Mimi’s Bright and Welcoming Brooklyn Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Name: Mimi Shim
Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Size: 720 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Mimi shares this colorful, light-filled Brooklyn apartment with her husband and two cats. The space manages to feel comfortable and welcoming and yet chic and well edited. The lack of clutter and well designed living space are a testament to this couple’s attention to detail, and the results are nothing short of charming.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Creativity abounds for this pair — when they describe them, DIY projects like the colorful lamps in the bedroom and the countertops and table in the kitchen sound downright simple (although it’s clear they are all impressively skillful in their construction). The collaboration of the two is impressive in and of itself, and as a result their home feels both well designed and happy — a beautiful combination.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I tend to gravitate towards clean and simple lines, with touches of handmade warmth. I like combining opposing elements together and balancing them: bright colors + neutrals, modern + vintage, masculine + feminine, metal + wood. My husband Zach loves Danish Midcentury modern furniture; I like the clean lines and quality, but too much of it can look a bit generic and uncomfortable. We found some key pieces of vintage Midcentury furniture over a couple of years of moving in, but mixed them with quirky accents. We definitely went through a process of experimentation with different furniture pieces, and finally clicked with the pieces we have.

Inspiration: Our apartment already had a lot of vintage character built into it, such as the rounded archways, the bordered wooden floors, and crown molding. So I suppose that was our starting point, and working with what was already here, and adding a modern touch. Our view from our apartment and neighborhood are very inspiring visually, so we took a cue from those elements and worked with the space as a whole — sort of a modern bohemian feel.

Favorite Element: There are a few… I fell in love with the rounded archways, the view of the buildings across the street, and the southern facing windows that allow a lot of sunlight to come in. I also love the skylight in the bathroom letting in natural light.

Biggest Challenge: Storage in a small space.

What Friends Say: Our friends love our place. We end up just lounging around for hours — the space is very cozy.

Proudest DIY: Changing the countertops ourselves!

Biggest Indulgence: The dining room set — it makes me feel like a grown-up.

Best Advice: Sometimes doing little by little is better than doing it all at once. There are little nuances that get missed when you are in a project frenzy of trying to get everything done. The best spaces feel lived in.

Dream Sources: If I could get anything from anywhere to furnish my apartment I would go to BDDW in SOHO. I really love the attention to detail and their use of materials. Stylistically exactly what I love — old world techniques but clean and modern lines.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Resources of Note:


  • Cobblestone Path from Benjamin Moore (Living Room + Bathroom)
  • • Jamaican Aqua from Benjamin Moore (Living Room) • Paradise Blue from Benjamin Moore (Kitchen Area)


    • Small Walnut Shelf – Autumn Workshop • Light Fixture – DWR Nelson lamp

    • Convertible Table – IKEA


    • Sectional + Rug – West Elm • Coffee Table + Aloe Stand – Allegan Antiques show in Michigan • Vintage Safari Chairs – Bought the store displays at French Garment Cleaners in Fort Greene • Navajo Throw – Ortega’s Weaving Shop in Chimayo, NM • Knitted Pouf – The Future Perfect • Pillows – DIY by Mimi • Orange Chevron Blanket – Target • Credenza – eBay • Antlers – eBay • Display Shelves – Custom made by our friend Daniel at Autumn Workshop • Steel Side Tables – DIY by Zach with the help of our friend Daniel • Table Lamp – Caravan Pacific • Standing Lamp with kidney tables – Found object • Black Standing Lamp – IKEA spray painted black

    • Wooden Blinds – Amazon


    • Dining Set – Etsy • Cantilever Lamp – DIY by Zach and Mimi • Clock – West Elm

    • Poster – Agnes B


    • Ceiling Light – Allegan Antiques show in Michigan • Cafe Table – DIY by Zach • Metal Stools – Sundance Catalogue • Counter Top – IKEA • Cabinet Knobs – DIY by Zach • Rug – West Elm

    • Window Treatment – IKEA Shade + DIY by Mimi – Stencil Spray Paint


    • Dresser – Great Barrington Antiques Center • Desk – DIY by Zach • Pillows – DIY by me made from seed bags purchased from Etsy • Blue Web Lamps – DIY by Zach • Wooden Desk Chair – Found object

    • Bauhaus Posters – From Bauhaus Museum in Berlin

    (Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

    Thanks, Mimi and Zach!

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