Ana Creates a Community at Home

Ana Creates a Community at Home

Jill Slater
May 22, 2013

Name: Ana, John, Santi (3), Evie (1) and Taco
Location: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,230 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, 7 months; Owned

When Ana found the listing for this 3-bedroom duplex in the New York Times, her immediate response was "it's way too good to be true." The building had been in litigation for three years and most people had been scared off. 

John and Ana had a one year old at the time and were living in a one-bedroom apartment, using their dining room as their nursery. They wanted more space but were working with an exceptionally low budget for Brooklyn real estate. 

According to Ana, now that they are settled in the new place, "they are not going to grow out of it for the long-term." Ana loves that this duplex offers great flexibility and the potential "anything can happen" as the family evolves. Unlike their neighbors, Molly and John, John and Ana live with their unit's original design. They have made few if any changes to the space but are open to doing so when the time comes. 

The block is full of amenities, sprinkled among the various sites on the block owned by a single developer. Of the ten units in the building, there are 13 kids under the age of four. Neighbors host events, cultivating community at every turn. In fact, Ana was so inspired by the small village-like atmosphere of her block that she set up a social network called "Nextdoor" for her neighborhood. 

"It sounds so idyllic, but it's cool." Ana is sold. Not just on a great apartment that can grow as her family grows, but on a neighborhood full of friends instead of strangers.   

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: It's really a mish-mash. We tend to gravitate towards a mid-century/modern aesthetic but also love different textures and materials inspired by our travels and Filipino heritage. 

Inspiration: Travelling and seeing how other people live

Favorite Element: The light! After living in dark, pre-war apartments for the last 10 years, the light was what cinched the deal.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping clutter at bay. It was manageable with a dog and 1 child, but throwing a second child in the mix has made it exponentially harder.

What Friends Say: People have commented that our home reflects our personal style. I choose to take that as a compliment!

Biggest Embarrassment: The dog hair tumbleweeds that collect in every corner of the apartment between vacuuming sessions.

Proudest DIY: Staining our white oak dining table

Biggest Indulgence: The custom window treatments in every room. They cost a small fortune but have been worth every penny.

Best Advice: "Buy what you love." I'm not ashamed to say that our first apartment in NY was furnished almost entirely with Ikea. Over the years however, we have slowly replaced items piece by piece with things that we love, saved up for, and/or have special meaning to us. It gives me so much pleasure to live in our home.

Dream Sources: ABC Carpet & Home

Resources of Note:


  • Shoe cabinets – IKEA


  • Couch – cb2
  • Teal Armchair – Fabrica LLC
  • Console table- Room and Board
  • Rug - Safavieh


  • Dining table – Crate and Barrel
  • Dining chairs – Whiteonwhite
  • Dresser (under stairs) – Heywood Wakefield; left behind by the previous owner of our last apartment
  • Rug – Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey


  • Bed & dressers – Ikea
  • Side tables – Jonathan Adler
  • Rug – Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Lamps – eBay
  • Starburst mirror – imports store in Park Slope (can't remember the name, not sure if they're even still in business)


  • Bed, cabinets, rug, baskets – Ikea!!!

Thanks, Ana!

John and Ana are participants in our A-Line video series. We'll be doing house tours of many of those homes in order to share still images and tell their story. Check out Ana and John's neighbors, Molly and John.

(Images: Jill Slater)

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
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