Design

A Cabin Apartment

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

When Ryan (left) met Alan, she felt like she had found her match. The social worker and freelance director share a love of camping, space and national parks — and a whimsical aesthetic. Now married with an eight-month-old daughter and a cat named Mouse, the couple lives in a Brooklyn apartment they’ve transformed into a cabin-like home worthy of a Wes Anderson movie. Take a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

National Parks map: Schoolhouse Electric. Trees on the wall: Dartbrook Rustic Goods. Sofa: vintage Paul McCobb. Coffee table: vintage Lane. Paint: BEHR

How did this cabin vibe come about?
Ryan: We almost bought a cabin in Pennsylvania, but it fell through. So when we moved here, we started getting more and more cabin-y.
Alan: We’re really into national parks. One of the first big trips we did was to Yosemite, and we took our daughter Sally to the Grand Canyon when she was four months old.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Toy basket: Land of Nod. Tree stump: Land of Nod. Credenza: vintage.

How did you begin creating that woodsy aesthetic?
Alan: We’re pretty conscious of color when we decorate — lots of teals, greens, browns and mustards. Our apartment has an overall color palette and then each room has its own variation.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Paintings: Scott C. Papier-mâché fox: Dartbrook Rustic Goods.

How do you guys like to unwind?
Ryan: We went through a big Moscow Mule phase after we got some Moscow Mule cups. It’s the drink we like making for guests.
Alan: We really like having friends over for dinner and game nights. But, in general, Ryan is a morning person and I’m a night owl. Ryan is so notorious for falling asleep early, her friends took pictures and started a Tumblr called “Ryan Sleeps Around.”

KITCHEN

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Poster: NASA. Vase: Heath. Bag: Madewell. Paint: BEHR

Where do you find your artwork?
Alan: One night, while awake at 2 a.m., I saw online that NASA was introducing these retro-feeling space tourism posters. I was like, “Oh god, I’ve gotta buy this, but I don’t know if Ryan will like it or not.” And the next morning, she was like, “Yeah, duh, I love it!” Now all the awesome posters are free to download.

DINING NOOK

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Table and chair: Vintage Paul McCobb. Vase: Heath Mint high chair: Baby Bjorn. Coat: Hudson’s Bay. Painting: by Alan.

What’s the story behind this wallpaper?
Alan: Our friend Scott Campbell is an illustrator, so we took some of his lumberjack and hot tub characters and made custom wallpaper through Spoonflower. We chose a blue background, so this dining nook would feel separate from the living room.

I spy a Hudson’s Bay coat.
Alan: Ryan has this Hudson’s Bay fetish. We actually used a Hudson’s Bay blanket for the chuppah at our wedding.
Ryan: He’s right. I have a blanket, the coat, a weekender bag, playing cards and an umbrella. Sally has onesies and mittens; we also have matching backpacks. The phase is almost over, though; it’s probably tapped out.

MASTER BEDROOM

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Where do you guys hang out most at home?
Ryan: We hang out in bed on Saturday mornings. Sally is always in a sweet mood. Alan plays the ukulele, which Sally loves. He’ll sing everything from The Cure to The Rainbow Connection in Kermit’s voice.
Alan: I played all sorts of instruments growing up (drums, bass, guitar, keyboard), but about five years ago I got a ukulele and never looked back. It’s the perfect instrument: It’s totally portable, doesn’t bug your neighbors, and has just about the most happy-go-lucky sound you’ll ever hear. I would love to teach Sally and Ryan someday. In the 50s it used to be a popular first instrument for kids and I’m pretty sure it’s making a comeback. It sounds much better than the recorder, that’s for sure.

Did you DIY the wood wall?
Alan: Yes, it was one of the first things we did when we moved in. We found the wood at a building materials store, and our friend Ryan came over with a saw and nail gun. We put it up in a day; it was surprisingly easy.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Fireplace: flea market find. Typewriter: vintage IBM Selectric. Rug: Overstock.com. Trunk: vintage. Bed frame: West Elm. Blanket: Pendleton. Throw: Hudson’s Bay. Paint: BEHR

What’s your daughter’s favorite thing about the place?
Ryan: Definitely the papier-mâché polar bear. Sally was a newborn, she was obsessed with it. She just stared at it all day. We found it in Austin, when were were there for a friend’s wedding. We love buying knickknacks when we travel. We’re totally those people that hit the gift shop before the main attraction.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Hawaii National Park photo: bought at Volcanoes National Park. Desk: West Elm. Chair: vintage Nelson. Fireplace: from a flea market, similar.

Do you turn on this faux fireplace a lot?
Alan: Yes, we put the logs on every night when we go to sleep, and it’s a perfect night light.
Ryan: I love that it flickers.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Shelf: by Alan. TV: 50s vintage; Alan put a flat screen TV inside. Faux sheepskin rug: IKEA. Moccasins: Minnetonka.

Do you have any insider tips for national parks?
Ryan: Pick up a National Parks Passport. Every national park has a stamp or two at the visitor’s center. We also like staying inside the park if possible. There are some fun old-timey lodges that haven’t changed in years, which really complete the experience.

What about closer to home?
Alan: We also like to go out of town on weekend getaways. We discovered Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge in the Catskills.
Ryan: They have sweet little one-bedroom cabins. Another weird but great place to take kids is Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. It’s huge and has all these nooks and crannies.

HALLWAY

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Harrises sign and ketubah made by Alan for their wedding. (Check out their wedding photo!)

How did you guys meet?
Ryan: We met on OkCupid. Alan asked me out for a drink, but I was in San Francisco for a work conference. He said, “That’s funny because I’m going to be in San Francisco visiting my parents.” I was like, “Want to meet up?” So our first date was super fun because we were discovering a new city together. We went to one of those awesome hole-in-the-wall burrito places in the Mission.

It’s amazing how similar your aesthetic is.
Ryan: We’re basically the same person. We just really like each other.
Alan: We wear our hearts on our sleeves, which is a nice thing for a marriage.

NURSERY

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Crib: IKEA. Sheet: Land of Nod. Bear rug: Land of Nod. Paper Mache Mobile: Land of Nod.

Tell us about this awesome mountain mural.
Alan: We saw a poster on Etsy with a mountain background that we loved, so I painted similar mountains onto the wall. The process was kind of crazy: I mapped it out on Photoshop. I plotted out the points on the mountains mathematically and took thumbtacks and yarn and taped it all. We went to Home Depot and found the paint, and did it up!

harris-house-tour-brooklyn-17

Changing table: IKEA. Shelves: handmade. Dresser: West Elm. Nightlight: Land of Nod. Bear Print: Colter Jackson.

How did you choose Sally’s name?
Ryan: Our daughter’s name is Sally Harris. We thought it sounded like a sweet girl-next-door name, and a little 60s. We’re also into space, and Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.
Alan: She’s partly named after Sally Kimball in Encyclopedia Brown.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Your home feels straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Were you inspired by him?
Alan: I’m a commercial director, and it’s fair to say Wes Anderson has had an influence on my style, but so has Christopher Guest, John Hughes, Mike Nichols and a handful of other film directors. Yet I think our decor style is more about Ryan and my gravitating to playfulness in design. One thing I love about our apartment is the fact that there are characters all over. From a cartoon bearskin rug to wooden figurines, everywhere you turn there are eyeballs looking in various directions. I like that Sally is growing up in a world that sparks imagination.

Prospect Heights cabin apartment

Thank you so much, Alan, Ryan and Sally!

P.S. More home tours, including a beautiful house in San Francisco and a New Hampshire cottage.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Anita says...

    I love these house tours, and cupofjo in general.

    I live in the north of England, so these are probably daft questions…

    Are curtains not a thing in America? Here we draw the curtains to keep the heat in as soon as night falls, our heating bills are very expensive. I notice all of your house tours show large single pane windows with no visible coverings.

    Are white walls the norm?

  2. Jennifer says...

    That nursery is the bomb. Most are too saccharine sweet for me – this one is just right!

  3. Kelly says...

    I absolutely love their style. What a talented family. The hand painted mural, and beautiful homemade shelving are incredible!

  4. angela says...

    love the US parks National Park Map!!! (love everything, beautiful home!!) Can I ask, where did you find the map? Thanks for sharing, perfect post for this time of year.

    • Lauren says...

      I believe Uncommon Goods sells them.

    • Ryan Harris says...

      We got this map at Schoolhouse Electric. They have lots of awesome stuff!

  5. natasha says...

    This is a delight!

  6. Ev says...

    Also my friend’s parents house is so cool. I never thought of it until today, but it’d make a great tour. My friend is @jollyandbright on IG.

  7. Ev says...

    This reminded me of a house tour that would’ve been in Anthology Magazine (RIP) Great stuff!

  8. Annabelle says...

    Source for the living room rug??

  9. steph says...

    This is one of the cutest best home tours yet. Love the national parks theme. I’ve been eyeing that parks poster from Schoolhouse, love it so much!

  10. Jenny says...

    Such a fun house tour! I really enjoy them all, but this one is one of my favorites. Such personality and thoughtfulness. Great interview and pictures, too!

    Ps- the comments in this thread really add to the charm of the post as well! Love all the behind the scenes info 😀

  11. I really enjoyed this home! And I can’t pass up a Hudson Bay blanket either.

    In response to a previous comment about these photos being staged…

    I have two boys under 2.5 and there are times when my house is absolute chaos. But, as someone who appreciates organization and design walking hand in hand with chaos and fun, I feel like these photos are completely reasonable. There times when my house is in a wreck and there are glorious moments when I have time to tidy up and I am able to, yes, light a candle on a table to make my house smell less like dirty diapers and spit up, make a cocktail, and then sit on the floor and play with my kids as God intended–slightly buzzed (just kidding….sort of).

    Let’s support each other for those small moments of having our shit together–if even for just three hours of a photo shoot.

    Love this blog and the community of women it has created and supports.

    https://fuzzyandcheese.squarespace.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “…and play with my kids as God intended–slightly buzzed” = hahahaha

  12. Izzy says...

    Beautiful home and love the decor, especially the fox rug in the kid’s room. BUT, I have to laugh at the sparse changing table–there is no way that it’s actually functional!

  13. I really appreciate your responses detailing the behind-the-scenes work. You make it look so easy!

  14. This is awesome. I love seeing so many people’s personalities through their homes all across the world – thanks so much for these features! I always take so much away from them and try to incorporate tiny things into our little Melbourne apartment. Have the best week! X

  15. Anna says...

    I can’t stop looking at these pictures! I love everything about this home!

  16. You should do a home tour of my sister and brother in laws apartment! They live in a studio but have made it such a cozy space. They live in Portland, or. Some pics are on her Instagram: @roxsincich.

    And here is a link to her blog! http://lived–in.blogspot.com

    She is the best!

    • P.s. Loved this tour! Such a cute house!

  17. They sound so, so fun. I love how playful and whimsical their home is! This was a joy to read and get a peek inside.

  18. Liz says...

    I wonder if it’s possible I saw you, Ryan, maybe on the L about a week or two ago in your Hudson Bay coat. I said, “I like your coat!” Maybe it wasn’t you, but anyway the first Christmas gift I got my transplanted Canadian husband was a HB blanket. Love that stuff. :) Great apartment and what a sweet bebe.

    • Ryan Harris says...

      Ha! That was me on the subway! The HB blanket is a great gift. It was the first big gift my husband gave me back when we were dating. I had always wanted one, but didn’t they weren’t cheap. It triggered a whole obsession though!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what a small world!!

  19. Cara says...

    How fun is this place! Love seeing other families’ creativity shine.

  20. Love the design style in this apartment. Thank you for introducing me to the Nasa posters. I see one of these in my future. Lots of great items and links to check out too.

  21. Kate says...

    These guys are so goofy and cute and down to earth! Love it!

  22. Sav says...

    What a precious family. Very talented.

  23. Kelly says...

    I love everything about this. The mountain mural is outrageously wonderful! What a lucky little girl that Sally is! I feel like Alan and Ryan are crazy cool and their space reflects that. It strikes me as a place they would walk into and just feel so warm, cozy, and ‘at home’ which is exactly how home should feel. As a Canadian, I also have to say to Ryan to keep lovin’ on everything Hudson’s Bay :)

  24. Gigi says...

    I love this post! As an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, I am inspired by how they brought in the theme of our National Parks into their home. And I am very grateful for their many cool tips on decorating, including on the free NASA poster designs!

  25. Lucy says...

    Oh my gosh, I love this apartment so much!

    Ukuleles are definitely taking over recorders in NZ. Also far easier to share, don’t have to have one for each kid.

  26. Mara says...

    Quite possibly the most Brooklyn apartment EVER, haha. And I obviously love it!

  27. Alexandra says...

    I would love if Cup of Jo also did a video whenever they feature apartments! I think that would give readers an even greater sense of the space (and also of the owners’ personalities :)).

    • Lucy says...

      Agree! Although I think the people send in their photos/answers via email, but the ones in New York could work!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, haha, this makes me want to do a behind-the-scenes post! we put so much work into these; it would be a dream come true if people could just email photos and answers ;)

      for example, in case it’s interesting to hear: for this house tour, i scouted the couple (by spending lots of time going down rabbit holes on Instagram, forever and always, and taking copious notes, which is a way we find a lot of cool people), then reached out to see if they’d be interested in doing a tour (and pitched our site to them by telling them about us, explaining our traffic and reach, reassuring them that it would be an easy and quick process on their end). then i arranged the shoot with a photographer and her agent (and negotiated a rate) and figured out a good day/time for everyone, which had to be rescheduled once or twice over the next couple months for the homeowners, and then went to the shoot with the photographer for 3-4 hours on a Sunday. i interviewed the (awesome) couple in person and afterward sent them many emails with follow-up questions. we carefully chose our favorite photo selects from the overall group that the photographer had shot, and i got the home owners’ approval on our final photos, per their request. then i condensed and edited the interview, which takes hours. megan put the final photos into a draft post, organized the text, and found links for all the furniture sources. then we read it over and over and tweaked it until it felt just right. finally, we did final formatting on the post in wordpress in terms of SEO and alternate titling/captions. then, today, we published! :)

      it’s a really fun process, especially with amazing people like alan and ryan, but definitely a lot of work!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS a video is a GREAT idea! we would love to do that sometimes, if the various home owners are up for it. i always think sharing a floor plan would be awesome, but we don’t do that because of privacy issues for each family. xoxo

    • Lena says...

      Fascinating to get a glimpse behind the scenes Joanna! I would be very interested in a post entirely on what it takes to create this amazing blog of yours.

    • Katharine says...

      Joanna I love that you went into all the work behind this post!

    • Lindsay says...

      Wow, that’s an amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse into your work Jo! After I read this amazing post and the comment section last night I mentioned to my partner that the work you do must be immense because you make it look so darn put-together and effortless-seeming. Thank you for all the work your team does!! And thank you to people like the Harris’ who will gift us all with a glimpse into their beautiful and unique lives!

    • Love the behind the scenes look, Jo! Does anyone ever approach you about being featured?

  28. This is the coolest house tour I’ve ever seen! So quirky, so lovely, so home-like and so unique! Thanks for sharing, I got lots of inspiration from this one.

    http://pollyrowan.com/

  29. KJ says...

    I’m a social worker with a cat named Mouse!

  30. Joy says...

    I also immediately scouted the fireplace at Walmart! This whole tour is so cool!! We are also taking our kids to national parks – every park has a junior ranger program and I sew their patches on their fleece jackets when we get home. We also put a bear push pin into each one we’ve been to on our national park map. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring home – I just love it.

  31. Bernadette says...

    Love the HBC accents! Lovely!!

  32. Elisabeth says...

    I LOVE everything about this place!!!!

  33. Such a sweet home. I love those who are bold to make their home, theirs.
    A cat named mouse lol!

  34. Love this! Our family room is done in a camp theme (plaid Pendleton blankets, old family photos from summers spent camping, vintage lanterns, and so on). Our bathroom has a space theme (it’s painted navy blue with photos of the first mom in space, the moon, and JFK inspecting a rocket at NASA). Definitely kindred spirits!

  35. That nursery is fantastic! I love how they embraced the cabin vibe, but also make it so hip and cool. A hipsters dream home! Adorable profile!

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  36. ginger m. says...

    I too (or should I say three) have a cat named mouse….and sadly, I thought I was fairly original. And by the way…she’s gray.

  37. Brittany says...

    This one was so fun! Also, I second going to Grounds for Sculpture! My partner is from south/central NJ. Whenever we go up for Christmas we struggle to fill our time when not visiting family. It was such a unique and fun place to visit when we were in NJ last. Will definitely go again!

  38. Jamie says...

    I really love this one. I mean sure, you can tell it’s an apartment and not a real cabin. Would describe it as whimsical. Not something I’d really aim to copy myself (although there are certain aspects I would) but it’s neat to see people’s personal style, just like in outfit posts. Really cool. Love the mural.

  39. Allison says...

    That wood wall in the bedroom is dope.

  40. Mouse says...

    I too have a cat named Mouse……:)

  41. Maggie says...

    This is the best!! “One thing I love about our apartment is the fact that there are characters all over. From a cartoon bearskin rug to wooden figurines, everywhere you turn there are eyeballs looking in various directions. I like that Sally is growing up in a world that sparks imagination.”

  42. NHA says...

    This couple is so cool – just a complete and utter lack of pretension. And their house is so neat! I really loved this house tour and echo the other readers who genuinely appreciated this departure from the norm. It’s so nice to indulge in whimsy, particularly nowadays.

  43. a bit kitschy for me, but super cool. how do you pick the folks you feature?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question!

      some people we feature are friends, and others we find through instagram, scouting, etc. for these guys, i was just going down instagram rabbit holes one night and stumbled upon their amazing wedding photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/47hdeABd3X/ after that, i saw some instagram snaps of their house and reached out about doing a tour :)

  44. Emily M. says...

    Such refreshingly fascinating people! I love the spark for life that comes through. Sally is going to have a magical childhood!

    Emily M.

  45. tunie says...

    Create a theme-based world based upon what is most relaxing/fun to you – what a creative antidote for the intensity of NYC, or anywhere!

  46. Robin says...

    My favorite of this series, they seem so down to earth and whimsical. I’m a Colorado girl, so I especially love the aesthetic. Even cooler that they stick with what they love, in Brooklyn!

  47. jen says...

    Oh, that bedroom! Perfect. And thanks for the link to the jet propulsion lab–just got a poster for hubby for xmas! Love Cup of Jo!

  48. Amanda says...

    I LOVE this tour! Everything is perfect! 👌🏼

  49. lovely couple. lovely home. love the sentiment that they both just really like each other. here’s wishing them many more years of that! :)

  50. Megan says...

    Oh my gosh-such an impossibly cute family- cant handle it!

  51. Jess says...

    What about the small cardboard animals on the dresser and the stuffed animals with the Pendleton pattern? Thanks!

  52. Abesha1 says...

    “Cabin?” I don’t see it.

    It’s a lovely home with interesting touches, for sure, but to me, it really is not very different from a lot of previous homes you’ve featured.

  53. Bethany says...

    This is the best home tour you’ve done. There were a string of them that looked beautiful but also similar (white walls, plants, mid-century vibe). Something about this home is something I haven’t seen before, inspiring and exciting, overflowing with whimsy. I love that it’s like an outdoors getaway inside the city. Bravo, 5 stars.

    • Janine says...

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes the home tours blend together due to the similar aesthetic, but this one popped right off the screen. I loved the whimsical aspects and the every little piece of artwork.

  54. Natalie Brennan says...

    omg i’m in love with them! i want them to be my parents. what a fun place/way to grow up!

  55. Laura says...

    I want their coffee table!

  56. This is my favorite house tour so far! I love the vintage pieces, the bedroom wall color, and most of all the space travel poster. And that new-TV-inside-the-old-TV <3

    As much as I love the white walls/minimal decor/wood floor look, it's great seeing a home with a totally different aesthetic!

    • t says...

      My favorite too! The spaces are so fun and creative but also very well designed. Love it!

  57. Cynthia says...

    I fell in love with the fox head and polar bear head. It looks like the bear is looking in through a hole in the wall. Sally’s room will grow with her and I like the framed bear picture on her dresser. The bear has such a sweet expression. I like this series, because I get ideas for my own home.

  58. RP says...

    The fireplace is amazing! I would love a source (or DIY instructions) for that!

  59. Jules says...

    Wow, these people have the most well-defined aesthetic I’ve ever seen. Wonder if their daughter will be into it or rebel…

  60. merri says...

    Unbelievable. I am blown away by the strength of this theme and execution of design. SO COOL.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      no kidding!!! they really live that life! it’s so awesome.

  61. Christina says...

    I seriously LOVE house tours on Cup of Jo. I reference old ones often! BUT, tell me how these people have kids? I realize this is a staged photo shoot, but I’m oodling at all her knick knacks and beautiful things. She has a candle on her coffee table. Like woah. She must be supermom.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sally is only eight months, so not too mobile yet :) i’m sure they’ll rearrange a little once she’s up and at ’em :)

    • Sade says...

      While I thought the home was lovely, the staged-ness of it all was really made clear by the presence of a baby…two grown adults could live like that in theory. I couldn’t really relate I’m afraid.

      (Btw I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stuff in the comments)

  62. Lindsay says...

    My partner and I truly just fell in love with the Harris family. Definitely my favourite house tour yet!! Thanks for allowing us a glimpse into your beautiful and inspiring life.

  63. Danielle says...

    The handmade shelves are gorgeous!

  64. cooper says...

    My favorite college professor was named Sally Harris! As a newlywed, she and her husband toured Europe in an old VW bus. It’s a great name!

  65. karina says...

    What a fun place!
    And I love the faux fireplace…flea markets are the best.
    I wish someone would make ones like that one though.

  66. Amy says...

    This was really fun to read. The thing I love most about this series is that while I never identify entirely with any one home tour, there are always parts of people’s homes where I say to myself, “Oh! Yeah, that’s awesome.” And then I bookmark the item for myself, the apartment, or a as a gift. It’s great.

  67. ellie says...

    This is another home post where I absolutely cannot tell the layout of the apartment/how big it is. They are so creative though! Where in Brooklyn do they live?

    • Megan Cahn says...

      They live in Prospect Heights :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so sorry, ellie, we will work on making it more clear how the homes are laid out! their home was a small two-bedroom apartment. there was a galley kitchen, a living room (with the dining nook along one wall), and then both bedrooms were off the living room. xoxo

    • ellie says...

      thank you megan and joanna!! sorry that first comment came off a little harsher than i realized. <3 the home tours

  68. Ryan says...

    Oh! I am so excited to see another woman named Ryan :)

    • I went to college with a girl named Ryan! :)

    • Brianna says...

      I went to high school with a girl named Ryann.

    • I went to school with a girl named Ryan Ryan! She was named Ryan, her parents divorced, her mom remarried a man whose last name was Ryan, and he adopted her!

    • Ryan says...

      I know there are a lot of us out there, but it’s always fun to find one. :)

  69. Lesley says...

    Love the paint in the nursery! Super cool idea that isn’t overly cutesy.

  70. Megan says...

    Can I ask where Ryan and Alan found the faux fireplace? Love it!