Johanna and Mike’s Bright Brooklyn Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Johanna Lane & Mike Harvkey
Location: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 440 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Own

Having previously lived in an apartment about the same size as the home that writers Johanna and Mike share, I am acutely aware of how challenging it is to make a space that lacks in square footage feel spacious. That’s why I was so impressed by how comfortable and roomy their home feels.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

To create an open and spacious feel in such a small space, this creative couple takes advantage of vertical space and keeps their things well edited. By choosing select artwork and personal items to display but keeping it minimal, they’ve kept the space from feeling cramped. But veering on the side of minimalism does not mean that the home feels sparse or not lived in. Books are kept at arm’s reach, but in such a way that they don’t overwhelm the space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Colorful minimalism.

Inspiration: Other spaces we’ve seen in Apartment Therapy, Dwell,The Selby, and friends’ apartments in New York and L.A.

Favorite Element: Our red wall.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping the space clutter-free.

What Friends Say: First, “Where’s the rest of it?” Then, “Great view!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The couch — one huge tear in the seat is hidden by the rug; another rip down the side is hidden by the end table.

Proudest DIY: The built-in bookshelves, even though — or maybe because — they took almost three months.

Biggest Indulgence: Our time. We had a very limited budget, so we did everything ourselves, usually on weekends.

Best Advice: If something doesn’t work in the space, no matter how much you like it, don’t buy it. Or, if you already own it, put it away.

Dream Sources: Etsy, Blu Dot, Ligne Roset, Design Within Reach (although we often comment that it should be called, “Design Outside Our Reach”!), Liz’s Antique Hardware in LA, Morocco (for tile), Ireland (for rugs and pottery), Indonesia for wooden furniture (good excuse to travel, right?!).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


All Benjamin Moore Aura: we painted most of the apartment, including all baseboards, doors, and door frames, a very milky coffee color called “Wind’s Breath”; the red wall is “Tomato Red.” We painted one wall and the bathroom cabinet chalkboard. We spray painted the peephole on the back of the front door “Aubergene.”


  • Floating bookshelves and envelope “landing strip” by front door – Umbra
  • Banksy knockoff above the landing strip – A store in Berlin
  • Raising Arizona screen print – The Little Friends of Printmaking


  • Couch and lamps – IKEA
  • Rug covering the couch- The Foxford Woolen Mill in Ireland
  • Dining table – CB2
  • Arc lamp – CB2
  • Antique sideboard – West Hollywood, LA
  • Dining chairs – West Elm


  • Rug – West Elm
  • Bookshelf – West Elm
  • Green 1950’s medicine cabinet – Found on the side of the street in LA
  • Wooden chair at the end of the couch – Enamoo on Smith St in Brooklyn
  • End table is an old shoeshine box, bought in LA
  • Coffee table – Seeds in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
  • Pillows – Jonathan Adler and Etsy.
  • Photo over the couch was taken on Achill Island, in the west of Ireland; we had it enlarged and printed on canvas.
  • Most of the art and photography in the apartment is either the work of friends or was found in flea markets or antique stores in LA. Our friend, Josh Weil, took the photos of Egypt and Africa on his travels.
  • Wood and materials to make the built-in bookshelves – Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware in Soho, NY


  • We made the bedside hanging light using vintage cloth-covered wire and socket/plug from Sundial Wire, plus an Edison bulb (exposed light bulbs throughout the apartment are Edison bulbs).
  • The child’s chair (used as a night stand) was made by a Donegal (Ireland) craftsman for Johanna when she was a child.
  • The beside light shelf (lamp from IKEA) was made by putting the Taschen Asian Graphics Now book on a floating bookshelf.
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Johanna and Mike!

(Images: Liana Walker)

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