Bwog’s Zealous Hopper Zachary Hendrickson shows us the inside of not the most unbecoming of abodes in this RoomHop.
Classy as ****! That is what immediately enters your mind when you step into Harry Stephenson’s elegant abode in the Sigma Nu house. Harry, CC ’14, plans on studying sociology and possibly concentrating in art history. Once I came out of my initial star-struck daze, I started to peruse the eclectic mix of artwork, furniture, and fixtures that adorned the space. I eventually arrived at one question: How in the world could one person amass such a collection?
Much like the I’m-pretty-sure-she’ll-be-attractive-in-the-morning girl that you might have come across some late, late night at the Heights, I could tell that this room had a secret history. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. That’s when Harry said, “I basically went on Craigslist looking for things that were cheap or free.” I was stunned! Surely such a gorgeous room couldn’t have been a product of that seedy, underground cesspool! But as he led me from piece to piece, a wonderful story of exploration and good old-fashioned determination came to light.
When he found out that his room this year was going to be quite large, Harry immediately knew he had to come up with some way to fill the space. The problem was that he needed a way to do it, and cheaply. He was staying in the city for the summer working as an intern for A+E Networks, so he decided to make the most of his time. What started as a need to fill a room became an “incredible way to get to know the city,” as throughout the room you can find something from every borough of New York.
At this point, I think it’s best if the pieces speak for themselves. I will simply relate their stories.
Harry simply found this trunk while running one day in Morningside Park. Though it was in pretty bad shape, he loved its style and decided to jog it home. After some heavy cleaning and an added pair of legs, it became the perfect little coffee table. The couch behind it is made of dark brown velvet, it is down-filled, and, oh yeah, it’s Ralph Lauren! Harry said he only found this out after he bought it for a mere $100. He had it cleaned up and then went online to find out a little more about it. There he discovered a nearly identical couch (albeit one in better condition) going for $7,000 online. Not bad, Harry. Not bad.
This painting came out of a garage in Queens. It was another freebie—one of the sketchier acquisitions, according to Harry. He remarked that if you look on the back you can see the history of how it’s been devalued over time. There are marks that read
$250… $100…But, despite its damage, Harry still finds beauty in it.
Perhaps the things that I found most intriguing in the room were these two unassuming picture frames. The pictures themselves are Harry’s from home, but the frames aren’t really frames at all. They are actually antique windows from a house on Staten Island. Harry explained to me how he had to personally go out one hot summer weekend and put in a lot of “sweat and hard work” to pry these beauties out. After all that, he didn’t necessarily trust himself to turn them into frames so he sent them off to a frame shop for the final transformation. They truly speak to the overall meaning/purpose/value of the room. Everything you see has a story behind it.
From these mismatched Craigslist catches, Harry Stephenson has assembled a room worthy of holding anyone’s collection of leather-bound books—even if it doesn’t quite smell of rich mahogany. What at first seems a shocking notion, that something so beautiful could have been put together for anything less than $1000 (total cost: $350), should really be a lesson to us all. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Who knows? Maybe even that girl at the bar will be alright tomorrow morning. Bwog says go for it!*
*Bwog is not responsible for the transmission of disease, feelings of regret, early morning crying, maiming, loathing, pointless family stories, scary family stories, psychotic breaks, or lingering hook-ups. That’s on you. Who would actually take dating advice from Bwog?