John & Fabien’s Elemental Home

published Sep 15, 2014
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(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Name: John Sorensen-Jolink and Fabien Dubuet
Location: Ft. Greene; Brooklyn, New York
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years

Nested in a picturesque Brooklyn block with historic brownstones, John and Fabien have created a unique and tranquil living space. The undefined boundaries of the kitchen and living room paired with their minimal aesthetic give the space a sense of openness and possibility. They have chosen materials that remain true to their essence—metal patinas and lacquered woods bring an earthy tone to their place, contrasting the outdoor urban landscape of NYC.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)
(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

My favorite elements were John’s Dusk coffee table from his furniture line Coil + Drift. The geometric brass is reminiscent of crystal formations found in nature. Their bedroom has two generous windows offering bright light, which are parallel to the kitchen windows, so sunlight travels openly throughout the entire space. Their home also serves as a testbed for John’s projects in development. He is able to test and feel how certain pieces he designs will mature, have a place, or find functionality for everyday use. You can keep up with his projects on Instagram @coilanddrift.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We moved into this apartment three years ago and it was our first place living together. Fabien is from France and travels often for the NGO he works for so he has gathered lots of art from places like Burma, Rwanda, Ethopia, and Indonesia as well as many beautiful French books. I have my own furniture and interior design company, Coil + Drift, so there is usually a healthy flow of my work cycling through our apartment. I like to live with the pieces I create to know how they age and understand how they feel over time. We love simple and clean, modern design, but this is not a massive apartment so we also think a lot of about functionality. Everything here is used often and often serves multiple purposes. White walls, natural light, location and character were the reasons we fell for this apartment. We both work long hours and wanted to make this space a home that we could relax in peacefully at the end of a long day.

Inspiration: We are both inspired by nature and travel. Being a bi-national couple we are inspired by both of our native cultures. I admire the French quality of life as well as the laid back attitude of the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. But I also enjoy the energy of possibility that is everywhere in Brooklyn right now.

Favorite Element: Water

Biggest Challenge: Books are very important to both of us and when we moved in together we needed a creative way to house them all. There was one available wall in our bedroom and so I designed a large shelving unit using reclaimed wood from all over NYC that was adjustable to fit larger and smaller books. Because we are renting, I designed it to disassemble easily in case we need to move. Over time, and many revisions, it’s become one of my favorite pieces in my collection and the original houses our books and art perfectly.

What Friends Say: We like to have a lot of small gatherings and I love to cook so most people comment on food and drink related things like our wine rack, which I designed, or the porcelain dish ware that my friend Brooke of BTW Ceramics made. People also love our ridiculous magnet collection on the fridge. We both travel a lot so we have a tradition that we buy the most tacky magnet we can find each new place we go.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen floor is 90s linoleum. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamed of ripping it up and seeing what’s underneath. Oh, the tragedy of renting.

Proudest DIY: When we moved in there were doors into the bedroom and den, which made the apartment feel small and blocked sunlight into the living room. We took them both off and hid them in a top-secret place where they are safe but no one will ever find them.

Biggest Indulgence: Last year we splurged and bought a very fancy Miele vacuum. It’s so quiet you can turn it on and still have a conversation and its design and functionality are perfect.

Best Advice: Take your time when designing and furnishing your home. Allow your space to inform you about what it needs. And try your very best to edit what you have and let things go. The less things I own, the more joy I receive from the things I have.

Dream Sources: I’d love to go on a NY maker shopping spree! I’d buy pieces from Allied Maker, Bower, David Gaynor, Saw Home, Noble Goods, Katy Skelton, Surname Goods, Rather Well, Fort Standard, Apparatus Studio, Jill Lindsey, Assembly, Souda, and Farrah Sit just to name a few. All NY-based makers.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Resources of Note:


  • The entire apartment was off-white/cream when we moved it, so I painted all of the trims Benjamin Moore White to brighten the space and add depth
  • Pantry doors: Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint


  • 2 Chevaux Evolution poster: Torend (bought in France)
  • Vintage coat rack: Yesterday’s News in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


  • Couch: Purchased from a neighbor when they moved to Seattle
  • Coffee table: Dusk Coffee Table by Coil + Drift
  • Moroccan rugs: Kantara Rugs purchased at Jill Lindsey
  • Moroccan pillow: Kantara Rugs purchased at Jill Lindsey
  • Cherry wood sideboard: Prototype for a sideboard in next Spring’s collection for Coil + Drift
  • Iron candle pedestal: Holler and Squall
  • Velvet chairs: Crate and Barrel
  • Mirror: Vintage Signage on Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
  • Stacked cube side table: Found on the street in the Lower East Side
  • Wood Floating Shelves: Made myself
  • Mid-century wood and brass lamp: Build it Green, NYC
  • Various small indigenous figurines and masks: Acquired by Fabien in Ethiopia, Burma, Rwanda, Thailand, and Indonesia while traveling for work
  • Small Mid-century media console: Found on the street in Chelsea
  • Gold-leaf candle pedestal: Holler and Squall
  • Silver and white lamp: BoConcept
  • Portrait painting: by artist Francesca Brenda
  • Painting of bus: purchased in Havana, Cuba on the street – artist unknown
  • Candles: Noisetier and Fiquier by Diptyque; No.2 Le Long Fond by Maison Louis Marie; 13 Bonaparte



  • Shelving Unit: Hover Shelving Unit by Coil + Drift
  • Wood chair: Given to me by the landlord of my last apartment
  • Dresser: Crate and Barrel
  • Bed: Ikea
  • Linens: Muji; Greenhouse & Co.
  • Reading lamps: Brooklyn Flea
  • Mid-century bedside table: hand-me-down from a friend
  • Dreamcatcher wall hanging: custom-made by Alyssa Eckert
  • Cube art on dresser: by Gastón Liberto from Argentina
  • Mirror: Vintage Signage on Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
  • Ceiling lamp: George Nelson for Modernica
  • Portrait painting: purchased in Havana, Cuba on the street – artist unknown
  • Notebooks: Astier de Villatte, Paris



  • Desk: Custom by me
  • Desk lamp: Purchased from a neighbor when they moved to Seattle
  • Side table: Found on the street on the Upper East Side
  • Pastel of birds: by artist Hans Innemée purchased at Gallerie Lisette Alibert in Paris
  • Drawing of boat: by my grandmother, Alice Jolink
  • ‘Tout a chaque jour’ collage: purchased in Havana, Cuba on the street – artist unknown
  • Wood chair: Given to me by the landlord of my last apartment
(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Thanks, John and Fabien!

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