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[This baby will be "pretty spoiled" with this room. All photos by Max Touhey.]
Three months after they moved from a studio to a two-bedroom apartment, Hitha Palepu and her husband found out they were having a baby, so in addition to redecorating their apartment, they had to outfit a nursery. "We wanted it to be an extension of our apartment," says 30-year-old Palepu, so the room has the same "geek-chic jet set" aesthetic as the rest of the home. A Banksy print of three monkeys hangs over the changing table and a velociraptor skeleton model sits by the window, while a series of maps above the bookshelf marks meaningful places for the couple. "We have lots of maps," says Palepu, known in the lifestyle blogosphere for her site Hitha on the Go. "There is at least one map in every room."
Palepu and her husband, Sri Narasimhan, met in Toronto, got married in India, and lived in Pennsylvania before moving to New York, and both love to travel (and do so a lot for work), so it's easy to see the appeal of maps. Plus, Palepu says they are "unapologetic nerds" who often quiz each other on current events and world leaders. "Our poor kid," jokes Palepu, "will get drilled on everything." Indeed, the baby (they are keeping the sex a surprise) already has a set of periodic table blocks.
Palepu comes from a family of chemists and worked for a pharmaceutical company until last year when she left her job to launch a startup called Bridge2Act, so part of the living room now functions as her home office. "Launching a startup and having a baby in the same year is not something I would advise anyone to do," says Palepu.
Touches of sci-fi and natural history abound in the living room, and each piece was chosen because it makes Palepu and her husband happy. "I love everything that is in this room," says Palepu. Chemistry lab flasks hold flowers. An armillary sphere sculpture sits on design coffee table books. A 1930s typewriter is displayed beneath the television. "Who didn't want a typewriter after seeing House of Cards?" says Palepu, referencing the practices of the show's character Frank Underwood.
The furniture comes from a variety of places. "I'm not one to have the patience to wait for furniture," says Palepu, so quite a few pieces came from Amazon's MyHabit flash sale site. She loves West Elm and Design Within Reach ("Even though the prices aren't always within reach"), but Palepu concedes that furniture will "never be a hot ticket" item until they have a more permanent home. Even with the move from a studio to this apartment, they had to buy new furniture. Their previous couch was too large because this living room has a column, but their old dining table was way too small. By next year, they hope to leave rental life and the Silver Towers behind and buy property on the Upper West Side.