Elsa’s Eclectic Brooklyn Bohemian Spa

Elsa’s Eclectic Brooklyn Bohemian Spa

Fabienne Ayina
Jul 14, 2015
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Name: Elsa
Location: Park Slope; Brooklyn, NY
Size: One floor of a brownstone
Years lived in: 15 years; Rented

Walking in the cold wind from the subway to a row of brownstones, I was reminded of how much I should seriously consider moving somewhere warmer. But as soon as I walked into Elsa’s space, I was transported into a magic and unknown land. From the mix of patterns, textures, and plants to the copious amount of light, her oasis apartment is an ode to the senses.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Elsa is a jewelry designer and art director who has masterminded the creation of a peaceful haven in a busy city. Her free-spirit attitude gives her the opportunity to create her own universe, and when it comes to a definite style, she needs no advice.

“I wanted to have a tropical feel,” she recalls. The dreamy refuge is actually the perfect destination for bliss. Here in the living room travel finds and other souvenirs from Bali mix happily with vintage furniture and visual ephemera. By contrast, the kitchen offers a touch of drama with a vintage painting of a bouquet floating on the magenta counter- and for a moment I’m in Italy. And to keep things refreshing, Elsa tastefully improvised a mood board on one of the walls. The French doors separate the living space from the bedroom and give her the option to improvise a dining room on a whim. The almost-midnight blue wall in the living room is enveloping and sets the mood for relaxation. Lastly, her book collection blends perfectly among the exotic wonders. By now, I want to spend the night as I'm way too relaxed to leave.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

My Style: Eclectic Bohemian Spa. I like my rooms with a little attitude, a lot of drama, with a side of calm.

Inspiration: Travel. I want you to feel like you have stepped into a light and airy time and place where you can un-furrow the brow and relax the shoulders- and can I offer you a great juice? I am a super host and I love having people over.

Favorite Element: Air. I am an air sign and I like to be flying. When you step into the space you feel light and relaxed.

Biggest Challenge: I have almost no storage space so everything is out in the open. Hard to keep things looking organized. I so want to be a minimalist but…

What Friends Say: Most people come here and want to stay for a long time- and some do because I have a guest room which was to be an office. I have a photon energy photon ring which keeps the energy clear, so when you enter you feel relaxed and refreshed. The city is so manic and fast-paced that I wanted to make it as spa-like as possible.

Biggest Embarrassment: Well, I have always loved a good find and I will suffer for beauty. When I was 20 and living in Cairo, I found the most amazing lamp in the bazaar there and didn't know about foreign shipping so I hand-carried it on the plane. Not wrapped or anything. Ha! I still have it even though now you can buy similar at West Elm probably.

Proudest DIY: Building the shelves in my bathroom! Oh, and the bookshelves in the dining room. I can design but hate to build.

Biggest Indulgence: Bought a year's supply of Dyptique candles for gifts and kept them.

Best Advice: Know thyself. A home should be comfortable and beautiful, a place for reflection and rejuvenation. So decorate to make yourself happy and get rid of the clutter!

Dream Sources: Kelly Wearstler, Calypso Home, Lamps from Morocco


(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • The baskets on the wall are from Botswana when I was traveling there from Zimbabwe during college.
  • The glass table was the first piece of furniture I ever purchased, from a cool shop on Greene Street (which is no longer there).
  • The seating, couch, and chairs are from friends who were moving or redecorating. Honestly, most of my furniture finds are vintage deals from friends.
  • The accessories are all from traveling.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

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Thanks, Elsa!

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