Name: Heather Chontos
, Kodie (12) and Zana (3), and dog Marvin
Clinton Hill — Brooklyn, New York
1000 square feet
Years lived in:
3 years — rent
If this post title seems to have a lot of adjectives to describe the home, we felt it only fitting consider the creative woman renting this space happens to wear a lot of hats herself. Heather Chontos is an artist, furniture designer, stylist, illustrator, mom, business owner and more, and she filled the Brooklyn loft she shares with her two daughters full of fun creations, thoughtful finds and an eclectic mix of styles.
Enjoying an impressive 14-year-long career in prop styling and set design, working with folks like Tom Dixon and publications like Elle Decor, Real Simple, House and Garden, Oprah, Country Living, (and more) and life as a successful abstract painter, Heather has recently debuted Milk Farm Road, which will sell original art, print editions of art, handmade or repurposed goods, furniture made from reclaimed wood, textiles and ceramics (by Michele Michael of Elephant Ceramics).
She moved back to Brooklyn after spending some time living in Montana (though she'll continue to live and work between both locations) and we love how the interior of this loft shows hints of style from not only her long career but also all the places she's lived.
"At the studio [she'll have a little studio/shop in Montana opening March 1st in Bozeman, Montana] I will be holding workshops and classes about design and painting and there will also be gatherings. My goal is that everyone walks away at the end of an event with new knowledge and resources for beautiful things. On January 28th, the first inspired gathering by Milk Farm Road will happen here in Brooklyn and will be inspired by the color "blue." I have invited 8 special guests who all have to bring something that "blue" inspires ranging from art and food to music and I have created a menu with food stylist Chelsea Zimmer."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, modern farmhouse, rustic? I would think that all of those apply depending on the day of the week. The thing that attracted me to this space besides the big walls where I could hang lots of big art, were the old wooden beams. I love these beams!
Inspiration: Elements of color and form. There is so much to pick up on one's radar if you pay attention to what is around you, little shapes here on a napkin, an old painting in a restaurant, a color of a painted door. I am trying to pay more attention to the places and spaces I pass through.
Favorite Element: The randomness of all the different elements. I like that it feels kind of old in here and mixed up, like a collection without being one at all.
Biggest Challenge: My home is right next to the [Brooklyn-Queens Expressway] and it can be quite noisy at times. Otherwise it is a really great space that lends itself to a lot of abuse by my kids and great for having people over for dinners and drinks!
What Friends Say: That they love this space. I think they like hanging out over here when we have our little gatherings. The apartment is in a great old building called "the chocolate factory;" it was actually a chocolate factory in its heyday! The loft has one actual bedroom and the rest is open, and the ceiling is really high at like 20 feet. The hallways in the building are a crazy lavender and blue stripe and feel a little sterile, and when they come in here for the first time they do not expect how homey this place feels in comparison to what they just walked through.
Biggest Embarrassment: The closets. There are a few you should not open for your own safety.
Proudest DIY: Well some of the furniture I designed with my amazing carpenter and furniture maker Rob Fontes back in Montana. He is building and helping design all the furniture pieces for Milk Farm Road like the spindle leg shelving unit and the farmhouse dining table. He is amazing and we are working on more ideas as we speak.
Biggest Indulgence: My new crazy antique bed from the 1930s, all hand-turned wood. It has the most incredible fabric headboard. I got it at a thrift store, but it wasn't cheap. I don't really spend a lot of money on furniture. I brought a lot of things back from Montana that I found at antique stores. I like the find!
Best Advice: I think the best advice I can give, which I tell any of my design clients, is that your home needs to be lived in, it should feel good to you, it should fit your style, and that yes it is possible to mix old and new, to have modern and rustic together. There is a fine balance, but it is a fun mix of styles to go together that play off of each other. Also, colors and different shades of wood are really important. If they are not right they can affect everything in a space in a negative way, so be careful and pay attention to things that you buy or have at home before you buy new pieces to add to it. Lastly, it does not need to cost a fortune to make an incredible feeling to your home. Also, everyone should have a cow skull!
Dream Sources: I love Sawkille Furniture, I have one of his stools, my walnut stool next to my shelf, that I got from an art trade with Jonah, his work is incredible. I would love to have one of everything he makes, including his artwork and sculptures!!!
Resources of Note:
The majority of my furniture is from my line Milk Farm Road.
LIGHTING AND TILE
I have gotten some great lighting from Restoration Hardware. I also love the tiles at Modwalls; they have the most amazing tile. I want to re-do the entire bathroom here in their dots tiles and they have oversized glass subway tile that is amazing!
All of my linens, towels and bedcovers are from Eileen Fisher. Her linens and silks are just amazing at Garnet Hill. Some cushions are from Dwell, but most of them are from my new fabric line.
Most of my stuff is antique, the handpainted folding screen I have had since I was a kid and my mother recently gave it to me again. The handpainted dresser I found down an alleyway antique shop here in New York, it is an incredible piece. I found it the same day as I found my bed; it was like a goldmine to find those two things!! I made all of my curtains, and I want to paint them like I did my shower curtain, though with huge blue stripes handpainted on them. I did that in my house in Montana and I thought it was so fun.
My kids' room is another diverse collection of things old and new and Ikea. You can't have a kids room without a little Ikea in it, or can you?
A lot of the artwork is my own, but I am starting to get some work from other amazing artists like James Gallagher, Allyson Mellberg and Stefanie Augustine and photography by Chito Yoshida, she is amazing!
Images: Heather Chontos
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