The Real Deal New York

Day in the life: Taylor Spellman

The interior designer and Bravo show co-host on her new TV gig, “old-lady wallpaper” and skipping business lunches

November 01, 2016
By Mark Maurer

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Taylor Spellman (Photo by Larry Ford)

Taylor Spellman is the founder of Taylor Spellman New York, a luxury interior design and staging firm that works on boutique condominium projects for major developers in the city. Her namesake Hell’s Kitchen-based firm, which she launched earlier this year, has done designs for Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group TRData LogoTINY, Jason Lee’s Six Sigma NYC and Michael Shah’s Delshah Capital, among others. Spellman’s six-person team is currently involved in 10 projects, including the conversion of the Verizon Tower at 100 Barclay Street and the seven-unit Tribeca condo development 87 Leonard. The 33-year-old designer also co-hosts a new Bravo reality show, “Yours, Mine or Ours,” with real estate agent Reza Farahan, which premiered in October. The two hosts help couples decide whether to live in one of their existing homes or buy a new one. Spellman grew up outside of Hartford, Connecticut, and moved to New York City at age 17, with plans to study dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She opted instead to attend Fordham University and graduated in 2005 with a business degree. She got her professional start in 2008, specializing in interior designs for men’s bachelor pads.

7:30 a.m. I wake up in my sixth-floor, one-bedroom condo walk-up in Soho. I immediately get going. I’d love to tell you that I have a green juice and go to hot yoga. But let’s be real. This is New York City — there is too much work to do. I go to Starbucks and get a coffee the size of my face.

8:30 a.m. I go to a project I’m working on to do a walk-through and make sure things are running on time and under budget. The past several months, I’ve basically been taking up residence at 100 Barclay. I’m doing the lobby, amenities space and the penthouse with Jeffrey Beers International. I alone am doing all the model units. The people moving in there right now are also asking me to design their homes.

10 a.m. I head over to the D&D [Design & Decoration] Building on Third Avenue and meet with one of my designers. I like to sign off on three to five projects at one time. I walk into the Robert Allen showroom and make, like, a million decisions over the course of two hours.

kind-bar12 p.m. I eat a Kind bar and have a call with Ryan Serhant. I design the interiors for most projects he is handling sales for, and currently we’re doing a lot of new developments in Brooklyn. He and I have marketing conversations: What is the ethos of this building? Who are we marketing it to? How are we going to maximize the price per square foot? Good design that is implemented from start to finish at a new building will always garner quicker sales.

12:30 p.m. At the office, I like to buy my team lunch and sit and connect with them. We usually order Chinese food and then we all divide and conquer. I rarely do a business lunch, because it’s not a good use of my time. I have those meetings at dinner, when I can start to drink wine.

1:30 p.m. I’m typically run-ning around from job to job, troubleshooting. I’m doing 87 Leonard, which is almost finished. The old guard would bring in a cream couch, a white throw pillow and a beige rug, and say, “OK, it’s staged.” I like to design for how people really live. Chances are I’m going to be sidelined by something unexpected. The other day, at 87 Leonard, the wall-paper was going up, and my team sent me a progress shot. It was the wrong wallpaper — disgusting, red, old-lady wallpaper. It’s not life-or-death, but it’s a huge problem for a developer. This is $10,000 out of my pocket unless we replace it in time, which we did.

taylor-spellman-wine3 p.m. I touch base with Ben Shaoul about 100 Barclay and 87 Leonard. He’ll call me and say, “Did the drapes get re-steamed and was the nick fixed in the shelving unit?” The guy’s attention to detail is unparalleled.

3:30 p.m. More running around. I’m not replaceable yet. I was away for much of February through May, to shoot my show. My role is to listen to the problems and reimagine spaces for [the couples we work with]. We went to Atlanta, Philadelphia and parts of California. None of it is shot here — in NYC, it’s very rare that two people both own beautiful properties. I didn’t want to do a typical reality show, where it’s mean and drinks are being thrown in your face. Did I have a lot of offers to do stuff like that? Yeah, but I said no to them.

4 p.m. At least once a week, I take a cab to a warehouse in Sunset Park, where we have tons of staging stuff. The moving company will bring everything over to our various jobs.

taylor-spellman-art 5 p.m. I find myself going to a lot of launch parties for our properties. I get to see the space populated and in use for the first time. A lot of the paintings are my own, either watercolors or a big canvas. People walk in and judge the space and my art not knowing I did it. It’s both nerve-racking and awesome.

8 p.m. I either meet a friend or a developer, broker or one of my interior design clients for dinner. My favorite place to go is Cocotte [on Thompson Street]. In the winter, there’s no place cozier. It’s French small plates, so I feel like I order the entire menu. Sometimes, at night, I take a train up to Connecticut to teach a dance class for mentally and physically handicapped children.

10 p.m. I go home and pour a large glass of wine and turn on Bravo. Then I get back to work. My apartment’s a good example of the masculine/feminine balance. My bedroom is dark charcoal gray, and the living room is tan and blue. But at the same time, there are pretty girly throw pillows — not gonna lie.

12 a.m. I hit the sheets, and do it all again the next day. If you’re asking me, “What is your personal life?” I’m like, “What personal life?” This is a very competitive city, and this is my time to work really hard.

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