Alex’s Cozy Garden Apartment in Brooklyn

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Name: Alex Flathmann
Location: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 620 square feet 
Years lived in: 7 years; rented

New York apartment dwellers know all too well what a challenge it can be living the dream on a budget. Sometimes all you can afford is the lower level railroad apartment without direct sunlight. For Alex, the plus side to this is having backyard access to plant a garden and express his love of horticulture. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to catch Alex’s garden in full bloom because he is moving soon (but staying in Bed Stuy), so he submitted some outdoor photos that friends have taken in summers past. This house tour is a little farewell to Alex’s garden floor apartment on Putnam Street.

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Alex is a computer technician at HBO, surrounded by art and design friends to give him advice on mixing paint colors and artfully displaying his beloved collections. Many years ago he lived in Paris, and while his apartment may not be exactly Parisian, one can’t help but notice its influence in small ways throughout the décor. The kitchen is a little bit French Country with a dash of modern; it’s also where Alex feels most at home. There you can find him cooking, baking, or hosting crowded dinner parties, all while offering you a glass of wine and making every ingredient from scratch. 

When Alex is not entertaining around the kitchen island or his gateleg table in the middle room, he is lounging in the boldly painted boudoir or sipping coffee in the garden. When in bloom, the garden is extraordinary, and Alex makes sure to share it with all his friends and neighbors every June at his annual summer party. During the afternoon it’s drenched in sunlight; at night it’s lit up with string lights and tiki torches. Whatever natural light he lacks inside is more than made up for with this magical secret garden out back.

Best of luck on your new place, Alex! Can't wait to see what you do next.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic Mix. 

Inspiration: Paris, Mid-Century Modern. 

Favorite Element: There are many — my favorites are things that friends have made for me: ceramic plates and paintings from Justine, a cross-stitch of a snow egret from Terri, an illustrated chrysanthemum from Andrea inspired from the Kiku exhibit.

Biggest Challenge: The small living/dining area. 

What Friends Say:  Friends like it; they say it is homey and comfortable. I get compliments on my color choices. 

Biggest Embarrassment:  The messy back room off the kitchen that leads to the garden.

Proudest DIY: Designing, planning, and painting my bedroom and living room. 

Biggest Indulgence: All-Clad cookware and my KitchenAid stand mixer. 

Best Advice:  Choose what you like - don’t worry about if it will “go” with your décor. Don’t be afraid of color. I love rich, saturated colors.

Dream Sources: Williams-Sonoma and Safavieh. 

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living room: Eggshell Behr paint/primer Silver Mist
  • Kitchen: custom mixed by my friend Stephen
  • Bedroom: Eggshell Behr in Orchid Kiss

LIVING ROOM

  • West Elm Sutton Sofa
  • Tan Hutch found on the street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
  • White shelves IKEA
  • Wooden chairs: junk store on Long Island

KITCHEN

  • Center island IKEA
  • White cabinets: Home Depot (these are actually meant to be upper cabinets, but I got them because they have a slimmer profile)
  • Plates about the stove were a gift from friends
  • Other plates on the wall were made by my friend Justine

BEDROOM

  • Headboard, armoire, and chair are from Overstock.com
  • Bedspread is from Century 21
  • Pillows and area rug were hand-me-downs from my friend Mary
  • Dresser, side table, and trunk next to the bed were street finds
  • Window panels and panels behind the bed are from Century 21
  • Brass lamp was a street find, Stainless lamp from Ikea, and black lamp from Target

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Thanks, Alex!

(Interior Images: Andrea Sparacio; Garden Images: Jocelin Martinez & Dani FIsher)

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