Tours

This Recipe Developer and Writer’s Brooklyn Rental Features a Unique Layout and a Lamp Grown From Mushrooms

published Nov 11, 2021
Tours

This Recipe Developer and Writer’s Brooklyn Rental Features a Unique Layout and a Lamp Grown From Mushrooms

published Nov 11, 2021
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Name: Lidey Heuck, fiancé, Joe, and Welsh terrier, Winkleman
Location: Brooklyn, New York City
Size: 1,000 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years lived in: Less than one year, renting

Brooklyn resident Lidey Heuck is a recipe developer, food writer, blogger, and the former assistant of Ina Garten — so it only makes sense that she designed the apartment she shares with her fiancé, Joe, and their Welsh terrier, Winkleman, to reflect her love of cooking and entertaining. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

A recipe contributor for New York Times Cooking and the author of food and lifestyle blog LideyLikes.com, Heuck opted to forgo a traditional couch and coffee table setup in her main living area. She instead utilized this space to house an expansive dining table, built-in shelves filled with cookware, and a rolling breakfast bar, which can be transported directly into the kitchen area when hosting Zoom cooking classes. In lieu of a traditional living room, they turned a narrow second bedroom in the apartment into their “TV pit.”

Credit: Andrew Bui

Heuck, who describes her style as “transitional and Brooklyn modern” dreams of one day moving upstate — but for now, she has mastered the art of designing a rental home that accommodates her career needs and her love for a good dinner party. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Inspiration: I’m inspired by old houses, and particularly by homes that have been updated to suit modern life but still honor the history and design features of the period in which they were built. My dream is to renovate a big 1800s farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, and until that happens, I try to sort of mesh that romantic vision with the realities of living in a Brooklyn apartment. 

Favorite Element: The first thing that really struck me about this apartment was all the natural light, especially in the main room. It makes the whole space feel really open and bright. While I bought blinds for windows in the other rooms, I left these bare to maximize the light throughout the day — which is especially important for food photography and recipe videos. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

One of my favorite things I bought for the apartment is the pendant light over our dining table. Not only does it look great, but it’s also 100-percent organic, biodegradable, and sustainable — because it’s literally made out of mushrooms. Danielle Trofe makes these incredible light fixtures by combining mycelium (the root system of a mushroom) with agricultural by-products, so her fixtures are technically grown, not manufactured. 

Biggest Challenge: It was difficult to find a rental apartment that had everything we wanted: nice kitchen finishes, plenty of storage, natural light, and room to entertain, as well as enough space to be both a comfortable home and work environment for two people. But, we were apartment hunting last winter, in the height of Covid, and fortunately, we were able to snag a great deal on a place that ticked nearly all of our boxes.

Credit: Andrew Bui

The catch was that though the kitchen had almost everything I wanted, the actual footprint of the space is really small. So we decided to turn what would typically be the main/living room into an open kitchen and dining room. On the kitchen side, I envisioned open shelves (more on those in a bit!) and a counter-height table that could function as a kitchen table, desk, and more counter space. On the dining room side, I wanted a long table that our friends could crowd around as soon as it was safe to have a dinner party again. I’m sure this layout wouldn’t make sense for everyone, but it was fun to try to re-imagine a typical rental apartment in a way that really worked for us. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Since we turned our living room into a kitchen and dining room, we needed a place to hang out on the couch and watch TV! We decided to turn the apartment’s narrow second bedroom into our living room, or what we like to call the “TV pit.” It’s a bit of an odd size, and we needed to get creative to avoid sitting about three feet away from the TV. We ended up removing the hardware and doors from the closet and putting the TV in there, and I found big cotton rope baskets on Etsy to put on the top shelf to store linens and other odds and ends. 

To make the room extra cozy, I looked for a super deep couch and an upholstered ottoman that would be a comfy foot rest or extra seating when friends came over. The gallery wall, wooden blinds, and stacks of books under the window also helped give this room a den-like feel, and I have to say, it quickly became our favorite spot in the apartment. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

Biggest Indulgence: The built-in shelves in the kitchen, which were custom-made by Soil and Oak. They were a splurge, especially for a rental, but I knew they were going to be the focal point of the room and necessary to store my serving pieces and large cookware. While large built-in shelves might not seem security deposit-friendly, they’re only nailed into the wall in four places, so it’s not that different from hanging art. And, when we move, we can take them with us and reconfigure them to work in our new space. 

Credit: Andrew Bui

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The produce prints I have hanging above my cookbook collection are particularly special to me. They are by my friend Maria Schoettler, and I love how much color and personality they add to the white walls in our kitchen. I became friends with Maria after buying her prints, and we bonded over the inspiration we both take from seasonal fruits and vegetables in our respective lines of work. We ended up collaborating on a little product line together, which just launched on my site

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I’m always collecting fun napkins, serving platters, and other tabletop goodies for our apartment, but when it comes to kitchen tools and appliances, I’m a minimalist. I cook for a living, and as much as I want my kitchen to be beautiful, it’s crucial for it to be functional above all else.  

Credit: Andrew Bui

I resist the urge to buy any little gadgets or odd-sized pans I know I won’t really use, and I make sure the appliances and utensils I use every day are either on the counter or in easy to reach places. This helps me stay organized and be much more efficient in the kitchen, whether I’m working on a recipe or making dinner on a Tuesday.

I think this is especially important for anyone living in an apartment or any home with a small kitchen. You don’t need a hundred different contraptions and specialty pans to make good food. And bottom line, if your cabinets and drawers are stuffed to the gills, it’s going to be frustrating to find what you need, and you might even end up cooking less often over time because of it.  

Credit: Andrew Bui

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Having a mix of old and new when it comes to furniture and decor is really important to me — it gives our home a lot of warmth and texture. When everything in a house or apartment is from the same three stores, it tends to end up feeling a little soulless. I used to be wary of the idea of “antiques,” thinking that anything deserving of that name was either prohibitively expensive or something that belonged in my grandparents’ house. But there are so many sites and stores where you can find timeless antique or vintage pieces that won’t break the bank and will be a nice complement to more modern furniture and decor in your home. It just takes a little bit of time and patience to find what you’re looking for. Not to mention, buying something that’s already out in the world is a more sustainable way to shop for furniture!

Resources

Credit: Andrew Bui

OFFICE

Credit: Andrew Bui

LIVING ROOM (“TV PIT”)

Credit: Andrew Bui

DINING ROOM

  • Dining room table — Antique from Hudson Antique Warehouse
  • Chairs — Antique 
  • Pendant light fixture — Mushlume by Danielle Trofe 
  • Chest of drawers — Antique from Chairish
  • Mirror — Etsy 
  • Large watercolor landscape — Commission by Martha Oakes
  • Hurricanes — West Elm and Crate and Barrel
Credit: Andrew Bui

KITCHEN

Thanks Lidey!

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