This Couple Created an Incredibly Custom, Functional, and Stunning Home With A Lot of Plywood

published Nov 14, 2022

This Couple Created an Incredibly Custom, Functional, and Stunning Home With A Lot of Plywood

published Nov 14, 2022
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Name: Jessica Bennett, Sam Slaughter, and Charlie the dog
Location: South Williamsburg — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,300 square feet
Type of Home: Loft Apartment 
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned

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“I work from home, and did even before the pandemic, and am absolutely obsessed — in a grew-up-in-Seattle, spent the first 18 years of my life in all-gray everything — with natural light,” admits Jessica Bennett, an author, journalist, and a contributing editor at The New York Times. The last home that Jessica and her partner, Sam Slaughter, the founder of the creative agency Lighthouse, lived in was corner unit with two walls of windows in a building with a storied past. “It would get so hot in the afternoons that even with both AC units blaring we’d be drenched in sweat,” Jessica writes. “But I loved it. I never wanted to leave. So when Sam was finally like, I cannot live in this one-room, wall-less apartment with you for a moment longer (kidding, kinda?) I had two requirements: Loft and light. He had one: A bidet.”

Credit: Erin Derby

“We ended up looking mostly in our same neighborhood because that’s where many of the old lofts were,” Jessica continues. “We wanted a building with original detail. The place we ultimately moved was an old cast-iron factory building that manufactured textiles. It had been renovated in the early 2000s. The windows aren’t quite as expansive (and we no longer face south) but for the first time in our lives in NYC, we actually have a bedroom with a closing door.”

Credit: Erin Derby

The couple worked with Rose & Stone Construction and Overlay design to do a gut renovation on the loft. “The previous kitchen was dark and enclosed, with an extra wall. We wanted to open it up so light could flow in. We updated the appliances, built simple wood shelves to keep with the all-wood aesthetic, and resituated the island andbar,” Jessica explains of the kitchen remodel.

The couple also updated the furnishings in both bathrooms. And they made changes to the loft’s layout, as well as adding lots of storage and function to the home. “In the former layout, there was an additional bedroom where we currently have the living room. We opened the space up as much as possible, so that the kitchen, dining area, living room are all connected as one big room,” Jessica explains. “We moved closets to maximize the space, and installed sliding pocket doors. The smaller room seconds as Sam’s office, with a plywood platform bed that has giant storage drawers underneath. I saw this design on Pinterest and we cobbled it together with our contractor and the cheapest possible wood we could find.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Industrial modern??

Inspiration: We basically wish we lived in an old mill factory (or at least Jess does).

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: We did a gut renovation, and during the process found all sorts of incredible hidden objects: Original steel ceiling beams that had been covered up in the previous building renovation; a passageway in the wall that we still aren’t sure what was used for (an ice box, maybe?) but we turned it into a shadowbox with plants; old 20th century advertisements in the walls for various kinds of sewing thread — we assume these were posters hanging on the walls, as this was a textiles factory. And my most favorite thing — not found in the apartment, but with some online research — is that the former factory, which manufactured women’s undergarments and textiles, was once called MAJESTIC FROCKS. What a name!!!

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Challenge: Mostly our own impatience. 🙂

Credit: Erin Derby

Proudest DIY: We were annoyed by the price of tile for our kitchen backsplash, and our contractor had the idea of using some sheet metal he had leftover in his shop. A fraction of the cost and it looks industrial and amazing!

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Indulgence: I found some vintage metal light sconces original to an old factory in the USSR on Etsy; they weren’t expensive but they took months to arrive and had to be completely rewired. (These are the ones hanging above the kitchen table and in the bedrooms.)

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Hmmm… in our old apartment, which was an open studio, we built a bookshelf wall to divide up the bedroom area from the kitchen. We tried to recreate that here, only this time with an actual wall behind it.

Credit: Erin Derby

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I love objects as art — ceramic kitchenware displayed on open shelves, old books and cameras meticulously laid out for both form and function. Also, everything looks better with plants!


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Walls, ceiling and floors — Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace”
  • Accent wall — Benjamin Moore “Terrytown Green”
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Sofa — Custom (frame by Rose & Stone; upholstery by H&A Upholstery in Red Hook, they were reasonably priced and amazing!)
  • Coffee table — Blue Pocket Studio
  • Chairs — Vintage 
  • Standing Ashtray — Houseplant
  • Black & White Carpet — Etsy
  • Rugs — Vintage, from Sam’s grandmother
  • Art — Tom Slaughter (Sam’s uncle)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Table and seating — Blue Pocket Studio
  • Credenza — Vintage, eBay
  • Window bench with record storage — Pete Deeble/Etsy
  • Storage boxes — Plywood, made by Sam’s dad
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Shelving — Baltic birch 
  • Bartop — Caesarstone
  • Cabinet pulls — Etsy
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Desk — Vintage
  • Bed frame — Crofthouse 
  • Light fixtures — Vintage; Etsy
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Copper faucets — Etsy
  • Vanity — IKEA
  • Mirror medicine cabinet — Urban Outfitters (no longer available but honestly it’s crap)
  • Shower tile — Nemo

Thanks Jessica and Sam!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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