Joanna & Gerry Collectively Maximize Their Small Space

published Jun 14, 2011
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Name: Joanna and Gerry
Location: Park Slope — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1.5 bedrooms (small!)
Years rented : Joanna – 8 or so / Gerry – 4

Gerry and Joanna have an affinity for collecting rare oddities. They have resourcefully made the most of their small living space by repurposing furniture and by taking advantage of their tall ceilings to display and store their most loved collections. (See their antique medical furniture that is uniquely used for storage in their living room and kitchen).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Joanna, an artist who founded The Morbid Anatomy Library, and Gerry, an illustrator and musician, combined their aesthetic sensibilities to define their living style. They both cite NYC streets as an excellent resource for finding amazing things to outfit living spaces. Their neighborhood in particular is one of the best to find stylish furniture, objects and artifacts. Just within the few blocks I walked to get to their place, I spotted an antique wooden school desk as well as a pair of Campers boots! (A dear friend of mine would somewhat regularly find Prada boots in her size on her neighboring stoop. We surmised her neighbor must have worked for Prada). By scouting the streets, shopping at flea markets, and inheriting amazing furniture, they have assembled a stylish space within a small budget.
Be sure to take a look at the end of the tour to see photos of Joanna’s Morbid Anatomy Library (which is located in Gowanus) to get a further sense of this style.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Gerry : Cramped Mid Century Modern Waiting Room

Inspiration: Gerry : UPA Cartoons, Playboy After Dark, Rod Serling, Help!, Vatican 2

Favorite Element: Gerry : The closets which are jam packed with stuff we have somehow learned to live without, yet not get rid of because it will all come in handy one day. Joanna : The light and sense of airiness.

Biggest Challenges: Gerry : Not bringing home everything we find on the street. Joanna : Size of space, trying to find room for the bikes, trying to find room for all of our books. (We both collect well and purge terribly).

What Friends Say: Gerry : Your apartment is pretty small!” 2. Your apartment is pretty big!” Joanna : “Wow. I have no idea!”

Biggest Embarrassment: Gerry : Because I manned the install, if one tries to raise or lower our window blinds, or adjust many of our various picture frames, they would invariably fall down with a bang. Guests often discovered this unique home-improvement feature. Joanna : Clutter.

Proudest DIY: Gerry : Buying a screw gun and securing the window blinds and picture frames, (and subsequently everything else in the apartment held up, down or together with screws.) Screw guns are really fun. Joanna : Finding my dentist cabinet—fully stocked!—on the street and finding a way to get the impossibly heavy thing home.

Biggest Indulgence: Gerry : The cymbal-banging monkey toy I bought at an antiques fair in Massachusetts. We didn’t really need it, I guess. Joanna : Not getting rid of things I don’t need.

Best Advice: Gerry : Practice culling! Joanna : Don’t be afraid to pick up things off the street.

Dream Sources: Gerry : The mean streets of Park Slope, and on Saturdays, the flea market on 7th Avenue and 1st street. Joanna : Obscura Antiques and Oddities and the local Park Slope Flea Market.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note: Madmen



    • Dentist Cabinet : See notes in survey
    • Joanna’s grandparents red chairs, chandelier, and end tables : See notes in survey
    • Cabinet : From Museum of Natural History



    • Image over the fireplace : From an antique mall in Lewisburg, PA, where Joanna’s sister lives : Perhaps it is a memorial piece but not certain.
    • Photo of the anatomical specimen : Gift from photographer Rosamond Purcell
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Joanna and Gerry!

Images: Beth Bates

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Re-edited from a previous post. 6.7.14 – AB