A Cosmo Editor and a Designer (Who Are Also Comedians!) Set Up Home in Williamsburg

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Living room shelf (Image credit: Submitted by Carina)

Name: Carina and her roommate Claudia
Location: Williamsburg — Brooklyn, New York
The basics: 11 months, rented | 400 square feet

Carina and Claudia’s Williamsburg apartment is colorful, fun and full of secret weirdness. They’ve made their first “Grown Up” apartment functional and pretty without taking the whole thing too seriously.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We’re comedians (you may have seen our viral Commuter Barbie sketch working its way around ) and BFFS ever since we roomed together freshman year in college. I’m a Sex & Relationships Editor at Cosmo (so there’s always a bunch of weird sex stuff floating around our apt that I have to remember to self-censor when we have guests over) and my roomie Claudia is a brand packaging designer.

I sent a very frenzied 3 am email out to our honors program listserv about desperately needing a new roomie and Claudia answered within the hour so we’ve just been insomniacs together since. We’ve lived together on and off pretty much ever since (you know how hard it is matching up lease dates) but this is our first place together that feels Grown Up™ a.k.a has a real living room and not some shitty convertible flex kitchenette.

We’re really proud of our home and what we’ve done with what we’ve got, because we feel like it speaks to who we are. We’d describe our aesthetic as, “Jonathan Adler if he were a 23 year old girl living in Williamsburg on a budget”. From afar, things seem grown up and put together, but when you look closer you realize how weird it all is. We love having little easter eggs around our apartment for guests to find and comment on — like our bowl of fake lemons, mini gallery wall, photo album of photoshopped photos of us in different historical time periods, etc. The easter eggs are definitely the most fun part of decorating for us. Everything’s got the trappings of adulthood at first glance, but then you realize something’s weird.

Because we’re also comedians and writing partners, we needed a space where we could feel inspired and safe to get weird. We host a monthly show at Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg and we often need space to rehearse/make props for that, which, when you’ve only got 400 square feet to work with, can be tricky, so everything is pretty much collapsable and space-saving. For our most recent video shoot, we shot everything in our apt and just disassembled EVERYTHING in our living room so it was a bare bones cyclorama.

As for location: we actually fell in love with another apartment on the block first, and when our application for that one didn’t go through, we pettily searched the name of our street until we found our current place. It all worked out for the best though, because we now live on this fun movie corner block (they’re ALWAYS shooting stuff here and we get to make a Very Big Deal of like, wagging our house keys a block away like, EXCUSE ME I LIVE HERE! THIS IS A GIANT INCONVENIENCE TO SEE AZIZ ANSARI OUTSIDE WOW).

What is your favorite room and why? We love the living room because it’s where the majority of the fun details are. If we’ve both got fun things we want as conversation starters, they go in the living room.

Some of our faves include:

  • Mini busts we bought on Amazon and painted to match the different colors of book groupings on our shelf.
  • Leather photo album on our coffee table that’s just filled with different photos of us photoshopped into different historical settings/and also movies. So there are just our selfies on renaissance art, or Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette poster, etc.
  • Dollhouse mini gallery wall next to our regs, grown up gallery wall
  • An old fashioned pipe I found at a dollar store
  • Several framed photos of Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant photoshopped onto Abercrombie & Fitch ads
  • Famed “Sexless Cosmo Sex Position” illustration that our resident designer made for me — she’s just a girl lying supine in bed scrolling on Twitter and eating Cheetos.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? Changing the tile and backsplash in the kitchen and bathroom. It’s the exact same tile so it feels like one hellish mobius strip of grey tile.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Hmmm we bought a bunch of vintage board games and a mid-century ice bucket to decorate our bar cart during an eBay binge.

Originally we wanted to stack all the games on the bottom of the bar cart but we didn’t take measurements into account so only one of them fits. We got ‘Game of States’ from 1960 to fit on there, then ‘Dream Date’ (which we thought would be extra cute to go along with my then promotion to Sex & Relationships Editor at work) from 1963 sits up on our shelves because it ended up being HUGE.

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Ilana Wexler from Broad City.

Carina’s words of wisdom:

  • Don’t be afraid of big objects. We resisted buying rugs and other “big” things like wardrobes (choosing to use a shitty garment rack because it felt like it’d take up less space was NOT the right move to make for four months).
  • Rugs are your friend! We didn’t have a rug in our living room for months because we were afraid it would clash and look small, but actually it opened up the space a LOT.
  • If you get something and think you hate it, live with it for a week and then decide. When we bought our Nate Berkus chair we thought we definitely didn’t have the room for it and wanted to return it right away, but after living with it for a week we fell in love. Now we can’t imagine what we would’ve done with that space without the chair!
  • Plants liven up a space a LOT. People always comment on how boho and fun my room is, but it’s literally just like $40 Urban Outfitters curtains and a shit ton of plants. That’s literally ALL it is.

Thanks, Carina !

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