This Brooklyn Loft Has the Most Inventive Use of an IKEA Tabletop

updated Jun 13, 2019

This Brooklyn Loft Has the Most Inventive Use of an IKEA Tabletop

updated Jun 13, 2019
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Name: Bryan Sears
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years Lived In: 9 years, renting

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Artist, designer, and entrepreneur Bryan Sears lives a creative life, and the large loft-like space he rents in Brooklyn reflects that. Full of light, great art, and lots of plants, the industrial architecture of the building is a warm backdrop to all of his things. It’s also a testament to the power of a free find. In Bryan’s building, there’s a location where people leave things they think others might want… the “Freeshelf.” Quite a few of the items in this home share an origin of the freeshelf. Those items, mixed in with Bryan’s art, make for one very unique home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Shipwreck chic/preppy apocalypse.

Inspiration: Boats, lunar outposts, big shitty warehouses, Sid’s (soylent) Green Village Vintage, the 94th Aero Squadron (Tampa, Florida), Banana (Old) Republic—the BR I remember from the ’80s.

Favorite Element: Big windows, giant mysterious ducts and pipes.

Biggest Challenge: The storage of materials, props, tools, chairs.

What Friends Say: “You found this on the freeshelf didn’t you?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The garbage in the hall, the 20,000 plastic bags under the sink.

Proudest DIY: I brought in an enormous semi-truck tire from the street, I (cleaned it first) put round glass on the top, installed casters on the bottom (both of which I had in storage) and created the Tire Table, which lasted for years until I broke the glass.

Biggest Indulgence: The rolling bed/bath portal with yacht ladder.

Best Advice: Keep your eyes open and when you see it, get it, you can always put it on the free shelf later.

Dream Sources: Architectural salvage anywhere.


All kinds of primer white from the ACE on Knickerbocker Avenue. Scuffed walls constantly being retouched. Color matched original dark blue pipes, ceiling paint, yellowish wall paint for repairs and retouching. The bathroom paint is our choice, Black Magic, Sherwin-Williams. It’s a blue-ish black.

Iron Coat Rack — Gift of J Dimenna, 2018, recovered from an old barn
Various Wooden Crates — Gift of Whitney Lynch, 2015
Shoe Bookshelf — “Freeshelf” 2015, manufacturer unknown
Rolling Wooden Bar Cart — “Freeshelf” 2015
Picnic Baskets — Little one from Green Village (Sid’s), vintage; large one, Abercrombie & Fitch
Globe — Gift of The Concept Farm, 2013 Manufacturer CRAMS
Wooden Ship — Gift of Billie Frances 2014, found as broken garbage by the street in Park Slope, restored by me.
Metal Clock Round with Abalone Inlay— “Freeshelf” 2014
Paint Organizer — Ready-made combination of wooden serving tray, dolly, and cubby hole box, 2013
Antique Wooden Balustrade — Gift of The Concept Farm, 2012, attached to pedestal for free standing support
Drafting Table — Gift of Carrie Mayer, 2009, top painted black by Natasha Zugic
Step Desk Organizer — “Freeshelf” 2016
Computer Desk Office Chair — Gift of Iva Zugic, 2012, manufacturer unknown
Wardrobe Trunk — Gift of Jenny (?) 2015, restored by me
Wooden Altar — (The trunk is on top of this, it’s holding the painting of the ladies and the white model) 2018, built as easel for oversized paintings.
Tortoise Shell Accent Lamp — Gift of Marty Sears Interiors; manufacturer, The Tanner Collection, 1996
Wooden Type Organizer (this is the little wooden tower with compartments)
Torch Lamp — Bought from a little garage on Troutman Street, lampshade from Craigslist
Architectural Tower Sculpture — Natasha Zugic’s work in progress
Wooden Screens — Recovered from the garbage 2010, they were in better shape back then.
Sock Rat — ZS design, 2018

Couch Futon — Gift of Alexander Rea, 2009, with a new faux-leather cover ordered online
Danish Mid-century Cane Chair — Gift of Jeff Lopez, 2017, manufacturer unknown (and I have searched!)
Blue Crate Table— U.S. Army crate, 2016, Craigslist “Free stuff.” It was in bad condition and stained so we painted it. I’m not sure that was a good choice.
Green Chesterfield(ish) Love Seat in Faux Leather — Gift of Jose Pabon, 2007, Superintendent of 43 West 24th Street building. He knew I loved street finds, and he alerted me that some other tenants were putting this one on the sidewalk. It is unstoppable and falling apart, despite my reupholstery efforts it looks like one of the bones is now broken.
Light Brown Faux Leather Lounge Chair — Craigslist “Free stuff,” 2017
Black Screw Post Stools — Gift of Nicole Miller Rae, 2017
Garden Statues — Props from Netflix “Haunting of Hill House” 2018, manufacturer Design Toscano; Allegory of the Four Seasons
Shoe Shine Chair — Gift of The Concept Farm, 2012, Sadly origins beyond that unknown as it seems to be a custom piece. Seat material reupholstered by me.
Piano — Gift of J Dimenna 2016
Organ — Gift of Brian Gibson 2013
Tulip Task Chair — Gift of Brian Gibson 2013 Manufacturer unknown
Stools with fuzzy tops — “Goldigger” stools 2016, ZS Design
Wooden “wake board (?)” — Purchased in a sea-side antique store in Long Beach, New Jersey, 2010
Lawyer/Banker c=Chairs — One from Craigslist Freestuff, one as gift from Cassanda Katsiaficas
Rolling Cabinet — Gift of Cassandra Katsiaficas, 2015
Primative Modern Ceramic Mug — Gift of Heather Swain, Glorious Ceramics
Early American Style Barstool — “Free shelf” 2009
Plant Ladder — Garbage recovery
Pub Table — “Build it Green” Astoria, 2010
Various MSG cardboard tube container pedestals found on Stewart Avenue
Gold Bomb Lamp — It was purple, I spray-painted it, kept it shadeless, added the flicker bulb
Stained Glass Chicken Lamp — Gift of Will Morrison, 2012

High Table — Bought from shop sale of Lauren Winslow (she cannot testify to its origin)
Tubular Metal Stool — Bought from 11th Street and Avenue A flea market, 2006
Wooden Barstool — Street find; Wyckoff Avenue, 2013
Mug Hanger Thingy — “Free shelf,” 2015
Big “2” Light — Gift of The Concept Farm 2013, prototype for Century 21 Sign next to the L.I.E. (actual “2” sign is 50 feet high)
Red Tea Kettle — Gift of Jenna Haerr, 2014; Le Creuset
Big Wide White Bowl — Fishs Eddy 2009

Bed Frame — ZS Design 2015
Various Bookshelf Walls — Found on Stewart Avenue
Lampshade Chandelier — Shades from Craigslist “free stuff”
Big Fan — Home Depot
Little Fan — “Free shelf”
Cardboard Model — Natasha Zugic
12 String guitar — Alvarez, 1996
Duvet — Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed/Bath Rolling Portal Entry — Design by Natasha Zugic and Bryan Sears, Wagon wheel handle from Green Village (Sid’s) Vintage; round rolling door is an IKEA Table; half-round rails from Oriental Lumber on Flushing Ave.

Fixtures and cabinets were installed in the loft when I moved in.
Bed/Bath Rolling Portal Ladder — West Marine yacht ladder, 2017
Shower Curtain — Bed Bath & Beyond
Cardboard Aircraft Carrier — Aircraft carrier in an hour! Bryan Sears, 2016
Metal Cube — Metal Shop Fantasy Camp project, 2019
Opium Box — Gift of Marty Sears Interiors, 2012

Thanks, Bryan!

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