Traditional Meets Contemporary in a Cozy, Charming Brooklyn Heights Home

updated Feb 19, 2019

Traditional Meets Contemporary in a Cozy, Charming Brooklyn Heights Home

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Elizabeth Andersen
Location: Brooklyn Heights — Brooklyn, NY
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting

Liz lives in a beautiful, fourth floor apartment in Brooklyn Heights, just a few blocks from the water. The apartment is a fourth floor walkup but that natural light is a worth payoff. In fact that natural light is so nice, she felt confident adding some dark, dramatic paint colors to her living room — and the space still feels bathed in light.

Liz loves the old details in the home; she says it reminds her of old British homes that are teeny, but packed with punches of color. So she went that direction. In addition, she tried to mix a little old and new, modern and traditional, and investment pieces with steals and finds.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: New traditional meets contemporary. When designing the space I was having such a hard time deciding between more comfy, relaxed traditional pieces and clean, minimal modern ones; so I tried my best to mix the two. I think it all worked in the end; I love the way combining styles can add character and charm and creates a more personal space.

Inspiration: The apartment itself inspired me the most. It has a historic Brooklyn feel, so I tried to complement that with my design choices. Oddly enough, the tight layout was also inspirational. It reminded me of old, pokey British townhouses that are typically very narrow but packed with a lot of pattern and color. I didn’t want the small spaces to limit me, so I took a page from their book and tried to add some bold and fun elements where I could.

Favorite Element: Those dark walls! Before moving to this place, I was living in a contemporary studio apartment with white walls. I was very much ready for a change in this new space and decided to go for something more dramatic. I love that it makes everything else in the room pop and adds instant sophistication!

Biggest Challenge: The choppy layout. Coming from a studio apartment where everything was basically a few steps away, it was difficult to find a practical place for everything that didn’t have me running around from room to room every time I needed something.

What Friends Say: They love it! And, they think it perfectly reflects who I am. They always comment on the glass doorknobs too; all of the doors have their original hardware which I love!

Biggest Embarrassment: Guests having to walk up the four flights of stairs to get to it! The sacrifices we make for good natural light…

Proudest DIY: Installing the sconce above the mirror in the bathroom. It was such an easy update but made the biggest difference!

Biggest Indulgence: The Hygge & West temporary wallpaper tiles. That hallway had a lot of wall to cover and took a fair amount of those tiles to complete, but it sure beats the sad, dark space it otherwise would have been; I smile every time I walk through it!

Best Advice: Have fun with the ‘flaws’ of your space. It can become a great design opportunity and makes your space unique!

Dream Sources: Apartment Therapy! Pinterest and Instagram

Explore This Style:

Further resources:


Balboa Mist Paint – Benjamin Moore
Console Table – CB2
Mirror – West Elm


Wallpaper – Hygge & West


Desk – West Elm
Table Lamp – West Elm


Rug – Dash & Albert


Floor Lamp – Target


Wescott Navy Paint – Benjamin Moore
Shelves – IKEA
Wire Baskets – West Elm


Rug – Anthropologie

Thanks, Liz!

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