This Investment Educator’s Brooklyn Rental Is Compact, Colorful, and Cool

published Mar 7, 2022
Money Month

This Investment Educator’s Brooklyn Rental Is Compact, Colorful, and Cool

published Mar 7, 2022
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Name: Amanda Holden, also known as “Dumpster.Doggy
Location: Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn
Type of Home: Railroad-style apartment in an 8-unit apartment building, built in the 1920s— with all the charm (and headache) of a building built in the 1920s! 
Years lived in: 1.5 year, renting

Entrepreneur and educator Amanda Holden, who operates her education business Invested Development with a guilt-and-shame-free approach, says she aims to answer the question: “How do I teach dusty investing topics without making my students want to stick needles into their eyeballs?” She does so by writing, teaching workshops and courses, and creating free (and often VERY funny) financial and investment content on her unforgettably named Instagram account, @Dumpster.Doggy.

Credit: Erin Derby

“I started my entrepreneurial journey and career as a writer after quitting a job in investment management in San Francisco — a job that kinda made me want to die inside. Now, from my cute apartment in Brooklyn, I teach thousands of people to invest — mostly women — each year!” Amanda begins. “I moved to New York City about six months before the pandemic and was bouncing around some classically bad temporary spots until I nabbed this apartment from a friend leaving town.”

Credit: Erin Derby

The apartment she scored — and decorated with the help of interior stylist Anna Brettschenider — is what you might describe as railroad style, but in a “good way,” she swears. “The layout is basically two apartments connected by a kitchen, which is shared. But we have separate bedrooms/living rooms, bathrooms, and entrances. It’s the best of both worlds! I have near-total privacy, but get all the perks of having a roommate: we help each other out, share utility bills, and when I run out of oat milk for my coffee? I can sneak the occasional swig from my dearest kitchen-mate.” 

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, meaningful, and silly things charm me. This apartment is very “funky hidden bar off a side-street,” but I also love a retro Miami or a vintage “Mad Men” vibe too. I’m tacky at heart, so it’s all about balancing out my inner rhinestone cowgirl with more modern choices. 

Favorite Element: The pink wall clearly sets a whole vibe, but I like the fireplace mantel or my Moroccan rug.

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Challenge: Furnishing and decorating on a budget! It’s easy to have great style if you can spend a bunch of money. But that’s not the reality for so many of us who are living creatively in NYC. 

And then there’s the typical NYC apartment “furniture Tetris” you have to play when you’re trying to make a bedroom, living room, office, and closet all happen within one very specifically-shaped box. 

Proudest DIY: The two big pieces of art in my space are rescues, from a friend’s darling mom who was downsizing and looking to get rid of some things. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this Matisse [print] myself, but the green border I painted on this free piece of art makes it pretty special. 

Credit: Erin Derby

I try to be conscientious about what I’m consuming, and always attempt to shop secondhand. Overall, my apartment has a pretty fabulous mix of vintage, thrifted, and reincarnated finds in addition to stuff I’ve purchased new. It’s hard to be a single person with no car out here in NYC! Sometimes, you just need IKEA to drop some affordable furniture at your doorstep. 

Biggest Indulgence: The pillow on my bed, by Aelfie. It looks like a witch’s mouth and I love it very much, but yeah, spending $100 on a pillowcase was a real first for me. 

Something unique about your home or how you use it: My answer above, about the shared kitchen situation. It makes rent affordable while giving me plenty of personal space!

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Products: I have six pieces of art from Mexican artisans in my apartment — the girl on the mantel and the zebra on my dresser are my most recent purchases. Lots of the smaller pieces of art are by my friends and local artists. In the next phase of “adulting,” my goal is to invest in larger works by local and living artists.

My planter game is pretty fire, if I do say so myself. I love my black-and-white plant pots, they give me “Beetlejuice” vibes. I’ve got three disco ball pots made by a local Brooklyn artist who creates them by tile mosaic. I got them at a fabulous shop called Stems in the Bushwick neighborhood.

Credit: Erin Derby

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: My best organizational trick is to be conscientious about bringing in new stuff. I would not say I am a particularly organized person, so for me, it’s the only way. I work tirelessly to fight my true nature, my deeply maximalist urge to pack stuff into every corner of this apartment! 

Two-and-a-half years ago I moved to NYC with three suitcases, so it’s been a real slow accumulation since. I’ve only now entered into the fun phase—my “$100 pillowcase” phase.

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Here’s the thing, I don’t know how to decorate. I have a strong personal style, but I don’t like, Pinterest, as a verb. I simply do not dream of curtain rods. My apartment would not look this cool if it weren’t for the help of an interior stylist, Anna Brettschenider! I saw her apartment on Instagram and I loved her color choices, so I boldly slid into her DMs and asked her if she’d guide me. I sent her some of my saved inspo, and she whipped up design suggestions and a color palette that included this pink wall. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have a (very) pink apartment, I would’ve called you a liar. 

Life comes at you fast!


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Blue chair — Target
  • Pond mirror — Ferm Living 
  • Blue terrazzo side table — Article
  • Black and white planters — OYOY (tall planters are currently sold out)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Abstract mirror — The 204 Studio
  • Black-and-white planters — OYOY (tall planters are currently sold out)
  • Green vase — West Elm
  • Clay hanging pot — Bloomscape
  • White plant stand — Street rescue (or as I like to call it, the Brooklyn Exchange)
  • Brass candelabra — Facebook Marketplace 
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Duvet cover — HAY
  • Blue pillows — Etsy 
  • Mouth pillow — Aelfie
  • Matisse — Gifted, border painted green 
  • Flower print — Gifted, red frame by Frame It Easy
  • Curtains — Urban Outfitters 
  • Green side table — Craigslist 
  • Disco planters — Clean Cut Mosaics
  • Checkered rug — Urban Outfitters
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Desk — IKEA
  • Shelf — Local hardware store 
  • Flower prints — From a vintage book  
  • Hot pink frames — Frame It Easy
  • Flower candle holder — Vintage from Feng Sway 

Thanks Amanda!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

This piece is part of Money Month, where we’re covering everything from side hustles to down payments to a beginner’s guide to investing. Head over here to read more!