This Brooklyn Rental Is Home to an Art-Collecting Couple and Over 100 Shrimp

published Sep 20, 2023

This Brooklyn Rental Is Home to an Art-Collecting Couple and Over 100 Shrimp

published Sep 20, 2023
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“When we left FiDi in 2017, we knew that Brooklyn was the ideal next home for us.” John Dennehy and Kirby Voigtman say they were drawn to this apartment’s location, in the 300 Ashland Place building, because it “sits between Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, and Downtown Brooklyn. The convenience of the subways at Atlantic Terminal also meant that we could easily visit our friends whether they were in the Upper West Side or Williamsburg.”  

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Credit: Erin Derby

The couple are co-founders of Testudo, a “platform that connects more people with art of our moment and helps them build enduring collections over time,” they explain. “With our respective backgrounds in finance and e-commerce and our passion for collecting, we started Testudo to invite more people into the art world and replicate our own collecting experience for others.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Thankfully, their 786-square-feet, two-bedroom apartment offers plenty of wall space for their art collection, which is a diverse mix of paintings, prints, photos, and even nature (in the form of a giant fossilized dinosaur femur). It’s also the rental’s natural light that they love, too. “The sunlight and view from the apartment initially captured our hearts,” Dennehy writes. “Our apartment faces east so we get to see the sunrise every morning; fortunately, we are early risers!”

Credit: Erin Derby

When it comes to filling their apartment with furniture, the couple advises to think about the long-term. “We try our best to buy high-quality pieces that will bring joy and, more importantly, survive for the long run. That mindset can be applied to purchases as seemingly inconsequential as a small copper whisk in the kitchen or to major acquisitions like artwork. In both cases, the right decision is informed by careful research, conversations, and consideration,” Dennehy writes. 

Credit: Erin Derby

But lest you think their whole philosophy is only about collecting, Dennehy and Voigtman also have plenty of advice on how to not end up with a too-cluttered home. “I firmly believe that you have to be absolutely ruthless with your possessions when living in a small space,” Dennehy begins. “In an ideal world, I would keep absolutely everything; however, the unfortunate reality of a New York apartment is that space remains at a premium. We even use our dishwasher for additional storage space! With this in mind, we only keep the objects and works that are deemed essential. Twice a year, Kirby and I rummage through our closets and drawers in order to sort out anything that we don’t need. Those ‘unessential’ items are then donated, sold, or given to friends.”

Resources

Credit: Erin Derby

ENTRY

Credit: Erin Derby

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Erin Derby

OFFICE

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KITCHEN

Credit: Erin Derby

BEDROOM

Thanks, John and Kirby!

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