Name: Helen Levi
Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Size: Less than 1000 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 2.5 years
"Pot-ographer" Helen Levi and her boyfriend live in a small apartment off a beautiful street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It's near lots of great little bars and restaurants on a main street called Lafayette. They live with their dog, Billy, who makes several appearances in this tour.
Take a video tour of Helen's studio:
Helen takes photos and is also a talented ceramist. Her pottery features elegant shapes adorned with organic, soothing swirls, all in a natural color palette. Her bowls, mugs and more are simultaneously calming and contrasting. It's clear why Orin Swift recently rented plates from her for a special dinner (that you can still buy on Helen's website). Helen's work is handmade, and honest - and so is her lovely home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Cozy and straightforward, with lots of sentimental pieces
Inspiration: First and foremost I want my home to be comforting and relaxing. Design is secondary!
Favorite Element: One of the best things about working in the design world is getting to collect through trade very special pieces that I wouldn't otherwise have the budget to buy. And I love using things my friends make.
Biggest Challenge: Like most New Yorkers, space! I love the apartment and the neighborhood, but once my boyfriend moved in last year it felt decidedly smaller. We both wish we had another room. Also there's limited natural light.
What Friends Say: They like the projector! We got rid of our TV to make room in the living room for a bigger dining table, so now we have an excellent setup for screening sports or movies.
Biggest Embarrassment: I hate our kitchen cabinets; they're so scruffy. That's the thing about a rental: there are certain installed pieces that are hard to change.
Proudest DIY: Not sure if this is a DIY or just a small apartment hack, but I am extremely satisfied by knowing our air conditioner fits perfectly into the wooden trunk we use as a coffee table. That trunk has been in my family since my parents found it on the street in Chinatown 30 years ago, and it always comes in handy.
Biggest Indulgence: Probably having a king size bed! It may not be the wisest use of space in a small apartment but having a 70-pound dog and two grown humans made it worth the investment.
Best Advice: Be realistic about how your spend your time at home — my boyfriend and I both work hard and work a lot, so when we're home we're often on the couch. Therefore, a big comfy couch was a priority.
Dream Sources: Living in a rental makes me feel like my life is relatively transient, and therefore I don't invest in big pieces of furniture. I hope one day to own a home and then collect more special, permanent pieces! For now, I'm all about being on a budget. I really scored at the West Elm sample sales — that's where we got our L shaped couch for $150 and our credenza for $75.