An Experimental Food Designer’s Home Is Inspired by Mister Rogers

updated Mar 21, 2019

An Experimental Food Designer’s Home Is Inspired by Mister Rogers

updated Mar 21, 2019
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Name: Emma Orlow, roommates
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant — Brooklyn, New York
Years Lived In: 2 years, renting

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Emma Orlow doesn’t just write about food, she makes art with it. Among some of the things she’s done with food, according to her website: Representing the varied food histories of Brooklyn neighborhoods in an edible installation; turning a tablecloth into a coloring book using spices, and creating a performative dining experience in an abandoned department store building, to name a few. When it came time to decorate the Brooklyn apartment she shares with roommates, Emma used the same visual tools seen in her work: Fun and playfulness.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Wacky packages/Mister Rogers/Memphis

Inspiration: I love looking at vintage home design books and ’70s snack packaging graphic design. Currently, I’m really infatuated with Mick Jagger’s shrimp chaise chair, the barn houses of the Faroe Islands, lettuce ware, and vintage botanical school posters of fungi.

Favorite Element: All the dollhouse furniture in my room came from my friend Emma Gonzalez who is a chef, and works at North Brooklyn Farms. I used it for a these miniature still-lifes I made for a restaurant project they worked on, which hung in the dining space.

Biggest Challenge: My inclination is to put all of my random tchotchkes everywhere, so I guess my challenge is finding ways to pare it down in a way that still looks refined and not overwhelming. Also, just compromising with my three other roommates and making sure all of our aesthetic voices are heard!

What Friends Say: “It’s so you” but in a laughable way, because I dress almost exactly how my home looks: a lot of fuzzy things, terrycloth, vintage, orange, yellows, and greens.

Biggest Embarrassment: How deeply and truly uncomfortable our couch is (my fault). I just wanted to get the cheapest thing possible that was neutral enough that all of us roommates would agree on splitting the cost.

Proudest DIY: I made the checkerboard pillow in the living room. The fabric was originally a tablecloth for a recent dinner I created for Mastercard and RAW POP-UP, an edible art performance held in an abandoned department store food court for Art Basel Miami in December of 2018. I sewed a yellow felt pocket onto it when I was done, imagining someone might stick string cheese or a remote in it!

Biggest Indulgence: $180 dollar yellow desk from Craigslist that resides in my room. I work as a freelance food writer and it’s where I do all of my writing from. It makes long days staring at screens for 9-plus hours worth it.

Best Advice: Power-clashing.

Dream Sources: In a dream world I’d own things from Bi-Rite Studio in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint, Odd Eye in The East Village, the Swedish fabric store Svenskt Tenn, Peter Shire’s Echo Park Pottery, and Forage Modern Workshop.


Blue Velvet Chair — Found on street
Green Coffee Table — Craigslist
Yellow and Pink Woven Plant Holder — Gift from my friends who do Ugly Rugly
Green Vase — Vintage and from a shop called Meantime Co
Colorful Dried Flowers — Sounds
JELL-O Poster — By Lan Troung for Tan & Loose Press
Yellow Sofa Chair — IKEA (but purchased on Craigslist)
Checkerboard Pillow — Made by me!
Orange Plastic Chairs — HOUZZ
Gray Couch — Wayfair
Heller Rainbow Mugs — Garmentory
White Lamp — Vintage
Yellow Living Room Desk — Urban Outfitters (left from last roommate)
Bar Cart — Vintage
White Shelf for Dishes — Found on street

Green Pom Pom Pillows — Made by me
Yellow Mirror — IKEA
Yellow Desk — Craigslist
Orange Bedspread — Vintage (was my mom’s)
Orb Light — IKEA (but bought at Salvation Army)
Orange Bucket Shelf — IKEA
Orange Desk Chair — Craigslist
Bedside Table — From my parents’ house
Green Rug —
Gray Magazine Shelf — Found on the street
Green Velvet Chair — Found on street
Speckled Rock Crayons — A gift from Kid Made Modern
Orange Cookie Jar — Vintage, from my parents’ house

Thanks, Emma!

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