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Venus shows off free Olympic digs in Hunters Point

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That's a brief description of the luxury crash pad two-time U.S. Open winner Venus Williams unveiled Tuesday at the Riverview Building in Queens West in Hunters Point.The 24-year-old's interior decorating firm, V Starr Interiors, designed the 1,300-square-foot apartment for NYC2012, the committee behind New York City's Olympic bid.The city is vying with Paris, London, Madrid, and Moscow to host the games in eight years. New York, which is ranked fourth, will learn if it is the winner in July 2005. Until then, past and present Olympians visiting the city will stay in the 32nd-floor penthouse, giving bid officials input for the proposed Olympic Village, which would be a few blocks away on the East River.The first guest, four-time gold medalist Janet Evans, is in for a treat when she sees the stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, Williams said, with the living room overlooking the East River, the Chrysler Building and the United Nations. "It's really beautiful. You don't believe it until you get up and see it," she said. It's a long way from the tiny hole back in Florida where she and her sister, Serena, lived for a spell before both went on to dominate the women's tennis world, Williams said. Venus alone has won the 2001 and 2000 U.S. Opens; the 2001 Wimbledon tournament; and two gold medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She heads to Athens this month to defend her medals in the single and doubles events. It will probably be her last Olympics, she said Tuesday. Lounging on a beige couch in the living room, Williams said her passion is interior decorating. Furnished for free by Crate & Barrel, the Queens West apartment should be a relaxing and inspirational stay for Olympians.The apartment is funky and modern, furnished with several cushioned, cherry red swivel chairs, dozens of vases containing candles - some of them filled with tiny white stones - and white shag carpets. Black and White photos of Olympic legends Bob Beamon, Mary Lou Retton and Bruce Jenner line the narrow hall. "I've got to add to my hardware to get on that wall," Williams said. Sixteen clocks, tracking the hour in cities like London, Melbourne, and Helsinki, adorn the wall of the breakfast nook beside the kitchen. Since she opened her Florida-based firm two years ago, Williams said she has had the privilege of designing many homes. "By far this one is the most moving, the most special," she said. "We're part of the something big here."Reach reporter Matthew Monks at 718-229-0300 ext. 156 or by e-mail at news@timesledger.com

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