This Mentalist’s Small Brooklyn Studio Apartment Is a ‘Curated Mind Museum’

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Name: Vinny DePonto
Location: Ditmas Park Brooklyn, NY
Type of home: Studio Apartment
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’m a mentalist, performer, and theatre maker based in Brooklyn. I’ve been living in my sunny little studio in Ditmas Park Brooklyn for four years. This little curated mind museum is also my “theater.” I use it to workshop new shows, write, and build special props. Space for me functions a lot like a mind. It needs to be organized so my thoughts are organized—but not too put together, otherwise it’s creatively limiting. So, built into my space are areas that function as work hubs—so when I’m writing I’m at my desk, researching I’m in my chair near my books, and when I’m making collages or designing materials I’ve got a fold-away table to spread out on.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic, Arcane, Thoughtful, Curated, Whimsical.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the main room—bedroom by night—living room by day (thanks to my Murphy bed). It’s also home to my Eames chair and my books. On those shelves are endless old books on magic, mind-reading, the occult, design, and psychology. They are an endless source of inspiration while writing and researching new projects. My favorite place to be is in my chair scouring through them while my brain lights up with new ideas. It has now become my actual theater—as I do virtual mind-reading shows from this room. The show is called Mental Amusements and I’ve now had a few hundred people see the inside of my apartment via Zoom!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? While traveling in Italy earlier this year I stumbled upon a tiny mask shop on a charming side street in Florence. Alice’s Mask Studio is owned by a quiet man named Agostino Dessi and is packed to the brim with all of his handmade masks. I wanted to buy all of of them but I ended up going with a beautiful Pinocchio mask, which I hang on my door to remind me to never lie to myself.

Any advice for creating a home you love? For me it is about creating a place that is both comforting and inspiring. You have to feel at home but also challenged by your space so you never feel complacent. My friends always laugh every time they come over (in the before times) because something is always different; a new arrangement, a new piece of art, a new couch (I’ve had four of them!) But I like it—my mind and my work is ever evolving and my space reflects that. I enjoy discovering new comforts through change.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.