This Bold Brooklyn Rental Is Colorful Eclectic Maximalism Done Right
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Name: Anna Brettschneider and fiancé, Garrett Albury
Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn
Type of Home: Brownstone apartment
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting
Textile designer and freelance interior stylist Anna Brettschneider had fantasized about living in an old Brownstone, and found her dream home and more in this Park Slope rental space she shares with her fiancé, Garrett Albury. “We fell in love with all of the unique details of the apartment, old creaky floors and all,” she begins. “Having so many windows in one apartment really fills the space with so much life and light and I love looking down at sweet Park Slope from our ‘treehouse.’ It just feels right to live in an old brownstone apartment in such a historic neighborhood where the history emulates inside and out.”
Though full of architectural charm, the home wasn’t without challenges, as the couple had to figure out a furniture layout that would work with the shape of the space. A large bedroom meant the living room is compact, and unsightly (though useful) closets divided the space. But the couple found ways to make the space function for their needs. “With no real doors (except for the bathroom), the functions of each room really flow from one to the next. Working in the kitchen on a styling project one hour and making homemade pasta in the same spot the next… writing our weekly newsletter in the living room right before bingeing a few episodes of ‘Great Pottery Throw Down’… waking up in the bedroom only to walk a few feet to my desk to sit down and start designing rugs… you get the gist,” explains Anna. “Having a small(ish) NYC apartment means every room has a few different uses but I think that’s what gives each space personality and interest.”
Color plays a key role in the couple’s apartment. There’s a lilac-colored kitchen and vibrant food-themed art, there’s a light-filled bedroom with a palette based on the colorful rug, and there are bold red velvet curtains that help disguise the unsightly closets. And cobalt blue makes a statement in different ways all around the apartment.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I still find it hard to nail down what my exact style is… but if I were to put it into words I’d call it “colorful, eclectic, edited maximalism with a focus on mixing old and new.”
Inspiration: I am a magazine addict and thrive on flipping through pages of Cabana Mag or World of Interiors to find inspiration for my own space or my client’s spaces. I also find loads of color inspo from clicking through runway shows on Vogue or just taking a walk around my neighborhood. (Deeming “Construction-Work-Orange” as the new IT color!)
Favorite Element: The bedroom is truly my happy place. It may be where I spend the most time (i.e work and sleep) but I don’t mind that. A small bay window in the front of the house allows for a little plant haven for a few of my pots to sit and thrive in the sun. These windows look out onto an old Cathedral that is just across the street, and I always pinch myself when I am reminded that this is my bedroom view… it feels like a fairy tale image when all the window frame holds is a golden-hour lit church with an old patina roof and a perfectly pruned garden sitting underneath.
Biggest Challenge: The layout of the space was a bit of a challenge upon moving in… the bedroom is GIANT compared to the living room. There were times when we were moving in and placed our furniture into the apartment and everything JUST fit (couch, dresser, piano etc). While I would be happy with an extra foot (or two) in the living room, we’ve finally settled on a good layout for this space. Though, the next apartment we have, I would love to have room for a couch that has arms.
Proudest DIY: I saw an image in a magazine years ago where someone had collected and hung dozens of vintage Chinese lanterns from the ceiling just above their dining room table. I became obsessed with this and thought of how I could take this idea and bring it to my own space on a smaller scale… when I found these amazing hand-painted lanterns while roaming Chinatown one afternoon — I saw the vision! There are now three perfect colorful lanterns hanging above my little dining table. It helps separate the “dining” space from the rest of the kitchen with just that.
Biggest Indulgence: While I found good deals for all of our vintage area rugs, they were still a splurge. Handmade items like this are timeless, last a lifetime, and are 100% worth the investment. The vintage Moroccan rug I found for the bedroom is what inspired the palette for this space. Sometimes antique pieces can get you out of your color palette comfort zone and allow you to see certain color combos in a new light. PLUS the cool factor a vintage textile brings to a space cannot be beat.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I think this apartment is unique in that there is just so much… stuff, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. Every time a friend comes over they instantly request a show and tell around the apartment to see what’s new, what’s moved, and how it looks different from the last time they’ve visited (even if it was just last week). I feel I’m in a constant state of editing to accommodate our love of pretty things. This proves to be a good exercise of seeing what’s working in the room and what needs to go to a new home. One in one out!
I’ve always followed William Morris’ rule of thumb “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” This allows for beautiful things to fill your home (even if it’s just the scrub brush for dishwashing or the soap dish in your bathroom).
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Some of my favorite items I’ve found for the apartment are tucked away in the cabinets of our kitchen. We love to host friends for dinner and have days where all we do is go to the farmer’s market, find cool ingredients, and cook, so we love having pretty tableware to serve with. I was on the hunt for the perfect blue pasta bowl and I found this amazing set from Jars of Dust online — they make any meal look beautiful. I’ve also started a pretty extensive glassware collection. Having lots of choices of what colorful wine glass to drink out of or teacup to pour my earl gray tea into is one of life’s greatest luxuries. This does take a lot of editing, though, and choosing items that even if they seem mismatched at first, still work together in the grand scheme of the kitchen’s color palette.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When we moved in, the living room had these not-so-pretty exposed sliding closet doors just behind where we were planning to place the couch. In an effort to cover these doors, but still be able to use the extra storage space, I found velvet curtains to hang from the ceiling. The curtains not only provide another accent color in the space, they increase the visual height of the room and add an element of soft texture that would otherwise be missing. If there’s something on the wall of your apartment that you can’t cover with only a painting, try curtains!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Decide on a color palette for each room and stick with it! It’s where I always start when styling a client’s space and it’s been so helpful for my own apartment, too. Build your palette first with the color that you will see the most in the space (wall paint, solid color bedding, large rug, etc.) and begin adding accent colors from there. Are there interesting colors in the rug you’ve chosen for the space? Start here and build the palette reflecting the accents in the rug! Have a large-scale print or painting you plan to hang above your bed? Choose your bedding based on the colors in the painting and go more neutral on the floor! The key is all about balance in the palette and moving each color evenly around the space in small amounts.
PAINT & COLORS
Thanks Anna and Garrett !
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form