This Brooklyn Apartment’s Monochromatic Living Room Has Bold Blue Walls, Sofas, and Rug

This Brooklyn Apartment’s Monochromatic Living Room Has Bold Blue Walls, Sofas, and Rug

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Name: Clay Crider and husband, Julian Kline
Location: Crown Heights — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1150 square feet
Type of home: 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom co-op apartment
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

We purchased our apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this past January. We had lived nearby in Crown Heights for five years and over the course of looking for our next home to live in, kept coming back to look at apartments in this building. It’s a wonderful Art Deco apartment building built in 1928, and was at one point the hotel for the Brooklyn Dodgers. We wanted to find an apartment we could grow into over time, and also had enough space for us to entertain for our friends and family.

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We have been collecting furniture and other objects from our travels together for the past 10 years and are excited to finally have the space for it all to fit together. Our apartment has a pre-war layout, with moldings, lots of windows, and a large floor plan — which are a luxury in NYC. To avoid our apartment becoming a “period piece,” our goal was to have furniture, fixtures, and touches that span decades and are more playful while maximizing the function of each room. As the co-founder of commercial interior design studio SPACE NY, Clay designs restaurants to reflect their food and culture. But creating our own home is an exciting process to reflect our personalities and what we enjoy — art and design, traveling, cooking, being with friends and family.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: The existing architecture definitely inspired some of the look and feel of our home, but we still wanted the space to feel fresh and unique to us. Some of the furniture we had already and others we have been slowly buying, but creating a home for us is a constantly evolving process. Because of this, we didn’t have a preconception of how the apartment would look, but at the same time we took cues from certain aspects and built off of them.

One common theme is that we usually don’t buy modern furniture; the only modern looking item we have is one of our couches. When we started planning out the living room, we weren’t planning on having a monochromatic room, but fell in love with the paint color and then the two blue couches, and it all started to fall into place. The blue color is calming and lends itself to a cozy feeling which is great for a movie night in, reading in the sun on the weekends, or having friends over for a game night.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Inspiration: Our apartment has great bones — high ceilings, lots of windows, parqueted floors, and original moldings throughout. We wanted to arrange rooms and decorate our home in a way that would work with the layout, but wouldn’t be limited to the pre-war themes. We also wanted each room to be comfortable and inviting for when friends and family visited. Our result is a mixture of styles, mostly vintage, but also including newer touches. It definitely reflects our love for antiquing — no matter where we are traveling, it’s always exciting to seek out the local stores and flea markets to find a great deal. Reflective of a key piece of furniture or lighting in each room, we have tried to create clearly separated spaces in our home — the blue living room, yellow hinted dining room, and green bedroom. We have also placed photographs and paintings by our family and friends in each room that reflects its mood or colors, including a print of industrial pipes in the dining room by friend and photographer Connie Zhou, a landscape painting in the foyer by Julian’s aunt Joyce Crain, and three floral paintings above the bed by Clay’s business partner Anders Olson.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Favorite Element: There is a square window in the wall separating the kitchen and the dining room that makes a huge difference in opening up the apartment. The kitchen is pretty narrow, so the window helps it to feel less confined, and also makes it possible to talk to your family and guests while cooking. Also compared to the new trend of open layout apartments, our kitchen is hidden from the other rooms but we can still talk to each other when cooking. From the living room, it also extends the line of sight into the kitchen, so from one of the couches you can see everything going on in the dining room and speak with whoever is cooking.

Biggest Challenge: We moved into the apartment in January, and COVID-19 locked down NYC in March. When buying the apartment, we were so excited to go to antique stores and flea markets throughout the spring and summer to pick up new lamps, furniture, and other accents — and then couldn’t do any of that. We bought some larger items like the sofas online, and have been using websites like Chairish to find more vintage pieces.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Proudest DIY: The green bedroom has two bedside tables from a larger 1960s maple bedroom set that belonged to Clay’s grandmother. The finish had worn off in places and were in need of some TLC when they were gifted to Clay last year. We sanded them down, replaced the brass hardware, and re-finished them in Benjamin Moore “Hunter Green,” which helped give them a new life and complement the green walls and other furniture in the room.

Biggest Indulgence: Much more than any one piece of furniture, it has been framing. We have been given a lot of pieces of art from our family, colleagues, and friends, and have framed it all this year. While our artwork itself has mostly been free, quality framing can definitely add up! Make A Frame on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn is nearby and does great quality work.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Probably the most unique thing about our home is that at one point the building was a hotel for the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose stadium was two blocks away. There is a huge grand lobby, and while our apartment still has a pretty classic layout, we like to inspect the walls, doorways, and flooring to try to figure out how the floor plan and rooms have changed over the past 90 years.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Every year we travel to North Carolina to visit Clay’s family, and have found that there are some amazing antique shops on the outskirts of Asheville, like Atomic Furnishing and the Screen Door. We have collected a number of items over the years from the stores and barns in Asheville, and they are all accompanied by memories of adventure, driving them back to NYC in pickups or U-Hauls. Our favorite piece of furniture is one we bought there in 2019, a large wooden parquet cube side table. It is in almost untouched condition, and the craftsmanship creates an amazing illusion. We knew right away this would be the perfect piece for our living room and all it needed was a simple lamp on top of it.

Credit: Connie Zhou

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When you have limited space in NYC, you shouldn’t be afraid to repurpose furniture and use it in ways other than how it was meant to be. We bought a mid-century wooden dresser with an intricate sliding top drawer that was originally meant for our bedroom, and now it serves as a bar, linen cabinet, and board game storage in our dining room.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t settle for new or convenient! We have found some amazing pieces of furniture and decor over the years from antique stores, flea markets, and on websites like Chairish and Etsy that we never would have found new or in NYC stores. Also, don’t be afraid to use color whether in furniture, walls, or even on the ceiling!

Resources

Credit: Connie Zhou

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living Room — Benjamin Moore “Marlboro Blue”
  • Dining Room, Entrance, Hallways — Benjamin Moore “Super White”
  • Bedroom — Benjamin Moore “Van Alen Green”
Credit: Connie Zhou

ENTRY

  • I Beam Black Marble Table — CB2
  • Finlandia Vase — Moma Design Store (Iittala)
  • Painting — Joyce Crain (Julian’s Aunt)
  • Mirror – Dickinson’s Antiques — Beacon, NY
  • Pendant Light — Art Deco Milk Glass Pendant from Chairish
  • Bench — Brimfield Flea Market
  • Vintage Black White Photos of NYC, Artist Unknown
Credit: Connie Zhou

LIVING ROOM

  • Sloan Sofa — Interior Define
  • Napa Sofa — Poly & Bark
  • Noguchi Coffee Table
  • Chair – Vintage — Atomic Furniture & Design, Asheville, NC
  • Parquet Wood Cube Side Table — Vintage from Screen Door, Asheville, NC
  • White Ceramic and Brass Lamp — Vintage from Screen Door, Asheville, NC
  • Rug – Vintage Turkish Overdyed — Etsy
  • Collages above Poly & Bark Sofa — Joyce Crain
  • Black and White Photo — Sippakorn Ponpayong – Outlet Series (2020) – Taken during the initial NYC lockdown, Spring 2020
  • Chipped Paint small shelving unit — Brooklyn Flea, Brooklyn, NY
  • Painting above teal velvet sofa — Clay Crider, Untitled 2018
  • Abstract Painting with hand embroidery — John Van Wattum – A departure gift when I left Tommy Hilfiger in 2016 
  • Pillows — Purchased in Peru on our Honeymoon in 2019
Credit: Connie Zhou

DINING ROOM

Credit: Connie Zhou

BEDROOM

  • Bed — West Elm
  • Side Tables — Clay’s Grandmothers –  Refinished
  • Rug — Markeet in Peru during our Honey Moon
  • Mid-Century Lounge Chair — Brimfield Flea Market
  • Industiral Lamp — Brimfield Flea Market
  • Pendant Light — PH5
  • Paintings — Anders Olson – Clay’s business partner painted these for a work project.
  • Photographs — Connie Zhou
  • White Vintage Plastic Lamp — Vintage from Screen Door, Asheville, NC

Thanks Clay and Julian!!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.