An Interior Designer’s Beautifully Styled 478-Square-Foot Brooklyn Home
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Name: Ali and Chip McEnhill
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 478 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
When Ali and Chip McEnhill moved into their apartment in Cobble Hill Towers — a Brooklyn landmark built in 1879 — they were inspired to reintroduce and recover some of its original character. “We loved the history of the building and wanted our apartment to feel connected to it so we ended up adding back in many details that had been removed in the buildings 1980s remodel,” Ali explains. This included incorporating a decorative ceiling throughout the apartment and uncovering the original fireplace from behind a wall of plaster.
“As for the decor, that was just whatever sprung out of my mind,” wrote Ali, when trying to describe their style. Touches of all types of decor can be found and yet, rather than being mismatched, the mixture creates a cozy and sophisticated space full of rich texture and surprising details (including a deer’s head passed down from Ali’s grandmother). No one style dominates the decor in their apartment, but Ali continues to celebrate the past through vintage pieces located throughout, from the chandelier hanging in their kitchen handed down by Chip’s grandmother to the vintage vanity in the bedroom.
From the beginning, Ali, an interior designer, and Chip, a CPA, have been hands on in creating and maximizing their space, completing several DIY projects. They installed (themselves) new kitchen cabinets to create a small but functional space filled with ample storage (almost from floor to ceiling). To further maximize their space, Ali and Chip combined their living and dining room into one space.
In the largest area of their apartment, they installed a banquette and a table — creating an eating space. This area does triple duty as a space to lounge in, do work and share a meal. Multi-functionality is a characteristic that even extends to their furniture: “Our Mongolian fur chairs cost more than we planned to spend, but they tie the space together perfectly and do triple duty as our office, dining, and lounge chairs. I can’t imagine the space without them.” Ali and Chip’s decor and design choices not only utilize the space efficiently, they also create a beautiful home.
Amazed by their tiny kitchen? See before photos and get more details → A Stylish, Functional Kitchen in Only 38 Square Feet
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I’m not entirely sure we have a defined “style” unless there is a word for femme/minimal/maximal/bohemian/modern/traditional/glam/rustic?
Inspiration: The building itself was our inspiration. The Cobble Hill Towers were built in 1879 by Alfred T. White, a notable housing reformer and philanthropist, who wanted to create a new model for worker housing. We loved the history of the building and wanted our apartment to feel connected to it so we ended up adding back in many details that had been removed in the buildings 1980s remodel. As for the decor, that was just whatever sprung out of my mind.
Favorite Element: Our tiny kitchen! I love to cook and thought I would go crazy having such a small kitchen, but it has become my favorite kitchen I’ve ever cooked in for its cozy efficiency. There is a (relative) ton of storage space, the double oven allows us to prepare multiple dishes at once, and while counter space is limited, we are able to set a large cooking board over the sink, which nearly doubles the surface.
Biggest Challenge: Getting a full-sized sofa up the spiral stairs that lead to the apartment was an incredible challenge. We eventually found a small modular sofa that was within our budget, but we had to make one arm lower than the other so that Chip (who is 6’4) could comfortably lay down on it.
What Friends Say: “The ceiling is amazing!”
Biggest Embarrassment: The bathtub is a grungy leftover from the building’s 1980 remodel. We ran out of time and money during our renovation so we ended up refinishing the existing tub and replacing the tiles. But I dream of the day we can rip it out and really start fresh.
Proudest DIY: After we installed our kitchen cabinets I laid awake all night for weeks staring at them, waiting for them to tumble down. It’s been almost three years now and I still wake up some nights to check on them. I know it’s irrational and they are perfectly secure, but I am proud every day that they are still hanging!
Biggest Indulgence: Our mongolian fur chairs cost more than we planned to spend, but they tie the space together perfectly and do triple duty as our office, dining, and lounge chairs. I can’t imagine the space without them.
Best Advice: Buy (or make) only what you love. When we first moved in we bought items because we felt we needed them immediately, but we ended up hating those items and have been slowly replacing them and dealing with the guilt. Wish we had just waited until we found (or had the time to make )items we truly loved.
PAINT & COLORS
Living/Kitchen/Bedroom: Benjamin Moore — Atrium White
Entry: Benjamin Moore — Kendall Charcoal
Bathroom: Benjamin Moore — Sea Pearl
Table — DIY
Banquette — DIY
Bubble Pendant Light — Made by Ali
Countertops & Shelves — Lumber Liquidators
Cabinets — Ikea
Chandelier — Vintage from Chip’s Grandmother
Copper Pot Racks — Wayfair
Thanks Ali and Chip!
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