Last August, we moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and we quickly fell in love with our new neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. There’s a bakery and a cheese shop and a local pizzeria, and little old Italian ladies will sit on their stoops and chat with us—or call out grandmotherly advice like, “Your baby should be wearing socks!” I love how it feels like a quirky small town. So, I’m excited to share a few photos of our place, if you’d like to see…
We live in a brownstone building, which is split into four different apartments. Here’s our floor plan, if you’re interested! (I always like to see how spaces connect.)
In our apartment, the kitchen, dining room and living room all comprise one big open space. We spend 99% of our time together here—cooking meals, eating dinner, reading books, watching TV, playing games. Whenever we watch House Hunters, I notice that people always request an “open concept” home, and now I totally get that.
When we moved in, we debated shaking things up and painting the main room pale gray or dark blue, but a reader’s comment on this post convinced us to stick with white: She said that there’s a reason why white walls are so common in Scandinavian countries, and it’s because white cheers up the gloomy dark days of winter. Good point!
My desk is in the living room, so sometimes I’ll work here in the evenings, or, equally often, the desk will be taken over by Toby’s Peppa Pig dollhouse and lots of tiny, carefully placed furniture. :)
Campaign-style desk: eBay. Hollywood photograph: Whisper Editions. Mobile: The Ark.
Also, we have a balcony off the living room, which is great in the warmer months. We’ve always dreamed of having a backyard, and a balcony is an awesome first step! Another bonus is that our balcony overlooks our friend Linsey’s kitchen windows, so the kids will shout to each other and have excited (mostly nonsensical) conversations across the gardens.
TV console: Room & Board. New York poster: My Guide To. Flower photograph: Kari Herer.
Years ago, we got this trusty vintage console, and our genius friend Jenny Komenda spray painted it yellow. It’s such a great example of how paint can transform things. It’s still one of my favorite pieces. It’s now home to Alex’s collection of photo books (he has read every rock-and-roll photo book known to man).
Branch floor lamp: Canvas. Car print: Hugo Guinness.
A typical moment with the boys, ha! On weekends, we often hang out and play guitars in the living room. Alex made a playlist of Beach Boys, Belle & Sebastian and Stevie Wonder, and the boys strum their toy guitars along with it. It’s adorable and NOISY.
Deer bed print: Katherine Wolkoff. Wall lamps: One Forty Three. Sofa: Design Within Reach. Rug: ABC Home.
When we first saw the apartment, I actually didn’t like that the kitchen was right in the living room. It felt crammed together. But now it’s one of my favorite things about our house. It’s great to be able to pack school lunches, cook pasta, pour wine, etc. without having to leave the main hang-out space. It’s funny how you can’t always predict what you’re going to like (or not) until you try it out.
Also, while these photos show the house tidy, needless to say, it’s often a wreck. My mom recently told me how she thought of her house as “breathing in and breathing out,” as we kids made messes throughout the day and then it got cleaned up at night. I feel the same way: I cherish that moment after the kids are in bed, when we can tidy up, light a candle and just chill. Peace at last.
Bookcase: The Container Store. High chair: Stokke.
We wanted to create a cozy bedroom, and when I saw Victoria’s gray bedroom, I was inspired. So we went with Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray and crossed our fingers. You never know with paint (will it be cozy or cave-like?), but we loved the way it turned out.
One major difference about Brooklyn vs. Manhattan is how generally quiet this neighborhood is. In the West Village, we slept with ear plugs and two noise machines, but now we can hear a pin drop in this apartment, even though our bedroom faces the street. It’s such a joy!
This dresser displays things that are dear to us—photos of our sons, and the loveliest statue, who is said to be a protector of mothers and children. (It was a sweet gift from Kate Suddes, the writer of this beautiful essay.)
Buffalo print: Animal Print Shop. Tufted headboard: Jenny Komenda (tutorial here). Long Josef Frank pillow: We bought the fabric and Jenny had it sewn. Bedside tables: Vintage. Rug: Vintage. Black dresser: Vintage. Gold lamp: Gallivanting Girls. Black-out blinds: Decorview.
We wrote about our nursery inspiration last month, and I’m so happy that Anton’s room now feels like a warm and welcoming space for him. We hung a vintage map above the crib (inspired by Linsey) and then put animal prints in the corner to create a little reading nook.
Anton sleeps happily in his crib, but Toby is forever asking if Anton can sleep in his bed with him. So we’re considering letting the boys try sleeping in Toby’s double bed together (Anton on the wall side, of course!) and see how it goes. Would be so sweet if it worked out!
On the other side of his room are IKEA shelves, plus a little art area. Anton can spend ages drawing and coloring, although Toby will invariably interrupt by pretending to be a waiter and taking his dinner order. :)
Crib: Oeuf. Map: Vintage, from eBay. Bronze floor lamp: Land of Nod. Gold animal prints: Sycamore Street Press. Glider: Crate & Barrel. White side table: West Elm. Shelves: IKEA. Shibori pillow: Rebecca Atwood. Art desk and chairs: Pkolino. Sconce: Schoolhouse Electric. Dresser: West Elm. Black-out blinds: Decorview. Rug: Vintage. (And Amber Interiors also has nice rugs, if you’re in the market.)
For Toby’s room, we also wanted to experiment with color, so we went with Benjamin Moore Symphony Blue (again, with fingers crossed) and Toby loves it. It’s a great rich blue without being too dark or too bright.
He’s really into books these days, and we’ve been reading slightly longer books, like Little Bear’s Friend and Frog & Toad and Best Friends for Frances. He’s also really into Search & Find. We walk over to the neighborhood public library down the block to get books out every week or so.
We’re so happy to have found this apartment—after two years of searching!—and already feel very at home here. We can even imagine the boys being teenagers here. (A crazy thought.)
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you like it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments! xoxo
Deer print: Animal Print Shop. Bookcase: Oeuf. Pendant light: Design Within Reach. Flokati rug: Serena & Lily. Whale print: Etsy. Edison bulb lamp: Schoolhouse Electric. Toy red piano: Land of Nod. Play kitchen: Land of Nod. Black-out blinds: Decorview.
P.S. More house tours, including 15 tips for small spaces and a rainbow bookcase.
(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling by Kate Jordan. And, of course, thank you to Jenny Komenda, Emily Henderson and Will Saks, who have helped us make design decisions through the years)