Brigitte's Real Deal Apartment in Brooklyn

Brigitte's Real Deal Apartment in Brooklyn

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Janel Laban
Jan 30, 2015
(Image credit: Nick Steever)

Name: Brigitte
Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY

I moved into this space in 2008, so I’ve had a solid 6 years to settle in and make it my own. The look was initially far more minimal, but over time became increasingly dense and layered. I attribute this less to my design sensibility and more to my lack of self-control. Whenever I come across a unique piece of art or an interesting object I think, “I can find a spot for that!”.

(Image credit: Nick Steever)
(Image credit: Nick Steever)
(Image credit: Nick Steever)
(Image credit: Nick Steever)
(Image credit: Nick Steever)

The apartment is a 500 sq ft one-bedroom rental on the third floor of a 1908 townhouse, and since it’s a floor-through unit in a corner building, it gets tons of light through 3 exposures—A rare thing in the city! The space itself is chock full of character, it has original tin ceilings, angled archways, and hardwood floors with border inlay. I love how these details marry up with the vintage furnishings within, together they produce a wonderful warmth and sense of history.

One of the first projects I tackled after I moved in was a modest kitchen facelift… The cabinets were originally a walnut wood with pretty intense bronze gothic hardware, and the floor was a stodgy floral linoleum. I painted the cabinets glossy black and gave them a hardware refresh in bright chrome, and installed a black and white checkerboard vinyl tile floor (this is a rental, after all). Though the paint color was actually darker, the shine made the room brighter and more cheerful.

With all white walls and neutral furniture (aside from the pair of chinoiserie chairs I spray painted fire engine red), I like to bring in color through textiles and artwork. I never deliberately considered a palette, but bold reds, yellows and greens always seem to surface in a bigger way.

I've collected loads of vintage finds over the years, as well as a few amazing sample sale scores while working at Anthropologie and West Elm (I direct and design brand creative for fashion and home decor companies). My most treasured pieces are the antique gilded pier mirror and the blackbuck antelope mount in the living room. They add so much drama! The Saarinen tulip table was a 30th birthday present to myself—I figured that after YEARS of lusting for one and auditioning many budget-conscious imitations, it was finally time to "grow up," pull the trigger, and splurge on the real deal! No regrets.

Thanks, Brigitte!

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