When Fiona Byrne moved from Ireland to New York City in 2004, her dream was realized. The interior designer and content creator had always been drawn to the bustling metropolis and imagined she could build a life there. Now, nearly two decades later, the city is such a big part of her identity that her Instagram handle is @nycfiona. “It is the center of the universe,” she declares. “It just is.”
Fiona lived on the vibrant Lower East Side, in the middle of the action, for 16 years before the neighborhood became too noisy for her. But as a steadfast New Yorker, she didn’t flee to the suburbs in search of peace and quiet—she just relocated to calmer, greener Brooklyn Heights. “It used to be a country retreat for people in Manhattan,” she says. “It’s heaven on earth.”
It did require a lot of work, though, to turn Fiona’s 1858 apartment into her own personal paradise. While the one-bedroom abode boasted beautiful parquet floors, massive windows, tall ceilings, and ornate moldings, there was wasted space and the tiny kitchen was a mess. So Fiona put on her DIY hat and totally transformed the diamond in the rough.