Aimee and David's Comfortable Updates

Aimee and David's Comfortable Updates

Liz Hanson
Aug 8, 2015
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

Name: Aimee and David
Location: Windsor Terrace; Brooklyn, NY
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 (Aimee) and 9 (David); Rented

Every item in Aimee and David’s home has its own unique story. I first visited their apartment for their annual “East Meets West” dinner party, in which each guest is invited to bring a traditional dish from their heritage to share. That first night- over spicy pork and cabbage, followed by eggplant parmesan- I heard the story about the lamp from Butte, MT, the tray tables Aimee hunted down on eBay, and the blood, sweat, and tears David put into building their mirrored Ikea wardrobe. It was evident that the welcoming, mix-n-match, from-scratch attitude of their annual dinner party infused the rest of their lives- including their decor.

(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

It was also clear immediately that I wanted to come back, camera in tow, to learn the rest of the stories. Their apartment tour did not disappoint. They were just as welcoming to me as on that first evening, and happily regaled me with stories of the folding chairs they rescued from a church basement on Houston Street, the lamp that came back from Japan after Aimee’s father’s tour there with the Navy, and the Night-Blooming Cereus from San Diego that was happily flourishing in their sunny Brooklyn window.

But more impressive than all that is Aimee and David’s straightforward, thoughtful approach to building a welcoming and comfortable home for their growing family and all their friends. They’ve worked hard to merge two very different attitudes towards the belongings in their home (“Navy brat vs. pack rat,” as they describe it), they’ve made small, affordable upgrades with big impacts, and they’ve invested in the items that, as David puts it, “affect [their] lives every day.” The result? A home I’d like to move right into.

(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Streetfind, Heirloom, Eclectic

Inspiration: Making use of what we have. So much of what’s in our apartment has been updated with a fresh coat of paint, a new lamp shade, or a quick reupholstery job. It’s a very New York quality to take what you’ve got and make it work.

Favorite Element: The light. It goes all the way through the apartment, rising in the living room in the morning and setting in the back behind the bedroom and the kitchen in the afternoon. During certain times of the year, a phenomenon we’ve named “apartmenthenge” occurs and the light penetrates from one end of the apartment to the other, flooding in on all sides.

Biggest Challenge: Combining the belongings of a Navy brat and a pack rat into one cohesive home that suited both our styles. Before I [Aimee] moved in, the apartment had been home to fifteen generations of roommates, and had never once been fully emptied out in that time. There was about twice as much stuff as what we have in here now. We took the time to cull and edit before I officially moved in, but sometimes we’ll still run across an item from an old roommate that they abandoned when they moved out.

What Friends Say: That our home feels comfortable and spacious, especially for New York City, often accompanied by a, “You have a whole room for your clothes?!”.

Biggest Embarrassment: There’s one wall in the kitchen we haven’t finished painting.

Proudest DIY: The small upgrades that have made a big difference, like painting the trim in the living room white. It had originally matched the red that is still in the study and was too garish in that large a quantity. And building the mirrored Ikea wardrobe without any extra pieces left over.

Biggest Indulgence: Aimee: The couch. When I moved in the couch had been here through three roommate turnovers. It was sloppy and sun-bleached and I hated it. I really wanted this one and we went for it.

David: The stove. Even though we rent I decided to ask if I could replace the stove when the last one broke down. I love to cook. I touch it every day. I wanted to invest in a quality stove that I knew would improve that experience. It may not pay off in the ledger over time, but in my opinion it’s already paid itself off based on that alone. I believe in going ahead and indulging in the things that will affect you every day.

Best Advice: Look for the little changes you can make: swapping out the kitchen faucet, painting the trim, buying new lampshades. Twenty dollars can make a big difference and those low-budget upgrades free you up to invest in the pieces that really matter.

Dream Sources: Our block on a Sunday afternoon after the yard sales have wrapped up. People put out the items that haven’t sold for free. We live in a neighborhood that has a lot of generational homeownership so there’s some fantastic old pieces that get set out.


(Image credit: Liz Hanson)


All (new) paint is Valspar matte paint

  • Hallway: Artichoke
  • Kitchen: Merigold
  • Bathroom: Dark grey on grey
  • Blue in hallway and bedroom and red in study are old
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)


  • Mirror: left in apartment by former roommate, painted with brass paint
  • Folding chairs: found in church basement and reupholstered by H&A upholstery
  • Couch: Room & Board
  • Pillows and blanket: Crate & Barrel
  • TV stand: Etsy
  • Bar cart: Etsy
  • Tray tables: eBay
  • Shelving: Ikea
  • Overhead lamp: Butte, MT, consignment shop
  • Night-Blooming Cereus: From a cutting of a plant in San Diego
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)


(Image credit: Liz Hanson)


  • Bed: Claudio Rayes
  • Bedding: Macy's
  • End tables: Claudio Rayes
  • Lamp: Japan
  • Luggage: hand-me-downs and thrifted
  • Trunk: CT antique store
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)


  • Wardrobe: Ikea
  • Rug: Home Depot
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

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Thanks, Aimee & David!

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