Cozy Color & Creativity in Brooklyn

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Name: Giverny Petitmermet and Mara Gannon (plus Eloise the cat)
Location: Carroll Gardens/Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years (as of house tour photo shoot)/1.5 years (at time of A-Line video shoot); rented

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In Brooklyn, on the top floor of a charming little building located just across the street from the elevated subway tracks, is Giverny and Mara’s apartment. These two roommates have created a colorful, welcoming retreat with vintage finds, clever DIYs, and a smattering of IKEA.

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Welcome to Giverny and Mara’s colorful apartment! This is the living/dining room: the door on the right leads to the bathroom, and the doorway leads to the kitchen. (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Giverny and Mara are also the stars of the sixth episode of Apartment Therapy’s A Line video series. Each episode compares two apartments in the same building, with identical floor plans, and looks at the unique choices that each apartment’s occupants have made to make their place feel like home. Watch the video above, and then head downstairs to tour the apartment of Giverny and Mara’s neighbors, Ricky & McCary, and see what they’ve done with an identical floor plan.

Another fun thing to do is to compare the shots of Giverny and Mara’s apartment in the video to the way it looks now. The A Line video was filmed nearly two years ago, and Giverny and Mara’s place, like any home, is constantly evolving.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-Century Modern, Bauhaus, Scandinavian design, bright pops of color a la Southern California, tasteful DIY

Inspiration: My upbringing by my hippie, artist parents in San Diego, places I’ve traveled to, and great art/design. Mara’s biggest inspiration is the beach. Both Mara and I grew up near the beach; Mara in New Jersey and me in California. As Mara has graciously let me design our shared spaces, I have tried to incorporate our shared love into our spaces.

Favorite Element: The light! Because it is the top floor of a corner building, every room (except the bathroom) has a window and gets amazing light at some point in the day.

Biggest Challenge: The extremely sloping floors and the lack of electrical outlets. Hazards of old buildings. Also making our almost entirely IKEA furnished apartment look less like it was almost entirely furnished by IKEA. Being an actor/babysitter with limited funds, not having a car (until recently), and having no relatives who might have unwanted furniture living with in driving distance, I was limited to things that cost very little money and could be carried on the subway or loaded into a ZipCar.

What Friends Say: It looks like a grown up apartment.

Biggest Embarrassment: Despite our many attempts to fix it, the toilet will continue to loudly, run unless you jiggle the handle just right. Also our buzzer makes the worst noise you will ever hear, and we can’t buzz people in. This results in terrified guests and one of us having to rush downstairs before the person at the door can buzz again and give everyone another heart attack.

Proudest DIY: The pendant lamp in the living room. I loved the look of these globe, string lamps but there was no way I could afford one, so I made my own with a beach ball, yarn, and some corn starch.

Biggest Indulgence: My vintage Eames molded fiberglass arm chair and my vintage Hudson Bay blanket. I’d coveted both for years before I finally found ones I could sorta afford on Ebay. The blanket is the warmest thing ever and the chair makes my design loving soul happy.

Best Advice: Instead of fighting the oddities of your space/situation, try to find creative solutions to work with them.

Dream Sources: Flea markets, Design Within Reach, my parents’ storage units.


(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


  • Chalkboard Paint: Home Depot
  • (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


    • Couch, rug, coffee table, dining table, cabinet, TV stand/storage, record stand/storage, stools, plant holder, string lights, globe lamp, picture ledge- IKEA • Side table and dining chairs – gifted from the family Giverny babysits • Vintage lady head vase – gift from Giverny’s Mom • String pendant lamp- DIY • Collage over table – own work • Side lamp – DIY with a lamp from Etsy and block of wood cut and drilled by a friend • Jar lamp – DIY with found jar and sting lights from IKEA • Floating book shelves – Urban Outfitters • Wine Crates – various wine stores around the city • Map – Future Mapping Company • Throw Pillows – Society 6/ IKEA • Trow Blanket- DIY • Storage Ottoman – hand-me-down from friend, reupholstered by Giverny • Posters – Fab. • Photos – own and friend’s • Vintage Books – Strand • Photo of apartment building from 1930’s, enamel pot and trays- local vintage shop Yesterday’s News
    (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


    • Kitchen Cart/cabinet knobs/ recycling bins/ glass jars/ lamp shade/ rug – IKEA • Wine Crates – various wine stores around the city • Enamel trays / Coffee, Tea, Sugar canisters – vintage • Pot holders – DIY • California/New Jersey dish towels –
    Hansen’s Surf Shop, Encinitas, CA/Etsy • Collage – own work

    • Fondue Tray – thrift store

    (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


    • Drawer unit – Target, drawer fronts DIYed with Duct tape • Over toilet shelf, over door hooks, bath mat – IKEA • Shelf next to sink – DIY • Shower Curtain – Treadless • Crochet baskets – DIY • Vintage beach photos – Yesterday’s News • Postcards – various museums around the world • Salt Water Cure Print- Society 6 • Soap Dish – Muji
    (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


    • Bed/ lamp shade/ book shelf/ folding desk/ wall lamp/ floor lamp/ shoe holders/mirror/ bedding – IKEA • Clock – Target • Vintage New Jersey Road Map – Yesterday’s News • Beach Print – Society 6 • Fish Jewelry holder – DIY from cutting boards • Wall shelves – salvaged from Build It Green

    • Throw Pillows – Target, DIY

    (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)


    • Bed/ bedding/ bookshelves/ desk/ arm chair/ nightstands/ lamps/ lamp shade/ utility cart/ sheepskin/ storage drawer unit/ paper lanterns – IKEA • Throw pillows – DIY • Hudson Bay Blanket – ebay • Eames chair – ebay • Cat House- Catty Stacks via Fab • Enamel trays – vintage • Hanging planters – DIY • Embroidery hoop art – DIY • Art – own, friend’s, museums around the world, Etsy, Fab., New Yorker magazines • Candle holders – CB2

    • Bookends – Muji

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    Thanks, Giverny and Mara!

    *Tour previously published