call for simplicity in the foundational pieces: a gray sofa-sleeper in the converted den, a geometric wood table with leather sling chairs in the central dining area. But the accents are where things get a little zhoosh, whether it’s the custom artwork by Celine Zhang in the den or the incredible marbled temporary wallpaper in the bedroom. (PS. That’s a good apartment hack.)

Even more than these design elements, Ariel got to know Leslie and Ben’s personalities through the little things, those things you have to consciously look out for. A black and white photo of Big Sur in the bedroom speaks to a recent trip the couple took. In the dining area, a bowl on the table and the print above the bar cart come from Sevilla, a city close to Leslie’s heart. Or how about those Peruvian llama figurines? By the time of this shoot, Ariel even knew that Ben was planning to propose. Don’t worry; we’re not spilling the beans! It just happened a couple days ago.



When we had our first meeting with Ariel, we had just moved into our new apartment. It was chaos! Nothing was unpacked and boxes were stacked everywhere. But none of that stopped her from creating an impressive vision for our space.

- Leslie Kroeger, Homepolish client



For related stories, check out:
This cozy home in SF by Homepolish’s Carisse Lynelle.
This couple’s Brooklyn home by Homepolish’s Becky Shea.