Cullen’s 50s Collector’s Heaven in Brooklyn

updated Feb 20, 2019
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Name: Cullen
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

I collect 1950s antiques and had a unique experience finding an unrenovated mid-century apartment. My search started after already living in New York for 8 years. I had moved just after turning 18 to go to college. After 1 year in the dorms I was ready for my own place and I found a great deal on a 1 bedroom in the West Village off Washington Square Park. It was your typical renovated blah NYC apartmentt, but I did move as much of my 50s collection as I could cram in and made it as retro as I could.

After 7 years in the apartment, not only had I accumulated an unholy amount of antiques, but I was ready for a real sized apartment (my 1st bedroom was 12×7). So I figured since I was going to try to move, I would actually try to find an unrenovated mid-century apartment. This, I knew, was almost impossible. The modus operandi of NYC, especially with lower rent apartments and as I’m sure you know, is to constantly gut renovate when people move out and get rid of all the great original details.

One day, during the 4th month of looking, I get an email from a broker in Williamsburg Brooklyn, saying she has my apartment and I needed to come to Brooklyn ASAP to look at it. So, needless to say, my now favorite broker in the world was right and I put down a deposit that day to sign a lease the following day. I did do some minor restorations, like restoring all the original kitchen hardware, removing all the paint etc ( and also learned at the time as I took the hardware off that the original kitchen had been the same pink as the bathroom). I also painted every inch of the apt and moved a lot more of the antiques I had stored at my parents house to Brooklyn, as I finally had the space and right backdrop to display things. I’m sad to say, there is about as much pictured in my apartment still in storage, so hopefully one day I can upgrade again to a period house. But for now, I honestly think I couldn’t have found a more 1950s apartment in the amazing condition it was in in NYC.

Thanks, Cullen!

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