A “Crafty-Cozy” 400-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Is Adorable

updated Apr 30, 2019

A “Crafty-Cozy” 400-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Is Adorable

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Alanna Okun
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

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Alanna’s cheery apartment in Brooklyn is the first space she can truly call her own. She grew up surrounded by siblings, next lived in college dorms, and then moved in with roommates. As a writer, she needed a quiet place for herself. As a crafter, she needed a creative space to inspire her. This small Brooklyn apartment is proving to be the perfect home for both.

Editor’s note: This studio apartment tour deserves a revisit because it’s a great example of fitting in your creative passions even when your home is small.

Alanna’s written work has appeared in places like Buzzfeed and even here on Apartment Therapy. Currently a senior editor at Racked, writing is only one of the ways she expresses her creativity, though. When she’s not stringing words together, she’s using string…and yarn, thread and more to create cute craft projects. A lot of knitting and crocheting goes on in this studio apartment.

Writing and crafting is mixing in a fresh way in Alanna’s life in the near future: her first book, The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting, comes out next year.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Crafty-cozy? But like the actual definition of cozy, not the New York Craigslist one.

Inspiration: I’ve always been into collections, and small things, and collections of small things. My apartment, I think, reflects that: clusters of my craft supplies, souvenirs from trips, little arrangements of little treasures everywhere. I like to have a place for everything but for there to be room for some controlled clutter. And now that I live alone for the first time in my life, every inch of the place feels like mine.

Favorite Element: My yarn collection, which is arranged in rainbow order on a bookshelf right across from my bed.

Biggest Challenge: Storage! There’s only one closet, which I will never let anyone besides me open. I’ve made use of baskets and plastic bins to organize my wardrobe and the space under my bed, but mysterious piles seem to pop up nonetheless. My mom calls them my “nests.” Also I love throwing parties and crafternoons but it’s hard in a studio, so at some point we usually spill over to the nearby bar.

What Friends Say: “Why did you invite 30 people to a house that can hold six, tops?”

Biggest Embarrassment: I once crocheted a bunch of rock cozies and they live on a tray on my coffee table; more than one of my friends has seen them and been like “lol of COURSE you made sweaters for rocks.”

Proudest DIY: I made café curtains from those ubiquitous Ikea hand towels and a tension rod.

Biggest Indulgence: The discontinued Marimekko shower curtain I tracked down on eBay. Also my $100 trash can. Also my Dyson. Ugh.

Best Advice: Sometimes a few large pieces can make a small space feel bigger, even if that may seem counterintuitive. And if possible, create zones; my couch used to be directly across from my bed and it always felt slightly off, until my mom and I moved it in a rearranging frenzy last year and created a little seating zone separate from the sleeping one. I still sleep on the couch and lounge on the bed but the thought counts.

Dream Sources: I love Ferm Living, Hammertown, Flying Tiger, and this thrift store called Trailer Park Slope. Lately I’ve been trying to divest myself from West Elm and Antho because I worry I’m turning into a cliché, but I keep going back again and again. Also I am the only person I know besides my mother who likes to pop into Ikea just for fun; she recently met my boyfriend for the first time, on a trip to Ikea we forced him to allow us to join him on. They got along!


Agen Armchair — Ikea
Kite Wool Kilim Rug — West Elm
Curtain — Anthropologie (no longer available)
Wall Art — Hallie Bateman
Baskets — Moriah Okun (my sister!)

Tekla Dish Towels — Ikea

Kelim Rug — Ferm Living
Finn Sofa — West Elm
Bedspread — Anthropologie (no longer available)
Terai Folding Chair — Anthropologie
Curtains — Anthropologie (no longer available)
Hemnes Wardrobe — Ikea (I wrote about it here)
Box Frame Nesting Tables — West Elm
Trellis — Home Depot
Jute Laundry Basket — H&M

Pippurikera Shower Curtain — Marimekko

Thanks, Alanna!

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