Name: Allie Epstein
Location: East Williamsburg/Bushwick — Brooklyn, NYC
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 4 and a half years, renting
Allie recently acquired a modern mobile, which hangs above the dining area in her studio apartment. In a residual state of post-mobile-procurement bliss, she realized the space she has called home for four years was finally complete. This may be the final touch Allie was looking for, but the 800-square-foot studio has been an ongoing project from the start.
The studio feels purposeful with designated sections — the kitchen, dining area, office, living room, bedroom, and even the DIY walk-in closet effortlessly flow together in this open layout. Allie's home is a great example of how to do a lot when you've technically only got one room.
Allie admits she was sad to let go of her "awesome" LA apartment when she moved to NYC four and a half years ago, "so I really wanted to make sure I found a new place that I loved and was a blank canvas for creating a fun new life here in Brooklyn."
As someone who travels often and works from home, a beautiful home is vital for Allie. "I travel every few weeks, so I'm always out of town. But I love my apartment so much that there's no better feeling like coming home to my own space and feeling great about how it looks. I also work from home, so I wanted to feel happy about spending a lot of time in here!"
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, artistic and ironic.
Inspiration: I'm really inspired by a lot of apartments that I see in older movies. Woody Allen films — I love the way rooms are set up in his movies. Especially the ones that take place in New York. They're realistic, and I just love that. His sets are a bit stuffy; they have art and books and food and a lot of drama goes on inside and that's what I wanted in mine.
I think it's a unique challenge for us New Yorkers to be able to make something beautiful out of our apartments. To really overcome (and creatively) that common struggle we all experience...lack of space!
I also get inspired by decor in restaurants. My favorite artists like Alexander Calder, Lee Krasner, and Matisse. My mom and dad, who I always like to impress them a little bit when they come over to visit. And of course, traveling.
Favorite Element: My blue door and my plants.
Biggest Challenge: Dust — the brick wall in my apartment is beautiful. But, it's old and crumbles a lot. I have to keep up with my dusting pretty frequently or else little brick particles start building up. Also, keeping my plants alive…I have a bit of a plant graveyard going on outside on my balcony. Whenever one dies I just roll 'em out there to finish them off. RIP.
What Friends Say: Most of my friends still live in LA so when they come out here to visit, it's always a really charming, cozy place to stay. When you're in NY it's all about being out and about, but I'm happy to say people love hanging out in my apartment just as much. And I really wanted it to be that way! I wanted it to be inviting for people, so I can host and have a nice space for them to feel at home in.
Biggest Embarrassment: Dog hair and dog smells. Comes with the territory, I guess. But at the end of the day I love my dog Tucker more than any of these material things.
Proudest DIY: My closet! With only one coat closet — and a weird storage above the bathroom ceiling — there was absolutely no place to put away my clothes, so I basically invented this make-shift walk-in closet using bookshelves.
I bought these open bookshelves off of the previous tenant, added plywood to the back to create a bit of a wall, and pushed the bed up against it. Voila! A sort of walk "through" closet.
It works really well actually!
Biggest Indulgence: My Apple TV and mounted Smart TV, that pulls out and turns in different directions. I can pull the TV out from the wall and face it toward my bedroom so that I can watch Netflix and eat snacks in bed, which is glorious.
Also my kitchenware — I have a full set of Le Creuset pots and All-Clad pans and Shun knives, all of which I'm very proud of and know they will last me my lifetime, which is really special!
Best Advice: As tempting as it is, DON'T buy everything from IKEA. Keep it to a few necessary pieces and collect the rest from special places over time so it's more meaningful. Conversation pieces like knick-knacks and lots of books make a home a home.
Dream Sources: Dwell (I dream of owning a prefab house in the middle of some desert or in Sweden or something). Muji, Design Within Reach. Untapped, hidden flea markets and antique shops. Local potters like Helen Levi and Jane Herold. Artists like Ariel Alasko and Block Shop Textiles. Honestly, anything hand made from another country that I've traveled to, that you can't find back home.
PAINT & COLORS
Yikes! I don't remember — but I did paint the door blue myself right when I moved in. It was one of the first things I did. I went to Greece a few years ago and it inspired me to paint my door blue. Pretty sure I must have brought in a photo or something and showed the paint guy at Home Depot and said "make this!"
Pendant Light — CB2
Coat Hanger - Eames inspired Replica — Amazon
Mirror — Reuse America Vintage Warehouse (down the street)
Table — Old sewing machine, previous tenant left it
Rug — My dear friend's beautiful store, Summer Camp in Ojai, CA
Sofa — IKEA (I love that the bed pulls out so you can put your feet up while watching TV. It's compact, can be used as a bed, and nice replacement to have an ottoman. I hate that it's from IKEA but my dog sleeps on it and it's nice to have something I know I can throw away easily if I need to).
Cushion Tables — Garage sale
Curtains — IKEA
Kilim Inspired Pillow — Flying Tiger Copenhagen
Navy Linen Pillows — Matteo
Matisse-like Pillow - Bobo Choses
Blankets — hand dyed throw blankets from my recent trip to India. One is from a crazy textile warehouse in an alleyway that I wandered into, and the other from a beautiful store called Anokhi.
Owl Painting — Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, CA
Rainbow Beard Painting — painted by my friend, Brando Christensen
Antlers — a Thrift store in Cold Spring, NY
African woven fan — Brooklyn Flea
IKEA Table — Discontinued. I bought this about 8 years ago in Los Angeles, and it was worth it to move it here to NY. It saves so much space! I think it was one of the best things they've ever made.
Pendant Light — CB2
Counter Stools — Target
Bookshelf Area —l ots of trinkets & baubles from traveling all over the world. From my cross country road trip — a vase from New Mexico, an arrow from Arizona, line drawing by a young vagabond in New Orleans, and fisherman's lantern from New England.
Also, from other travels — hand painted tiles and handmade candlesticks from Portugal. Pottery from India. Old religious candle from Mexico. Porcupine quills and hand-woven basket from Africa. Matryoshka doll from Moscow.
My own handmade ceramics.
Preserved cockroach-on-a-stick from the Explorer's Club Gala last year.
My ever-growing record collection, a lot are from my Mom.
Art — found thrown away on the street or at the Rose Bowl Flea Market
Mid-century modern wooden credenza — Reuse America Vintage Warehouse
Calder-inspired Mobile — Flensted
Floor Length Mirror — CB2
Butcher Block — Purchased from previous tenant
Pots and pans — Le Crueset, Williams Sonoma
Pots and pans — All Clad, Williams Sonoma
Pasta Maker — Amazon
Bowl — Heath Ceramics
Dish Towels and Aprons (WHO I WORK FOR) Hedley & Bennett
Knives — Shun & Zwilling, Williams Sonoma
Dish Rack — Black + Blum
Coffee Grinder — Bodum
Espresso Machine & Milk steamer — Nespresso
Dishes and bowls — Jane Herold and a mix of Anthropologie, Flea Markets in Florida & California, IKEA and ones I made by hand in my pottery classes at La Mano Pottery Studio in Chelsea.
Knick Knacks from all over the world (Turkish coffee pot from Istanbul. Olive oil, vinegars and spices from Turkey, Portugal & Provence)
Mattress — SLEEPY's :)
Linens — Restoration Hardware and IKEA
Charcoal Painting of naked lady — My dad drew this while attending Pratt in the '60s. I stole it.
Night tables — Craigslist
Bedside Lamp — moving sale in LA
Mid-century chair — A STEAL at $30 from Jinxed in Fishtown, Philadelphia. This place is a gem!
Wall hanging — Hand cut fabric from India
Baskets above bed — from Rose Bowl Flea Market (yarn from Purls SoHo)
Lamp — DIY made by me!
Mirror — stolen from my mom, which she had for about 35 years
Hand-built pipe closet — Home Depot
Hamper — IKEA (discontinued)
Large Kilim Rug — The rug guy, to the right of the entrance @ Rose Bowl Flea Market
Desk — IKEA
Filing Cabinet — CB2
Desk Lamp — Urban Outfitters
Portraits of Flamenco Dancer and Bull Fighter — Rose Bowl Flea Market. (I recently spotted these in the background of the movie Forces of Nature, with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock — pretty hopeful that these we sold to me from that set)
Pens and Notebooks — MUJI
Lighting — IKEA
Toiletries closet — IKEA
Turkish Towels — Grand Bazaar, Istanbul - Turkey
Trashcan — Rose Bowl Flea Market
Rug — Rose Bowl Flea Market