Design

Colorful Apartment Tour

Designer Tina Roth Eisenberg—also known as Swissmiss—is a force. She spends her days running the temporary tattoo brand Tattly and lecture series CreativeMornings. But at night, she comes home to this bright and charming Brooklyn apartment, which she shares with her husband and two kids. Here’s a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM:

On creating the perfect space: We originally bought two apartments—a two-bedroom and a one-bedroom—and combined them into one. We lived in the unfinished apartment for eight months while we did the construction. We didn’t have a kitchen until the very end. I would never do it again, ever. I’m surprised we’re still married, haha. At the time, we had a one-year-old and a five-year-old, and you can only do so much with a rice cooker and a tiny fridge. We ordered food almost every night. Ella, my daughter, got used to announcing, “The food man is here!” When we finally had a kitchen again she was like, “Where is the food man?”

Couch: West Elm. Rug: IKEA. Floor lamp: CB2. Coffee table: Design Public. Green chair: Vintage booster seat. Fiddle-leaf fig tree: The Sill. Striped throw blanket: The School of Life. Cloud throw pillows: The Land of Nod. Shark pillow: Target.

On keeping a “to-read” list: I have a never-ending list of books that I want to read one day. It’s based on recommendations, either from friends or people I know professionally. I’m a quote junky, so if there is a topic on my mind, like “resilience,” I’ll search for quotes and then go down rabbit holes and end up buying a lot of the books that the quotes are from. That’s how I found the book Give and Take, which is such a good read. It analyzes different personalities and how they manifest in professional environments. I’ll read several books at a time, I’m a total ADD reader. Right now I’m reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I just read and loved Small Giants, about small companies where it’s not about scale, but about impact.

Vertical bookshelves: CB2. Interchangeable letters sign: Goodwin & Goodwin.

On forgoing a TV: My husband and I both feel strongly that when you live in an apartment, a TV turns into an altar. So instead we watch TV shows on our computer, and we’ll project movies onto the wall or the blinds at night. When we do that, our neighbors across the street can watch it in reverse!

On having a (shared) vision: I’m really intense about decorating. I walk into a room and I see it: where things need to go, how they need to go, what colors they need to be. It’s hard to live with someone like me. Luckily, my husband Gary is easygoing. When we moved in together, we had to start over from scratch. His style is actually ornate—that’s how flexible he is. I showed him what I liked, and he was like, “I never would have looked at this, but I can kind of like it.” While we didn’t have the same aesthetic, I saw that he put so much care and love into a space and I loved that about him. For our wedding, we actually had an art registry (and got this cycling print). That helped us start fresh.

Sofa: West Elm. Floor lamp: IKEA. Rug: IKEA. Dipped side table: West Elm. Teddy bear pillows: MrTedi. Striped throw blanket: West Elm.

DINING ROOM:

On family hangs: We always eat breakfast together at the table, every day. The kids have waffles, cereal, yogurt. I always make eggs; I’m an egg lover. We have movie night on Saturdays where we project a movie onto the wall. We just watched Moon Man a few nights ago, which is this lovely 50-minute animated movie about the moon coming down to Earth because it’s bored.

Table: Room & Board. Chairs: Herman Miller. Pendant lamp: Design Within Reach. Rug: IKEA.

KITCHEN:
On being the family cook: I’m the cook in the family. I make raclette, a Swiss dish where you melt cheese in a tiny pan. It’s the coziest thing you can do on a winter night. I got stuck in a rut cooking the same things, so now every weekend I try a new recipe. I used to have this fear of cooking legit pieces of meat (like a roast) until I forced myself to try. I’ll invite friends over and we call it the “no-pressure cooking club.” If it sucks, we’ll order in!

Bar stools: Tabouret. Tree print: Myoung Ho Lee. Potted plant: The Sill.

On how to unwind: I’m the worst at this. I don’t have any rituals—I’m not even going to make one up. (A glass of wine?!) On the other hand, my husband is the most zen, calm, relaxed personal on the planet. He stretches for 20 minutes every morning and every night. I’m so jealous that’s he’s able to pull this off. In the morning when I get up, I’m already on 100. By the time he’s done stretching, I’ve showered, made the kids’ lunches, made breakfast and am ready to go. It probably drives him nuts.

Chalkboard paint: Rust-Oleum.

MASTER BEDROOM:

On the power of white: I’m a white sheet person—we have only ever had white sheets. If I could, I would live in a white box. There’s something so comforting about white to me. I think it’s a very Swiss thing. I love the rug in our bedroom. It has these beautiful round edges. I’m dreading the day when it’s going to be so done that we’ll have to get rid of it.

On low beds: I prefer low beds. I don’t understand why American beds are so high. When you have a low bed, it takes up less space, so a bedroom looks way bigger.

On making a “European” update: The bathroom in the master bedroom was this nook without windows. Our old apartment had a ginormous bathroom and I was sad to give that up. So I said, “What if we made a window in the shower?” The tile guy was this little old man who looked at me like I was crazy. He was making this tiny little window, trying to be modest, and I was like, no, make it bigger! Gary explained, “She’s from Europe.”

Bed: Design Within Reach. Bedding: IKEA. Rug: Dacca.

TILO’S BEDROOM:

On Tilo’s favorite things: Tilo is all about superheroes. He’s also really into pizza. He’s so in love with this book Secret Pizza Party—it’s a picture book where a raccoon wants to get a pizza, but he can’t just walk into a pizza place. Tilo just turned five, so for his birthday we threw him a secret pizza party, and he dressed up as a raccoon.

Bed: IKEA mattress. Bedding: IKEA. Stool/nightstand: IKEA. Blue lamp: IKEA.

On lengthy bedtime routines: It’s this weird dance with Tilo—Gary reads him a book, then I read him a book, then Gary goes back in and reads him another book and sings him a song. It’s a ritual. The thing is, you can end it at any point, but if Tilo is like, “Daddy! Can I have a bonus book?” he won’t say no.

On keeping things neat: We edit everyday. I believe you should only keep the things you’re actively using, and my husband agrees. I’m really intense about getting rid of things—I have a shelf in my closet of things to bring to the Salvation Army. My son is the king of giving things away when he’s done with them. Ella doesn’t have the clean-up gene, but Tilo is just like me in that way. He’ll be like, “Let’s clean up before we go to bed!”

Built-in shelving: Elfa system from The Container Store.

On holiday traditions: We try to dress up as a family on Halloween. We were superheroes, we were bees…I want to be breakfast items this year, but that will depend on whether I can convince everyone or not.

ELLA’S BEDROOM:

On city camping: We went “glamping” at Ella’s best friend’s house. She lives right across the street, so we camped out on the roof of the townhouse. We could wave to Gary up in the apartment! We slept in a tent. We played a campfire app on the iPad and made s’mores inside on their fancy stove. It was awesome hearing the sounds of the city at night. I don’t want to go camping in the woods—I like having a bathroom!

Bed: IKEA mattress. Bedding: IKEA. Gold heart pillow: I heart guts. Cube shelving: Design Within Reach.

On raising city kids: Ella loves to go rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders. She loves getting her nails done with me, but we only do that every few months. Tilo loves going to Barnes & Noble down the street. They both love going to Buzzarama, a total time warp of an old race-car track, it’s really a treasure. The owner’s in his 80s!

Built-in shelving: Elfa system from The Container Store. Desk chair: Eames. Yellow chair: ErgoErgo. Rolling cart: Ikea.

On getting kids to talk: Every night I’ll ask them, “What’s one thing that made you happy today?” I’ll ask them all sorts of questions, and Ella loves it. The way you always get them is you phrase it into a story, “When I was your age, I remember…” They always listen to those.

Thank you so much, Tina! You and your home are both so inspiring.

P.S. More house tours, including a welcoming brownstone and a tiny San Francisco apartment.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling by Kate Jordan. Interview by Caroline Donofrio.)

  1. Everything here is beautiful! It’s great to stumble upon and see the hidden beauty of every room of every smile. Those books, Stunning!

    Xoxo
    Nancy Ballard of
    SolidGold Philippines

  2. I love the floors. Please share what kind they are! I’m in the process of buying my first home and that’s the exact flooring I’m looking for…and it stands up to kids tearing around in big wheels!

    Thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha you’re so right!

  3. Wonderful!!

  4. I loved reading this! She is so charming and her home is beautiful. Also, I’m raising my hand as another HUGE fan of the “poop” picture.

  5. I really love this. I also enjoyed the bit about her husband’s style being more “ornate.” My husband is the same way — he loves really romantic pieces and textures…velvet wing backs, impressionistic paintings, floral prints…all of that. I find it incredibly sweet and charming. He makes co-decorating fun!

  6. This was a great read!

  7. What a stunning apartment!!! I love the clean white walls, and clean and sleek furniture choices – what a great apartment for kids too!!
    Jem
    http://www.poptherapy.com.au

  8. What a wonderful place to live!

  9. I love it! this apartment seems happy and sooo bright. It’s one of the best spaces for children than I’ve seen.

    :)

  10. I love the way you tell a little story with it you inspired me so much to write a blog post thank you :)

  11. ‘She’s from Europe’, haha! As a European, I’m totally stealing that.

  12. I love the look of the white. I’m with you on it being fresh and minamalist. However I can not achieve this with 3 dogs, 2 youths and 2 cats in my Sussex house. I enjoyed your tour of your apartment. So different from my style here in the UK. We have apartments like yours now in the old dock areas in London and some I guess would be decorated similarly.

  13. It’s soo true about white sheets. I LOVE them. And I absolutely love this apartment!

    Anceeta.com

  14. Oh I just love Tina Roth Eisenberg! So happy you featured her – such a powerhouse of a woman.

  15. BEAUTIFUL home and lovely family. Loved the poop picture, and also loved that I recognize that toy by the books on the lower right side!!! I forgot what he was called, but I totally had that!!! Awww.

    Anyway, inspirational home – wonderful design!

    (I don’t think i could do low beds though…)

  16. I heard Tina’s interview on The Lively Show and really appreciated all she shared. Its fun to see where she lives! I love the idea of the low beds and how it creates more room space.

  17. Honestly, my favorite thing about this home tour was seeing Tina Roth Eisenberg herself. It is refreshing to see a woman featured who doesn’t fit the slight white mode of style. You can tell from the one photo that she is confident. AWESOME!

  18. I love this home tour.. Like love love! I keep on going back and forth about an all white apartment, but that master bedroom though!
    And it’s so true about windows in Europe. I am gonna miss it when I ll be back in India. And the view :)

  19. Omg I’m such a loser. I genuinely thought she’d just stacked some books in the living room ha ha ha!!
    Lovely space. The views are incredible x

  20. Tina is such an inspiration. I love seeing her home and hearing about her family. Their apartment is as happy and thoughtful as I would have imagined!

  21. Nice that we get some book recommendations along with an apartment tour! I also love Tina’s perspective on ‘editing’—it encourages me to do the same.

  22. Also, I love the stories about her family. I literally just turned to my husband and said, “I wish you had seen Sanders (our son) trick-or-treat”. He said, “What?”! Haha

  23. @casey I completely agree. Growing up in the south, I grew up with old, old wood furniture that my mother collect from yard sales and antique malls. I’ve not seen that type of style for a while on blogs. Mostly a ‘mod-vintage’ type feel. I think it would be cool to see a mesh of both, because I love both so much!

  24. This is such a lovely welcoming home. The vertical bookcases are so striking! Also love the bedroom with the giraffe looking out of the window.

    I only like white bedsheets as well. There is something so fresh about them. I actually have the same IKEA set.

  25. The apartment tours- and the parenting around the world – and motherhood mondays have been my favorite posts!!!

  26. Such an inviting space — i love the unique bookshelves! :)

  27. Is that a Marcel Dzama in Ella’s room?

  28. I like the light, but I couldn’t live in an all white space like this, I would feel like I’m at the hospital! I love the Peugeot poster though!

  29. Already a fan of swissmiss…and totally with her on white and low beds. But, holy heck, I kinda lost track after raclette ;)

  30. @lesley, i know, haha, it made us all laugh out loud. ;)

  31. I love this home! I’m also reading Marie Kondo and my first thought was she would have something to say about the books. But I love it.

    I love the spacious look of all white. FWIW, my 5 year old insists my husband and I have a similar, alternating songs and stories bedtime routine!

  32. How does she keep the floors scuff free?

  33. What projector does she use?

  34. It’s so fascinating getting peeks into other peoples’ homes! I like the minimalist look of some of the rooms. I too like white. I feel like they use space really well.

  35. That’s a pretty cool place to live … but your own apartment was the one I wanted to move into!

  36. The apartment isn’t my usual style but Tina is so sweet and fun, she totally won me over!

    (Jo, any chance you could persuade your friend Courtney to do a one-off London version for this series…? I’m instagram obsessed with her lovely style and am DYING to see photos of her new place. Yep, you said it – total stalker.)

  37. SR says...

    This apartment is everything! A lot of white has such a calming and positive effect… I was so hoping to see that bathroom…

  38. Wow – small world – she used to take the same yoga class as I did
    in Dumbo…..

  39. That tiny green booster chair in the living room is perfect, and I’m so glad you linked to others. It’s hard to find seating for littles that isn’t over the top. So cute!

  40. I love her blog so much (seriously, how does she find so many cool things?!?) I’m not surprised to find I love her apartment as well. So fresh and fun feeling! She seriously seems like the coolest.

  41. There is definitely a common theme with the house tours presented on your site. White walls, lots of color in the decor, and somewhat quirky! I love seeing them. I grew up in the South and there is definitely a diversion of style influences. Mostly here the decor is older, rich colors… It would be interesting to see varying approaches to home design on your site :)

  42. What a beautiful, lively, light-filled space!

  43. Ahh! Tina is so inspiring and I’ve always wanted to see her home. It did not disappoint!

  44. I’m all about the clean white space with pops of colour! Thanks for sharing this Jo! My boyfriend and I are big fans of Tina (she’s directly inspired a new project/business venture we’re working on together) and I follow her on Instagram where you see the occasional glimpse of her living room, so it was really wonderful to see the rest of her family’s home!

  45. Breathless!!! LOVE LOVE all the photos. Would love to see one of the bathroom too! Love their view! Ahhh NYC = home to me = LOVE! Love all the white… clean but full of life. Thanks for sharing!

  46. That poop sign cracked me up!! Any chance you know where that Charlie Brown bag is from (that’s hanging on one of the bedroom doors)?

  47. Gorgeously exemplifies 2015 but how the heck do the kids not knock down the book stacks?!?!

  48. Have loved the SwissMiss for years and her home is certainly what I would expect. Can’t believe she’s in the U.S. and now I’m in Switzerland…xo

  49. No bathroom photo?! I was dying to see how that window turned out…

    And holy mackerel, what a view. Lovely space.

  50. Light and bright, beautiful and kid friendly. Win Win!

  51. That tiny green chair is my favorite part. Such a lovely home, a great combination of whimsy and grown up style.

    Scribsfarm.blogspot.com

  52. Oh my gosh that “POOP” sign. So perfect. Love Tina and this gorgeous space – thanks for sharing! xox

  53. So bright, beautiful and kid friendly! Love the city vibe, edited and clean but full of life. Now inspired to edit down in my own home…thanks!

    http://www.justabitreally.com

  54. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier apartment! Love the books everywhere and my favorite thing ever is the giraffe in the bedroom! <3 So precious!

    http://www.theteafortwo.com