Sheena's Converted Warehouse Apartment in DUMBO

Sheena's Converted Warehouse Apartment in DUMBO

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Nasozi Kakembo
Sep 29, 2014
(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Name: Sheena Murphy
Location: DUMBO; Brooklyn, New York
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

The home of interior designer Sheena Murphy boasts one of the most iconic views known the world over. Nestled practically underneath the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), it is the first thing you see when you walk into Sheena’s home. Almost. Such a view can present itself as both an opportunity and a challenge. While it could be easy to lionize this focal point, Sheena designed the home in such a way that it did not dominate or overshadow the decorative elements of the home itself.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Sheena strikes a clever balance between the landmark quality of her riverfront home, and the personal touches that adorn it. Design and decor details abound in the home which was built in a converted warehouse building. Exposed wooden pylons and beams from the original factory recall the neighborhood’s manufacturing past yet remain decorative and functional. In the kitchen Sheena reserves one such pylon and another reclaimed wood shelf for spices and accessories.

These original details (and view) of Sheena’s home could have easily defined it, but instead she has chosen to appoint it with textiles, complementary furniture, artwork, and bold paint colors. Even the floor-to-ceiling-high window treatments balance rather than diminish the view of the Manhattan Bridge. Her Lucite coffee table is almost invisible if not for the books and succulents that rest atop it, and it is no coincidence that the African Kuba cloth bench below the window echoes the geometric designs of the bridge's lattice piers. These elements amount to a clean and harmonious interior that gives a nod to both historic design traditions and modern ones in one cohesive space.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Layered, eclectic, and a little masculine.

Inspiration: Travel is always at the top of everyone’s list, and it’s no different for me. I love learning about how people, food, architecture, design, and art vary in different parts of the world. I have been fortunate enough to live in a number of different countries, and the more I see and learn, the more excited I get about the possibilities in design. I am also incredibly inspired living and working in New York City, and I feel very fortunate I get to experience being here everyday.

Favorite Element: I have a few. The first is my Brutalist Maurizio Tempestini Lamp, which I found on Ebay for just $300. The second is my Kawa bowl from Souda; I love the handmade quality of it and that it was created using vintage leather molds! Lastly, I recently bought an Object & Totem vase, which is probably my current favorite thing. I have a thing for things.

Biggest Challenge: Convincing my husband to paint the walls and hang curtains.

What Friends Say: They love it, but honestly, the view usually steals its thunder.

Biggest Embarrassment: The color on the wall in the den; it is much too bright for my liking.

Proudest DIY: I’m not much of a DIYer, but I had some vintage Eames chairs reupholstered in an African mudcloth, and I love how they turned out.

Biggest Indulgence: A vintage Paul McCobb Dining Table.

Best Advice: Always consider window treatments, they can make such a difference.

Dream Sources: If I could, I would shop at Eccola (LA), Fresh Kills (Brooklyn) and Flair Home (Manhattan) for vintage furniture, Apparatus Studio (Manhattan) for lighting, Project 407 (Brooklyn) for rugs and Joinery (Brooklyn) for ceramics and textiles.

(Image credit: Seth Caplan)

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS
• Living/Dining Room - Benjamin Moore, Newburg Green
• Den – Benjamin Moore, Teal

ENTRY
• Dresser – Design within Reach
• Artwork - Jo Diquez on Etsy
• Chinese Hanging – Vintage
• Hooks – Anthropologie
• Ceiling Lamp - Design Within Reach
• Letter Holder + Tray – Vintage

LIVING ROOM
• Sofa – West Elm
• Coffee Table – Vintage
• Arm Chair – DwellStudio
• Floor Lamp – Organic Modernism Outlet
• Side Table – Vintage
• Task Lamp – Vintage
• Buffet – West Elm
• Pillows – Thief & Bandit
• Rug – ABC Home
• Ottoman – Room & Board
• Table Lamp – Vintage
• Bench – West Elm
• Mirror – CB2
• Macrame – Himoart
• Turkish Tray – Vintage
• Copper Tray – ParkHaus Berlin
• Magazine Rack – Vintage
• Accessories – Journey Dumbo, Boerum Home, SmallSpells, Housing Works

DINING ROOM
• Dining Table – Vintage
• Dining Chairs – Vintage
• Sheepskin Rug - Milabert
• Artwork – ParkHaus Berlin
• Bowl – Souda

KITCHEN
• Stools - Amazon
• Shelf – West Elm
• Accessories – Canvas Home, Haven’s Kitchen, Jonathan Adler

BEDROOM
• Headboard – West Elm
• Side Tables – Vintage
• Table Lamps – Vintage
• Bedding – Restoration Hardware, Canvas Home
• Dressers – Ikea
• Artwork – Sarah Swanson on Etsy

DEN
• Sofa – Bo Concept
• Desk – ABC Home
• Chair – Vintage
• Artwork – Felix Gonzalez Torres, Gift from a friend
• Pillows – DwellStudio, Zak + Fox
• Rug – West Elm
• Media Console – Design Within Reach
• Bookcase – The Container Store
• Side Table – Blu Dot
• Sconce – Design Within Reach
• Pouf – Etsy
• Planter Basket – Crate & Barrel
• Accessories – SmallSpells, Cotton + Flax, Journey Dumbo, Bauhaus Museum Berlin

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Thanks, Sheena!

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