With its unpretentious rough plaster walls, skylights, and treetop-level windows, Jane Mayle’s gorgeously sunny Manhattan apartment is the perfect showcase for her discoveries and her unstudied personal style. “I was told—I’m not sure how true the tale was—that the tabletop was an antique bed board from the Philippines. I love how rough-hewn the legs are, even if it makes for the wonkiest table ever,” says Mayle of her fabulous if precariously balanced coffee table, admitting that it’s “really, really impractical to have it right in front of the sofa.”
Taking your decorating cues from how you dress creates an intensely personal interior aesthetic, and a particularly chic one when you have a fashion sense like Mayle’s. Here, clad in a favorite old concert tee, a Club Monaco shearling jacket, and pinstripe trousers of her own design, Mayle poses next to one of her favorite possessions, a chair she found at NYC’s (now defunct) Chelsea Flea Market lot some years ago. “When I walk past that stretch of Sixth Avenue and see yet another apartment block, dry-cleaner, and Olive Garden, I want to cry!”
Mayle’s work space—an aspirational, inspirational vignette of books and assorted objects she loves—makes the most of her natural eclectic tendencies. “Most of the books in the shelves are works of fiction and I very rarely look at them, but they encourage me to travel vicariously and daydream. I keep the bigger reference and photography books out on the tabletop to remind me of what they contain, rather than keep them stacked and collecting dust!” Work, however, is not done at a desk but on the floor, surrounded by what she needs–“and a lovely Japanese teapot that looks a little like a hedgehog and keeps me company during the day.”
Out of the Closet
“Not all clothes are meant to be worn,” says Mayle, who once upholstered a chair with a beaded skirt. “It’s so nice when you don’t have to retire a favorite piece, or one that never fit you in the first place. They can serve simply as decoration, and can conjure a journey just by hanging there.” Here, flanked by shell necklaces discovered in Egypt and in a tiny village in the South of France, flea-market finds too delicate to wear provide an ethereal layer of white-on-white loveliness outside her closet door.