Sapph-Lit Founder’s Brooklyn Home Is Delightfully ‘Maximalist Bisexual Librarian from the ’70s’

published Jan 18, 2023

Sapph-Lit Founder’s Brooklyn Home Is Delightfully ‘Maximalist Bisexual Librarian from the ’70s’

published Jan 18, 2023
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Name: Nina Haines (@nina.haines on TikTok)
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC
Size: Approximately 900 square feet
Type of Home: Two-bedroom apartment
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, renting

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Nina Haines’ East Williamsburg railroad-style apartment is many things. It’s colorful; it’s cozy; it’s a personification of healing one’s inner child. Haines, who’s been renting the unit for a year and a half, has completed a variety of DIY projects, including painting her kitchen cabinets purple, adding marble contact paper to her countertops and refrigerator, and adding a squiggle-shaped painted accent wall. “There are colors and patterns and kitschy touches everywhere,” she says. “My friend once commented that it looks like Lizzie McGuire threw up everywhere.”

Credit: Erin Derby

And while this marketer, writer, creator, and the founder of the Sapphic book club, Sapph-Lit, has done plenty of work to make the space her own, she’s not done yet. “My home is a constant work in progress, I’m constantly adding and changing things around.” As she does with her online book club and its more than 6,000 members, Haines makes it a priority to create a sense of community in her home. “I love that it’s an unserious space,” she writes. “I want people to feel safe and joyous here, I want them to know that they are welcome to be themselves and be however they need to be in that moment.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Maximalist bisexual librarian from the ’70s and she lives in Copenhagen. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Inspiration: My 4 fave interior accounts: @___giovannna @honeyidressedthepug @taybeepboop @samswhurld 

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: My purple vintage media console from the ’70s via Dobbin St. Vintage Coop.

Credit: Courtesy of Nina Haines

Biggest Challenge: There’s so much wall space! I’m in a railroad apartment with super tall ceilings and the main living area has no windows, so there’s a lot of blank space that I feel compelled to fill. I try and make little moments out of different sections of the wall: gallery wall, record wall, vintage glassware shelving, bookshelves on bookshelves on bookshelves, media center. I still don’t think it’s done. I’m still toying with what I want to do above my IKEA kitchen cart, and I think I want to add even more bookshelves above the two above the TV.

Proudest DIY: My kitchen — the before and after photos are absolutely wild to me. I painted the cabinets purple, added custom ceramic fruit knobs from Etsy, used marble contact paper to cover the countertops and fridge, painted the spice racks yellow, and put up shelves for my vintage glassware collection. It’s such a happy place to cook now!

Credit: Erin Derby

Budget: $2K/month in rent – biggest splurge is my Floyd bed frame. I had a $40 wooden bed frame from IKEA for two years (it was BREAKING) and I told myself if I was going to replace it, I was going to get my Big Girl Adult Bed Frame. I saved up and bought it during their Black Friday sale.

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? It doubles as my personal library — because of the work I do with my book club, I house over 500 books and have them all over the apartment. I’ve had to find a lot of creative ways to store and organize and display them. My friends come over and borrow books all the time, and I keep track of who borrows what so it really is quite like a library! That’s what sold me on the place originally, the built-in bookcase in my office/second bedroom.

Credit: Erin Derby

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Furniture that doubles as storage is everything to me. Get all of the underbed storage, the cabinets, the sets of drawers, the bins. Storage can double as decor, too! Shelves to display vintage glassware is one of my favorite ways to fill up wall space.

Credit: Erin Derby

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Take your time. It doesn’t have to all be done at once. Your home will feel authentic to you when you accumulate objects and DIYs over time — to me purchases mean more when they’re secondhand or vintage, because then the object feels more unique to me and my home. Nesting is a process! Enjoy the early stages of its potential.


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Bedroom — Sherwin Williams “Melancholy Mint”
  • Office — Sherwin Williams “Haven”
  • Kitchen — Benjamin Moore “Grape Ice”
  • Rainbow Squiggle — paint samples from the previous tenant of my last apartment (shoutout Alyssa!)
Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • AllModern Luo velvet chaise sectional — Wayfair
  • Floating bookshelves — Umbra
  • Ladder bookcase — Wayfair
  • Rug — Secondhand
  • Velvet ottoman — Amazon
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Dining room table — Wayfair
  • Record shelves — Amazon
  • Media Console — Dobbin St. Vintage Coop
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Hand painted tea kettle — Etsy
  • Peel and stick subway tiles — Etsy
  • Rug — Secondhand
  • Bar cart — Secondhand
  • Forhoja Kitchen cart — IKEA
  • Fruit knobs — Etsy (sold out)
  • Everybody Salt + Pepper Grinders — Dusen Dusen
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Bamboo pendant light — Etsy (IKEA dupe)
  • Disco ball — Etsy
  • Moroccan checkered rug — Etsy
  • The Bed Frame — Floyd
  • Marte Nightstand — Urban Outfitters Home
  • Arabela accent chair — Etsy (sold out)
  • Handheld tieback — Anthropologie
  • Mat Bedding — Dusen Dusen
  • Everybody Tissue Box Holder — Dusen Dusen
  • Hovet Mirror — IKEA
  • Circle Mirror — Target
  • Marble + gold table / plant stand — Target
  • Circular shelf lamp — Target

Thanks Nina!

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