Laura Schubert found her apartment in the most New York of ways.
"A friend of mine lived in the building and was moving out — so he tipped us off," the Fur co-founder begins. "Barring a few years in Boston and Paris, I've lived here my entire life — I'm a born and bred New Yorker."
Planted squarely among the action in the sought-after East Village, Schubert's "boxy" apartment exudes old school charm. Steeped in heritage and built around 1900, the entrepreneur admits that like many character apartments in this city, for better or for worse, hers is a home with its fair share of quirks.
"It's an old building so it doesn't have any right angles," Schubert explains. "Also, the bathroom ceiling caved in — classic East Village charm." To compensate for an outdated floor plan and with a total of 3,300 square feet to play with, Schubert anchors the living space with curved furniture and a sinuous olive sofa by Anthropologie, providing both ample room to lounge and a healthy dose of color.
A gilded vintage mirror, sourced via 1stdibs, sits perched above a strictly ornamental fireplace, its firebox awash in charcoal paint. Schubert decorates the surrounding wall space with neatly tacked artwork by celebrated New York artist Katherine Moffett, peppering her living room with reupholstered gems by Californian favorite Kelly Wearstler.
"I love the art I have in my apartment," Schubert muses. "Most of it has been commissioned and it's almost all work by young, living, local artists." In a neighborhood lauded for its dive bars and sidewalk coffee culture, creative community and hipster-approved parties, the East Village has long been synonymous for going against the grain or breaking away from trends favored by mainstream Manhattanites.
Schubert shares her space with her husband and two-year-old daughter, remaining mindful to maintain the balance between elevated and ultimately cozy when it comes to styling and decor. While the curved velvet sofa — a piece that took "weeks of convincing" — basks in that New York glow, bare trees cast shadows on the hardwood living room floor, peeping through gridded factory windows that date back over 100 years.
"The front door of our home enters right into the middle of the living room, almost into the dining room table," Schubert points out, of the apartment's quirky layout. "For that reason, we opted for a round table to increase the flow around it. It was convenient because it allowed me to keep the existing table from my last apartment — I just reupholstered the chairs."
It's fairly obvious that Schubert applies the same ethos to her home, wardrobe, and personal grooming brand, Fur. The co-founder is refreshingly pragmatic about all three, and mindful that her space must adhere to both life with a toddler and a busy work schedule.
"I love art and classic style, but I'm also not willing to suffer for fashion," the entrepreneur explains. "Similarly, my space is very art-driven but it's also cozy and livable. I didn't want it to feel like we were living in a museum — I have a two-year-old daughter, so all of the fabrics in our home are durable and easy to clean, nothing is too precious."
Comfort — or the necessity for it — is more or less something Schubert revels in. In 2014, the young entrepreneur decided it was about time the beauty industry started addressing something we all have but seldom talk about. Hair, down there. A prickly topic that a billion-dollar industry had been ignoring for the better part of three decades.
"We were discussing the current trends in beauty leaning toward more natural products and moving away from prescribed standards," Schubert recalls, when asked how Fur came to be. "As we talked, we realized that many body hair products available were not in line with this movement. The ingredients were harsh, the packaging was unsophisticated, and they focused almost exclusively on removal — the idea that hair was a problem."
Schubert and her business partner Lillian Tung set to work, in a bid to redefine what it meant to "maintain" without the need for excruciating hot wax or chemical-laden, expensive laser solutions, popularized during the early aughts. "Fur is an inclusive definition of beauty — it's not about whether or not you think the bush is back or skin is in. We spent the next two years developing and testing, and officially launched the brand in 2016. Even today, we’re still one of only few women-run, women-owned businesses in this space."
Holding pride of place in Schubert's own "characteristically small" East Village bathroom is where you'll find the latest line-up of Fur grooming, boasting absolutely no nasties and sleek, minimal packaging that you actually want to show off.
Extending this no fuss, monochromatic palette to the surrounding space, complete with crisp black and white tiles and a black granite counter, Schubert decorates her bathroom with a playful linen shower curtain by Gravel & Gold, complete with matching bath towels, each neatly rolled and tucked among houseplants on the adjacent shelf. The entrepreneur makes no secret of her knack for bringing the private or uncomfortable for some back into the fore — showcasing and celebrating the taboo, and churning out something kind of fabulous.
"The bathrooms in this apartment are quite small and definitely remind you that you are in the East Village," Schubert laughs. "But the bathroom is where I keep all of my Fur products. I like to play up the offbeat character of my space with different plants and textiles — if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I suppose."
In the master bedroom, Schubert keeps to an understated, pared-back palette, a neutral scheme complete with Ralph Lauren bedding and totally devoid of any clutter. It's a conscious visual and psychological decision, she adds, one that helps alleviate an increasingly busy schedule.
"I try to keep my home as uncluttered as possible — especially my bedroom. I have so much going on during the day as an entrepreneur, a wife and a mother; I think it's important that my home feels calm."
Outside, Schubert brings color and energy to an otherwise forgettable space. Upon moving in, the entrepreneur made it her mission to revamp and reenergize the building's tired courtyard, enlisting the help of local muralist Jason Woodside, to create a one-of-a-kind piece for Schubert and her neighbors to enjoy.
"It's technically our space, but our upstairs neighbors have a toddler as well — so we love it when the girls play outside together," explains Schubert. "After admiring his work, I emailed Jason through his website, and as it turns out, he's a local artist and had some time to do it. We added lighting and outdoor furniture to complement his work."
Complete with neutral outdoor furniture by West Elm, Schubert's courtyard provides the perfect retreat from the wear and tear of city living, a leafy little pocket of calm amid the chaos to catch your breath or count your blessings.
When asked what might be the most common misconception about life in a city that never sleeps?
"It's a big city, but often it feels like a small town," Schubert succinctly replies — spoken like a born and bred New Yorker.