Jonathan’s Calm and Considered Nest

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Name: Jonathan Rubinstein, Founder/Owner of Joe, a coffee roastery and group of retail shops in New York City and Philadelphia; and Sally, age 4
Location: Brooklyn Heights; Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Clean lines define the neat, loft-like space that is Jonathan’s Brooklyn home, a well-edited contemporary apartment. Learning to balance his own style desires with the needs of his family has been the key to creating a home that is comfortable and nurturing to father and daughter alike.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

While some elements of our design styles may be consistent across every apartment we live in, others must necessarily adapt with changes in location and space, and with the ways our needs change over time. After years of living in ‘bachelor pad’ style apartments, Jonathan has worked hard to make this place in a converted former printing warehouse on the Brooklyn waterfront into a family home for himself and his daughter.

Having a place with great architecture always helps, of course. Jonathan makes the most of his tall ceilings and the half-frame of an original exposed column in the living room to craft a vertical shelf system that serves functional, aesthetic, and emotionally resonant purposes: memories and family photographs, favorite bits of art, and books mingle with storage pockets, keeping clutter at bay while visually making the space seem even taller as the eye is drawn up. In fact, everything in Jonathan’s home seems included for one of these purposes, bringing together a collection of meaningful objects and furniture that he finds useful, beautiful, and emotionally sustaining. No matter where you are in life or where you happen to live, these are pretty great styling principles by which to abide.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Clean and contemporary, yet warm.

Inspiration: Mad Men and the American Museum of Natural History.

Favorite Element: The bookcase wall.

Biggest Challenge: My brain is very used to a bachelor pad. When I decorated this space, my daughter was one year old, and I have worked hard to make it feel softer, more feminine and more family-like than my natural instincts.

Also when you live in a small space with limited storage, especially with a child, finding smart storage solutions so you have little clutter is an ongoing battle, and I think about it in every decision I make, from what furniture to buy to what accessories I can accommodate. You pretty much see everything I own, all the time.

What Friends Say: Friends, especially those in my building, are always complimentary about what I have done to the space. There are 450 Apartments in my building, all with the same finishes — I think people are surprised at how much I have transformed my place to feel unique.

Biggest Embarrassment: It’s been 3 years and I still have no window treatments in any of the rooms.

Proudest DIY: I was not given the DIY gene, so I guess designing all the elements of the bookcase, which is the focal point of the room.

Biggest Indulgence: My new coffee table by designer and friend Jason Pickens. I never thought I’d spend more on a coffee table than a couch.

Best Advice: If you buy basics from the national chains, be sure to mix them with DIY and handmade pieces to avoid looking decorator-ish or like a Pottery Barn catalogue.

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, Room and Board, Waterworks.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Resources of Note:


  • Benjamin Moore, Coventry Gray


  • Mirror: Alessi, “Blow Up” collection
  • Entrance table: Custom-built from reclaimed walnut by Chip McCloskey


  • Couch: Holden Sofa by Room and Board
  • Coffee table: Jason Pickens Designs
  • Wooden chair: Oskar lounge chair by Room and Board
  • Other chairs: Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams
  • Carpet: Jaip Wool rug- Maroc collection
  • Bookcase: Chip McCloskey
  • Side tables: CB2
  • Glass side table: Alessi, “Blow Up” collection
  • Standing lamp: Tolomeo Floor Lamp from Design within Reach


  • Table: Slab Table by Tom Dixon from ABC Carpet
  • Chairs: Eames side chairs, sparrow color



  • Bed: Room and Board Ella Bed in chocolate
  • Bed dressing: Restoration Hardware
  • Carpet: Lamb throw
  • Side chairs: Felt covered Eames
  • TV stand: Flea market find, Indonesia carved wood
  • Side tables: Glass and steel from Room and Board


  • Photograph: Gift
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Jonathan!

(Images: Alexis Buryk)

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