Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; rented
Ryan Cassidy has the kind of loft most people dream about before moving to New York. Big, bright 15’ windows; a common area perfect for gatherings and stop-bys; an open kitchen connecting the living and dining area; paintings and obscurities decorated throughout. It would be easy to get jealous of Ryan, except that he is a down-to-earth sweetheart with a great sense of humor and an infectious smile, offering you a glass of mint water and some fresh fruit on a hot summer day.
Ryan is a freelance graphic designer with an excellent eye for interiors, and he's taken on the task of decorating the loft (there are roommates upstairs, but their bedrooms were not included in this house tour). Even with such a dreamy space, Ryan struggles with the same challenges the rest of us do: where to put the bed in a tiny bedroom without built-in closets, where to hide your dirty mops without proper storage, how to get your roommates to do their dishes, all while decorating on a tight budget.
Despite these design challenges, Ryan has done an impeccable job of utilizing the space. Plants and flowers warm up the industrial look of exposed brick and pipes, personal art adds interest, and DIY projects like recycled light fixtures and hand painted dishes add an enormous amount of charm. Ryan jokingly calls his style “curated dumpster diving,” but it’s not too far from the truth. This is garbage picking at its very best. It takes a strong eye to see the value of an oversized "C" in the middle of the night, and an even stronger person to go back and carry it home.
Best of luck to you, Ryan! You can see more of Ryan's art and design at ryancassidy.net.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Curated Dumpster Diving.
Inspiration: Old things, new things, color, quirkiness. I don’t have a big decorating budget, so I have to get creative. That’s how a broken baby crib that I walked past got cleaned and painted and became a pot rack above my stove.
Favorite Element: The big “C”. I saw it on the side of the road while walking though a sketchy area of Bushwick. I went back for it with a zipcar late that night, thinking it would fit in the trunk of a hatchback. When it didn’t, I booked an SUV for the next morning and was lucky to still find it there.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was the furniture layout within the space. I wanted to have the 8 foot workstation near the windows while leaving enough room for the living room. Putting the couch on a diagonal worked the best. My siblings and I used to make fun of my father for always wanting to kitty-corner everything. Turns out he was right.
What Friends Say: My friends all like my apartment for the high ceilings, exposed brick and the light that comes in at dusk. The ones who visit from Manhattan are jealous of the amount of space I have.
Biggest Embarrassment: Sometimes things get a little cluttered because I don’t have any closets. So tools and mops and buckets and bicycles become eyesores.
Proudest DIY: I made the pendant lights that hang above the workstation out of plain paint cans from Home Depot. I spray-painted the inside with a glossy silver and the outside with an antiqued bronze.
Best Advice: Don’t try to stick with one specific look, like all-vintage or all-modern. Buy what you like, make stuff, and look for ways to repurpose things.
Dream Sources: Stanley Kubrick prop storage, a Canadian taxidermy shop, sign salvage from 1960’s factories, the McKittrick Hotel, my Grammy’s craft club.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Benjamin Moore Chalkboard (Kitchen)
- Benjamin Moore Artichoke Hearts (Bathroom door)
- Dresser: heirloom
- Rug: IKEA
- Round Chair: Craigslist
- Couch and chair: Craigslist
- Coffee tabletop found on the sidewalk. The base is a stool from a yard sale that I reupholstered
- Wooden box from my grandfather’s basement. I added casters.
- Vintage lamp: antique store
- Paintings: Ryan Cassidy
- Siamese Twin Engraving: eBay
- Table: $10 Salvation Army
- Chairs: IKEA and Salvation Army
- Plates: Hand-painted thrift store plates
- Prints: Ryan Cassidy
- Mirror: Thrift store in Massachusetts
- Rotary Phones: eBay and antique store
- Island Counter: IKEA hack (birch entertainment center on legs instead of casters)
- Chalkboard wall
- Pot-rack above stove: repurposed crib
- Sofa Sections: CB2
- Shag Rug: Artistic Weavers
- Curtains and throw pillow covers: IKEA
dresser: from my grandparents house
over bed: a friend’s
watercolor: A street artist in Peru
- Painted door
- Shower curtain: gift from my boyfriend
- Print: Ryan Cassidy
and bookcase: IKEA
Crate and Barrel and IKEA
C sign: from the side of the road
horse head: Marshall’s
(Images: Andrea Sparacio)
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