Name: Michelle Lopez, her partner Erlend and their cat Penny
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, rented
Michelle and her partner Erlend recently relocated from Portland, Oregon to this sunny Brooklyn apartment. The couple moved to New York for Erlend to attend grad school at Columbia University.
Michelle is a food blogger, specializing in desserts. Her blog Hummingbird High began in her college days and now reaches over 100,000 followers on social media. A major priority for the couple was finding a space where Michelle could comfortably bake and experiment with recipes. The couple and their cat Penny are happy to call this sunny space in Brooklyn their new home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I move around a lot and my style really has changed depending on the apartment/home. It's more about the specific space, listening to it to see what works. If I had to pick a style, it would be Scandinavian inspired/trying to be minimalist (but failing). Does that count?
Inspiration: I get a lot of my inspiration from Instagram. I love the accounts: @witanddelight_, @patticakewagner, @homeiswherethehartis, and @mamawatters. I'm also friends with some crazy talented bloggers whose style I just love — specifically Melissa from @thefauxmartha and Matt and Beau from @probablythis.
Favorite Element: The apartment has beautiful, tall windows that let in a lot of natural light. We also have a corner unit, so our "living room" (ehem, second bedroom that we use as a living room) gets really bright and warm. The windows also have deep shelves that I use to display all my cake stands and plants.
I also love that it's a relatively new/updated apartment, but the exterior is still an old brick building that doesn't stick out from the rest of the brownstones on the block.
Biggest Challenge: We moved from a 2000 square foot, three-bedroom home with a basement and yard to our 750 square foot apartment. I thought I did a good job downsizing all our possessions, but it definitely wasn't enough! We really don't have any more space for more stuff.
What Friends Say: They're impressed that we were able to find a light-filled space in New York City so quickly. Also, everybody is jealous of our MacGyvered living room from the second bedroom.
Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that we have too much stuff. I also get sent an embarrassing amount of cookware, plateware, cookbooks, and other products for my baking blog, Hummingbird High. We have doubles and triples of everything. I don't have the heart to get rid of any of it — it's all so beautiful! We literally have three cast iron pans — a Le Creuset one, a Staub one, and a Finex one. I dare you to choose between those three.
Also, our ceiling leaks. True story.
Proudest DIY: Probably hanging up the open shelving in the kitchen. The walls are really, really thin plaster. We had to recruit our lighting/furniture designer friend, Richard from Richard Clarkson Studio, to help us figure out where to hang them without them crashing down immediately. Now each shelf carries about 30 pounds worth of ingredients, glass jars, and cutlery without the slightest hint of weakness.
Biggest Indulgence: The marble dining table in the kitchen/dining space and the fact that we even have a bona fide dining area in our apartment. But hosting meals is such a big part of my work as a food blogger, I couldn't really skimp on that! Also, full disclosure: Crate and Barrel sponsored a Friendsgiving post last year, and most of the furniture you see is leftover from that.
Best Advice: With minimalism and the Marie Kondo movement being so big in the last few years, it can be really easy to beat yourself up for having too much stuff. But it's okay, really! Editing your life down is really hard. And you can make clutter look pretty. Just make sure you invest in good, solid shelves.
Dream Sources: I love anything and everything from Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse Electric. I wish HAY (in Copenhagen, Denmark) had a US branch. And if I had the budget, I would totally hire Jessica Helgerson (from Jessica Helgerson Interior Design) or the Jersey Ice Cream Co team to design my dream home.
Sofa — Synchronicity Sofa in Azure Dot & Bo (no longer available)
Floor Lamp — Studio Adjustable Floor Lamp in Antique Brass Rejuvenation
Side Table — Martini Side Table in White/Antique Brass West Elm
Coffee Table — Trivia Coffee Table
EQ3Leather Chair: Lucas Leather Chair in Saddle West Elm
Sheepskin Rug — Sheepskin Ivory Throw/Rug Crate and Barrel
Wooden Fan — Otto Sapele Wood Fan Williams Sonoma
Bookshelves — Besta TV Unit Ikea
Clock Flip Clock Schoolhouse Electric
Lamp — Pillar Mid-Century Wooden Table Lamp Rejuvenation
Bookcase — Remi Large Bookcase Crate and Barrel
Letterboard — The Writer Oak Letterboard Letterfolk
Planter — Trigg Large Wall Vase CB2
Chairs — Tig Metal Dining Chair Crate and Barrel
Chair Cushions — Tig Dining Chair Cushion Crate and Barrel
Table — Marble Top/Elm Base Dining Table Crate and Barrel
Stools — Tractor Seat Bar Stools Rejuvenation
Shelves — Honeycomb Ponderosa Pine Shelving Rejuvenation
Shelf Brackets — Large Strap Shelf Brackets in Aged Brass Rejuvenation
Mirror — Hexagon Mirror West Elm (no longer available)
Drying Rack — Tosca Dish Drainer Rack Yamazaki Home
Kitchen Cart — Go-cart rolling cart CB2