This New York Times Bestselling Author’s Brooklyn Condo Is ‘Funky Mid-Century Modern’

published Mar 23, 2023

This New York Times Bestselling Author’s Brooklyn Condo Is ‘Funky Mid-Century Modern’

published Mar 23, 2023
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Homeowner Names: Sarah Knight and Judd Harris
Designer Name: Sarah Harris of Sarah F. Harris Design
Location: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 710 square feet
Years lived in: Almost four years, owned

“We put an offer in on this one-bedroom condo and got all the way into contract without ever setting foot in it — a risk we were willing to take because we really wanted to be in the neighborhood,” begins Sarah Knight, former editor at Simon & Schuster and current New York Times bestselling book author. She and her husband, musician Judd Harris, had purchased a house in the Dominican Republic in 2016 (where they live most of the time), but when Knight’s freelance author career started to take off, they purchased this 710-square-foot condo in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood to live in when they’re in NYC.

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“One day a listing came up for a one-bed, one-bath in a terrific location (aka close to my favorite pizza place, Emily) and it was in our price range, so we pounced!” Knight writes of the apartment, which she says came with three of her favorite things: high ceilings, abundant sunlight, and a washer/dryer. “We feel so privileged and grateful to have our own place to stay now whenever we come back to New York.”

Designer Sarah Harris, pictured here in Sarah Knight and Judd Harris' living room she designed. Sarah Harris is married to Judd's brother, so that makes Sarah Knight her sister-in-law and Judd her brother-in-law.

Knight and and her husband worked with designer Sarah Harris (pictured above) to help design the small space and combine two pretty distinct design styles.

“Because we were mostly starting from scratch in this apartment and we live abroad most of the time, we decided to work with Sarah, hoping she could help us go from zero-to-furnished relatively efficiently,” Knight writes. “Our goal was to wind up with the same kind of fun, colorful vibe that we have in the D.R., but more sophisticated, and using a wider range of styles and materials that we either can’t find where we live now, or can’t take proper care of in a house that’s open to the tropical elements. Sarah sourced items like the velvet bar cabinet and the powder-coated steel dining table that would never hold up against the humid, salty ocean air, but are perfect for entertaining in Brooklyn.”

Apartment Therapy Survey

Homeowners’ style: Judd and I have been together since 1999, so we’ve seen each other through dorm rooms, apartments-with-roommates, and many of our own places over the years. He used to say that I wanted to live in an opium den and he wanted to live in a spaceship. Eventually we settled on what we call “funky mid-century modern,” which gives him a lot of clean lines and me the ability to accessorize with color and texture. (Although I specifically asked our designer, Sarah Harris, to protect me from my worst impulses. I’ve been known to pile a few too many fluffy, gauzy, velvety items in one place, which is perfect for an opium den, but maybe not so much for a classy and functional living room.)

Homeowners’ favorite element: It’s so hard to choose! But — okay — if I had to pick one thing, I’m in love with the Jade Purple Brown print (“Topless Swim”) above our couch. Sarah used it as a touchpoint throughout the design process, and when everything else was sorted, we splurged on custom matting and framing for that and our vintage Jazz Fest poster (Judd is from New Orleans and the poster is from the year he was born) to tie them together with the rest of the space. We used Make A Frame on Bedford Ave., and would highly recommend them. Super cool people.

Design professional’s favorite element: My favorite part of design is the way in which individual elements create something even more magical together — it’s the wondrous tension of proportion, materials, color, print, and pattern. A well-designed space comes together so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” but if I had to choose just one piece, it’s the CB2 Avalon Rattan Bar.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

We left the walls the same standard white as when we bought the apartment and decided to use color in other ways, including a wallpaper accent wall in the bedroom.

LIVING ROOM

  • Preston reversible sectional in Marin sunflower — Joybird (discontinued)
  • Ochre linen throw pillow — St. Frank
  • Coral cross miao pillow — St. Frank
  • Kelly Wearstler district pillow cover — Etsy
  • Crosshatch natural rug — Ruggable
  • ARTLESS U4 table — Horne
  • Perimeter leather tray — Jonathan Adler (tray no longer available, though other items from the collection are)
  • Kavala end table in white/walnut — Room & Board
  • Lamp — Target (this was just an impulse buy when we needed light in the apartment when we moved in, but it stuck around)
  • Pina artificial fiddle leaf — Artiplanto
  • Banjo terrazzo salt planter — Unison  
  • Avalon rattan bar — CB2
  • Selena vase — Lulu & Georgia (out of stock)
  • Artwork (l-r on living room wall) — Dominican Republic travel poster (Art.com); Jade Purple Brown “Topless Swim” print (JPB); New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Limited Edition 1977 poster; Margo Selby colorblock lacquer squares (West Elm)
  • Theo ladder bookcase — Nathan James
  • Accessories— ripple lacquer box (Jonathan Adler); match cloche (Anthropologie); books (Sarah Knight’s No F*cks Given Guides); “The End” bookend (this came with me from my old office, can’t remember where I got it); white ceramic bowl (Kate Tremel Pottery; purchased at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival)
  • Chill media console — CB2
  • Flip clock — Schoolhouse Electric

DINING ROOM

BEDROOM

  • Pop dots wallpaper by Clare V. — Wallshoppe (traditional wallpaper, NOT peel n’ stick)
  • Lux 2 Leo rug — Nordic Knots
  • Bedframe — Casper (no longer available)
  • Gray linen duvet — Can’t remember where I got this
  • Pillow — St Frank Sea Cactus Silk Pillow
  • Dakota swivel chair — Target (no longer available)
  • Copper disc wall sconce — CB2 (no longer available)
  • Floating night table — CB2 (out of stock)
  • Artwork — Martin LaBorde
  • Woodrow wastebasket — Umbra

Thanks, Sarah and Judd!

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