Evelyn Lee’s Sustainable Starter Apartment

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Name: Evelyn Lee
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Size: 1,185 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Meet Evelyn and her cat, Sam. Evelyn’s Williamsburg apartment was her first project directly out of Parsons’ Interior Design program (yes, she’s LEED accredited); and where she was able, she used sustainable materials to create a relaxing haven she calls home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Though Evelyn’s apartment is a project in progress, she has made sustainable choices not only in the materials selected but also in the sense that her pieces will last as she grows in to the space. She is highly selective and will only collect things she knows she truly loves, oftentimes during her travels. The apartment itself is large by New York City standards (1,185 square feet), and one her of her biggest challenges was arranging the great room. She opted to not use rugs in an effort to keep costs down. (Sam would have destroyed them anyway). She hosts more cocktail hours than dinner parties so the small dining room and large living area suits her quite well.

I fell in love with her window treatments in the way they diffused the light quite perfectly without drawing attention. In total, Evelyn has succeeded in building a serene space while interjecting her love of bold graphics throughout with subtle monochromatic punches in her choices of wall coverings in her bedroom and office.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

MY Style: Modern, organic, urban with a touch of glam.

Inspiration: Traveling, New York City itself where visual stimuli lies around every corner every day, design blogs, nature.

Favorite Element: The southern exposure and my built-ins.

Biggest Challenge: How to arrange the great room, which is architecturally quite busy. I filled a large niche with the bookcase and decided to leave the ceiling alone. The apartment was a big, bright white box when I moved in so I really wanted to warm it up a bit.

What Friends Say: You have a nice place, did it come painted and with the bookcase?

Biggest Embarrassment: I made a few newbie lighting mistakes

Proudest DIY: I didn’t really do anything DIY!

Biggest Indulgence: My built-ins and my natural latex mattress, which is super comfy and doesn’t have any squeaky springs.

Best Advice: You can never have enough storage. Buy things you love and won’t get tired of looking at every day. Also, furniture that serves more than one function (such as my coffee table, which opens up to store tons of unread books and magazines) is a bonus in a city like NY where space is a premium.

Dream Sources: ABC Home is one of my favorite stores, furniture and accessory shopping anywhere in Scandinavia.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:
(Sustainable items that came with the apartment-kitchen countertops are Ice Stone, flooring is sustainable Ipe. Toilets are lo-flow Totos and all faucets came with aerators on them).

All Benjamin Moore Natura

    • Foyer-Baby Fawn OC-15
    •Living Room-Weimeraner AF-155
    •Office-Naples Blue 2057
    •Bedroom-Hot Spring Stones AC-31


    • Mirror: West Elm
    •Drawer Unit: Arco (wood comes from managed forests and the lacquer is water-based)
    •Art-Society 6


    • Sofa: ABC Home (recycled metal springs, plant-based soy cushions, recycled wood, water-based sealant)
    •Coffee table: Environment Furniture (reclaimed wood but sourced from Brazil and made in Indonesia)
    •Pillows: Custom (The Workroom NYC, and ABC Home)
    •Floor Lamp: Oly
    •Side Chair: Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (seat cushions are wrapped in 80% regenerated fibers, non-carcinogenic foam cushions contain up to 10% soy. Foam padding is also produced with a soy-based material. Back pillows are partially composed of recycled fibers that were plastic bottles)
    (Solar Shades throughout – Greenguard Certified)
    •Bowl: Amaridian Gallery
    •Drapery Fabric: Romo
    •Custom Millwork: Pickett Furniture (Sustainable Furnishings Council member, locally harvested woods, hand applied finishes. Jeremy used the best and most environmentally safe materials)
    •Custom side table/cabinet: Tod Von Mertens (80-95% recycled content steel, consciously sourced woods)
    •Horn Lamp: Plantation Home
    •Artwork: Holger Lippmann
    •Striated Glass Vase: Caleb Siemon
    •Additional accessories: ABC Home, Gilt Home, Plantation Home, Roost


    •Chairs: Hans Wegner Wishbone blue edition (wood comes from renewable and sustainable sources)
    •Table: West Elm
    •Bowl: Roost
    •Art: Parvez Taj


    • Pendants: Niche Modern


    • Bed: Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (in addition to above, wood frames are sourced from domestic suppliers dedicated to responsible forest management and the glue is water-based and biodegradable).
    •Custom Nightstands: New Energy Works (reclaimed timber, environmentally friendly practices)
    •Lights: Ylighting
    •Clock: To: Ca
    •Wallpaper: Romo
    •Dresser: Environment Furniture (see above)
    •Candle Holder: Roost
    •Mirror: Opulent Items
    •Rocking Chair: bought on a trip to Costa Rica
    •All bedding and towels are organic cotton. Pillows are kapok.


    • Light Accessory: Tord Boontje
    •Shower Curtain: Bed Bath & Beyond (PVC Free)
    •Accessories: Bed Bath & Beyond
    •Wallpaper: Innvironments
    •Art (in hall): Michael Motorcycle


    • Sleeper armchair: Room and Board
    •Custom Pillow: The Workroom NYC
    •Side table: Roost (recycled metal)
    •Line Drawings/Art: Joel di Giacomo
    •Art: Parvez Taj

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you’d like to contact Evelyn, she can be reached at: Evelyn Lee Interiors

Thanks, Evelyn!

Images: Beth Bates

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