Design

Our Old Apartment Was Transformed by My Brazilian Friend

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

What if a friend moved into your home and completely redecorated? That basically happened with us! Last year, our beloved former apartment became available for rent, and my friend Gisela Gueiros ended up moving in with her husband and twin boys. Full of plants and color, the space now feels really different. Here, the lovely Gisela talks about raising twins, hanging art and entertaining like a Brazilian…

LIVING AREA

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Sofa: Restoration Hardware. Leather chair: Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Coffee table: Blu Dot. Rug: Aelfie, similar.

On moving countries: I arrived in New York City eleven years ago, to get my master’s degree in art history. My English was very rusty, but I was always eager to communicate, never embarrassed. I probably should have been embarrassed! When I met my now-husband Tom at a karaoke bar, it’s a miracle that we managed to have a conversation. He didn’t speak Portuguese back then, but now he understands everything, so I can’t talk shit about him when I’m talking with my mom on the phone.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

White ceramics on credenza: by Gisela. Red and white armchair: hand-me-down from mother. Floor lamp: vintage, similar.

On handmade ceramics: Every Sunday, I go to a three-hour ceramics class, and it takes me to another place. I’m addicted to my phone, but you can’t touch your phone while working with clay. It’s very grounding to work with your hands; you’re touching earth and matter. It also helps you deal with frustration — something cracks and you’re like, oh, those eight hours got lost, but maybe you learned something and that’s enough. I recommend that everyone tries one. I also like Mociun ceramics.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Plant stand: vintage ironing board.

On a Brazilian vibe: Friends come to my place and say, oh, the plants make me feel like I’m in a Brazilian apartment. There’s definitely a tropical vibe. My grandmother taught me to treat them like pets: ‘Do you see how happy they are when we water them?’ I don’t want to be too cheesy, but if you live with them every day, it’s like they each have a personality. When we moved apartments, I was like, how are the plants going to deal with change?

On plants for beginners: A few easy ones to try are this ivy, the snake plant and the Monstera family.

KITCHEN/DINING AREA

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Shelf unit: Crate & Barrel. Storage bins: Crate & Barrel. Rugs: Hand-me-down from mother.

On throwing parties: We love to host! People make your home vibrant. Even the day after a party, the house feels better. We’ll do a Brazilian cheese bread — it’s a piece of paradise. Plus, cold rosé wine. Tom’s guacamole. Lots of candles. And one trick: If the host sits on the floor, everybody immediately feels more comfortable. I always end up lounging on the rug, nibbling snacks!

On late nights: In Brazil, parties never have a time to be over. Never. It’s a concept that doesn’t exist. If a party lasts long, it’s a good party; if it doesn’t, it’s not a good party. In the mind of a Brazilian, you’re like, oh, it wasn’t that fun, otherwise you couldn’t leave.

Dining table: ABC Carpet and Home, similar. Chairs: Design Within Reach. Placemats: Ikea.

On hanging art: You can choose themes when you’re hanging artwork around your home. For our apartment, over the sofa, it’s all neutral works on paper. Over the credenza, we hung painted portraits. For our dining table, I wanted paintings that had a landscape feel. Even if the theme only makes sense to you, it feels good.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Coat rack: Eames.

On the perfect height: Many people hang things too high or too low. The trick is that the middle of the artwork should be 60″ off the floor — which is the eye level of the average person.

MASTER BEDROOM

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Bed: similar. Duvet: Roberta Roller Rabbit. Sheets: Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen. Dresser: Pottery Barn. Nightstand: Urban Outfitters, similar. Lamp: Jieldé. Sculptural lamp: Townsend Design. Rug: similar.

On a warm glow: Lighting can change the whole mood of a room. When we want to feel cozy, we’ll turn on every lamp in our apartment except the overheads, and every switch has dimmers.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

On a celebrity crush: We watch shows on a laptop in bed. I recently enjoyed Love. I have a crush on Paul Rust, the nerdiest of the nerds. This clip explains why. Awwww, he’s so nerdy and so cute, I would marry him.

BOYS’ ROOM

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Bunk bed: Ikea. Chair: Ikea, reupholstered. Taxi pillow: Jonathan Adler. Blue ottoman: Serena & Lily. Rug: Safavieh. X-ray prints (of a soccer ball and baseball glove): Steve Miller.

On parenting twins: It’s a magical relationship to witness. I was like, do you want to each have your room? And they were like, why would we do that? Before they turned four, though, there were moments that were so hard. When they were toddlers, Tom was traveling, so I had a weekend alone with them. They were all over the place. I was so tired that I remember fantasizing about leaving them at home and walking around the block. I needed a break so badly. And then I looked around and was like, oh, no, they might die. So, I didn’t do it.

On Ikea magic: This Ikea armchair had a weird pattern, so I got it reupholstered with an old Mexican blanket. All three of us pile on to read at night — one on top of the other! And the bunk bed is from Ikea. Fred and Otto constantly draw and put stickers on it. That’s the beauty of an Ikea bed.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Wooden wall shelves: built by Thomas. Animal coat rack: All Lovely Stuff.

On different personalities: We try hard to respect their personalities. Otto is taking soccer, and Fred is taking ceramics. Also, little things: we always have two cakes for their birthdays. And we never refer to them as ‘the twins,’ because we think of them as two separate people.

Gisela Gueiros Brooklyn Home Tour

Piano: similar. Tennis poster: Dan Shapiro.

On playful music: Both boys take piano lessons. Since it’s an electric piano, you can turn it into drumming sounds or water sounds, so of course that’s what they do. So, you never actually hear the piano. It’s always ‘wah wah wah.’

HOME OFFICE

Sofa bed: CB2. Shelving unit: Ikea. Side table: Ikea. Striped pillow: from Brazil, similar.

On working in the art world: As an art curator and educator, I think art isn’t just beautiful but is also a great excuse to open up about stuff we can’t always talk about. In my guided tours, I often end up talking about seemingly inappropriate topics — like sexuality or mortality — which become totally acceptable when approached through art.

On opening your mind: I love a story that artist Alex Katz told the Telegraph about Cézanne. He went to an exhibition of the French artist and thought ‘the guy couldn’t paint, it’s terrible.’ Then he got on a train in the south of France, and all he could see were Cézanne’s landscapes. Cézanne’s strong vision completely took over. Art changes the way we see and understand the world.

Thank you so much, Gisela! Above is the floorplan, and here are photos of the apartment when we lived there, if you’d like to see the difference. (Anton’s nursery = their master bedroom; Toby’s bedroom = the boys’ bedroom; our master bedroom = their home office.)

P.S. More house tours, including my twin sister’s home makeover and Stella’s 175-square-foot studio.

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

  1. Ras says...

    I’d love to see Gisela featured in my Beauty Uniform, her style seems so vibrant and effortless!

  2. Riz says...

    So where do you live now Joanna? Are we seeing a new house tour soon? :) Love all of your homes!

  3. Brooke says...

    I want to be friends with Gisela! She is so hilarious!

  4. abbie says...

    I loved this post (I love all the home tours)-Gisela, you & your home are beautiful! ❤️

    I love all of your color and art. Could you tell me about the bird/paper airplane-ish piece on the wall in your bedroom? I want it for my home! xo

  5. Mali says...

    Is that a sprouted coconut she has on the table? That’s so cool! How do you do that? This a beautiful apartment all around, but I’m definitely into the coconut (if that’s what it is)!

    • Yes, it is a coconut! Kate Jordan gave it to me in February and it’s been happy ever since :) Now that it is warm outside, I put it in the balcony. I am watering the little hole from where the leave pop out. She bought it in the Flower District. I am still in awe every time I see it!

  6. So funny reading how you met your husband. I’m also from Brazil and I have been in NYC for 12 years. When I met my husband my English was also very rusty and I do not know how he wanted to go out with me again, haha. I guess it worked and ended up married :).
    Also, your apartment is beautiful, Gisela.

    Beijos,
    Fernanda

    • ♥️♥️♥️ Beijos, Fernanda!

  7. Monika says...

    I feel like I’ve learned so much just from this brief interlude reading about Gisela! What a delight she is and so creative; it’s a true gift to put together a visual world that makes the viewer feel welcome, energized and warm. And as a mom to three year old twins, I not only loved what she had to say about fostering individuality for them, but I loved what the fellow readers said about the oh-my-goodness CHALLENGING challenges of twin toddlers. I often feel I’m losing my mind from frustration, so it’s comforting to realize other twin moms are right there with me, feeling the feelings. Thanks for this post!

  8. Emma says...

    Love this. My husband is Brazilian and the volume of plants in our home is similar. It feels lush and green even in the coldest months.

    Question about the Paulistano chair for Gisele: isit comfy? I’ve been considering it…my dear friend gifted us a leather chair for our wedding and I love the idea of a chair from a Brazilian designer, and love the simplicity of this one…just want to make sure it’s comfortable.

    • Hi Emma, I love the Paulistano chair! It is very comfortable and rocks a tiny bit. xx

  9. Melissa Grillo says...

    Gisela is the most amazing friend and colorful dresser out there ;) If you love her as much as I do check out her instagram @giselagueiros
    Also she gives art tours that are to die for that you can find out more about on her site: https://www.giselagueiros.com/

    • This amazing neighborhood brought me so many amazing friends! Thanks, Melissa. You are THE BEST! <3

  10. I love the color and how everything is so thoughtfully placed. It’s really lovely.

  11. Berny Pazos says...

    I am a identical twin and my sister and I felt the same way about sharing a bedroom. Even when we were in college and we got an apartment with two bedrooms, we left one room empty and we shared the same room. It is a blessing to have someone so close to you all the time.
    Beautiful apartment! Thanks for sharing :D

  12. JoLynn says...

    Gisela,
    Your honesty and openness is so refreshing and made me smile.
    Thank you for sharing your home. And it is a home- filled with color, laughter and love. Perfect!

  13. “but now he understands everything, so I can’t talk shit about him when I’m talking with my mom on the phone.” hahaha! i’m dying.
    also, when i saw that photo of the plant stand i was taken to where my family is from, colombia (hi neighbors in brazil!).
    love love this tour, and i love following gisela on instagram!

    • ¡Hola, amiga colombiana!

  14. Jeannie says...

    Oh my goodness, I love her home and I LOVE HER! All of the stories <3 <3! She is hilarious~!! What a fantastic friend to have in one's community. Oh, and her home is to die for.

  15. Erika says...

    Gisela,

    Your comment about art: “Art changes the way we see and understand the world” is so true and gave me chills. I had a similar experience to Alex Katz with Van Gogh… I was walking along the Seine one night and ALL I COULD SEE was Starry Night in the deep blue river.

    x from another Art Historian,
    Erika

    • I love that Alex Katz’s quote! It really summarizes it very well ;)

  16. Its really awesome to see how people take the same place and infuse it wuth their own personalities! That is the beauty of interior decorating its not a “one size fits all” kind of thing!

  17. I am so so inspired. I am an Indian shunting between Philly and Lucknow ( India). My parents are full-time social entrepreneurs and fuller time gardeners. They treat every plant like a being, often naming them. My father’s fav. meditation is his chat with his plants :)

    Gisela, I can’t wait to do your tour. You have a warm halo shining bright around you :)

    • Thank you so much, Shruti! Love the idea of a warm halo around me — I am feeling it :)))

  18. I would love to have my house filled with plants. Im born in Brazil as well, but also living in US for the last 19 years.

    Every time I try having plants at home they end up dying.

    Im gonna read about it, so I can make it happen.

    Parabens, Gisela.

    • Oi Igor! I think the secret is: not a putting lot of water, but doing it consistently 2 x a week! ♥️???

  19. Charity says...

    That clip of Paul Rust is the exact moment I fell in love with Gus too!

    • I’ve watched it hundreds of times! ?♥️

  20. Lamah says...

    I am an Egyptian Brazilian living in Egypt. Seeing the Brazilian flag always lights something inside me :). Specially the first flag I spot after landing in Brazil :).

  21. Raquel says...

    I vote for a week of outfits with Gisela! Who’s with me?

  22. Jillian says...

    I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Gisela seems like the exact type of wise, neon-spirited friend who would greet you with a massive, enthusiastic hug, and whether you were sobbing over some heartbreak or celebrating a huge promotion sit with you on the couch laughing and talking about literature and art and love and drinking rose for 7 hours longer than is probably normal. Thank you for sharing! (oh and of course I loved the home too!!!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, jillian, that’s EXACTLY her!!!

    • <3 <3 <3 do you want to come over? sweetest comment.

  23. Emmy says...

    Love her comment about art being a site for important and difficult conversations. I work in the arts too, and truly believe art promotes empathy with other people and cultures!

    My boyfriend (who is Brazilian) and I just got back from Brazil. It was my first time there and I thought it was so vibrant. We ate so much pão de queijo :) And lots of other tasty foods. Really enjoyed the Itaù Cultural Center and the Instituto Morae Salles on Paulista Ave. in São Paulo. Can’t wait to go back.

    • Oi Emmy! I also loved visiting Itau Cultural. But most importantly, love eating pão de queijo :)

  24. Nora says...

    lovely and beautiful home! What are those sunflower type sqaure flowers?

    • It’s an artwork (photographic flowers) from the first art show I curated (in my apartment!). His name is André Feliciano. xx

  25. Sisu Garcia says...

    Lovely apartment! I was wondering if Gisela would be willing to share some more about her Master’s degree? I’m really interested in getting one in Art History as well, but there is always the “is it worth it? will i be able to get a job? where do i get the money? where do i go?” questions running through my mind

    • Hi Sisu, I got my masters at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in 2007 and loved it. I graduated in Oct 2008, which was when a big recession started, so I ended up starting a more independent form of work. I told a bit of that story here, if you’re interested: https://birdbrooklyn.com/journal/gisela-gueiros/ xx

  26. Can you tell me more about the plants? In particular the ones with the “curly” leaves on the long, thick stems that look like trunks??

    • I wish I knew the name of this plant! I love it so much!!! I got it as an engagement gift from a friend 9 years ago. If you show this photo to someone working on a plant shop (union’s square farmer’s market or flower district), they usually can help you find it! Good luck.

  27. Eva says...

    So, so lovely! Might be my favorite house tour so far.

  28. “And the bunk bed is from Ikea. Fred and Otto constantly draw and put stickers on it. That’s the beauty of an Ikea bed.”

    YES.

    When we first bought our house, I would drag my husband to flea markets, antique stores, and craigslist pursuits trying to find the perfect dining room table. But my dream table was not in our budget so we ended up just getting an expandable wood table from Ikea “for now.” Six years later, that table is tattooed with dents and scratches and grooves from my kids banging their forks and doing projects on it (and climbing on it) and now it is my dream table. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the sweetest :) :) :)

  29. Naaz says...

    Love your blog. Been reading it through the last 7 years during which time we moved between Africa, Europe and America. Always comforting and consoling!

  30. Lucy says...

    I so relate, Gisela, to what you have to say about twins. Mine are four and a half, and just like you, the before-four years were very hard on me. Wonderful, but also incredibly challenging. I think so often moms talk about the good, but don’t always talk about the days they question their sanity(!) so thanks for keeping it real!

    Also, beautiful place!

    • Emme says...

      Thank you for this!!! I also relate! My twins turn 4 this summer. While this year has been easier than the ones before, I have found that parenting twins is very challenging. It is hopeful and helpful to hear that you both have found it easier after 4 years…

  31. “People make your home vibrant. Even the day after a party, the house feels better.” This is so true! I love seeing my apartment through other peoples’ eyes.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! i really believe in the concept of a housewarming party for this reason. when you move into a new place, it can feel so foreign and kind of echo-y, but when you have friends over, they fill it up with their love and energy. and then you think of your place with all those fun times and memories! :)

    • Dee says...

      Agree! We just got round to a housewarming bbq last weekend, and seeing friends lifting our sofa table into the garden for their kids to picnic off made it feel so much more cosy!

  32. cW says...

    gorgeous, wlcoming home. I’d love tips on where to find portraits like the collection above the credenza. They’re all so loevely.

  33. Elizabeth says...

    As a Mother of twins I could relate to the fact that you don’t refer to your children as “the twins” allowing them their own identity apart from being a twin. I’ve done this with my boys and while they have an incredible bond, they don’t need the other to define who they are…
    Over the years I’ve had teachers comment, they are the only twins they’ve taught that do their own thing and aren’t glued together all the time… it’s been a good decision for us to raise them this way.

    I agree with the other comments, this tour was fabulous! I adore how welcoming you’ve made this space.

  34. Denise says...

    I love all the plants! I, too, have a jungle of plants in my tiny apartment. The idea that she considers her plants as pets and how they might deal with the change of moving is lovely. I have passed on perfectly good apartments because of the plants needs before. I also love that she’s calling one the “snake plant” because I’ve always known that particular plant to be “mother-in-law’s-tongue.” I guess because it’s sharp edged? It’s just the common name around here. And the vintage ironing board is an inspired plant stand idea!

  35. Paula says...

    My best friend is Brazilian and I read the entire interview with her gorgeous Portuguese accent-she speaks in that same colorful way (wah wah wah!) and no filter, which I also lack but it’s refreshing to read (I too talk shit about my hubby over the phone, sadly, he has never learned my language!)
    My favorite expression is beijos e abraços and I use it all the time (I’m eastern euro)! Can you tell I love Brazilian people? lol
    oh and also more on the topic, adorable home and style.

  36. Cynthia says...

    Interesting comment about Cezanne. Visiting southern France with fellow docents from the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, we saw Mont Sainte – Victoire and all exclaimed, “The mountain looks exactly like our painting!”.

  37. Carrie says...

    Details on the the blue bucket bag? 7th photo down I believe? I’m such a sucker for a timeless, simple bag.

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hi Carrie!

      It’s Mansur Gavriel. http://bit.ly/2LwEK0O

      xo

  38. Cary says...

    This is my favorite home tour so far! I’m moving house in two weeks and will definitely be stealing a couple of these tips!

    • Nice :) Glad you liked it!

  39. Liz says...

    Gisela! You seem like such a warm and wonderful person! Also, I love your style. Also, you make me want to take a ceramics class! Hope you have a great day. : )

    • Thanks, Liz :) Def take ceramics, at least one class to try out. It’s the best!

  40. Robin says...

    I love this tour! Could you tell me more about the electric piano?? Thanks!

  41. Natalie says...

    Hi! I’d love to know what kind of keyboard you have?! It’s beautiful!

    • Me too! Best looking electric piano I’ve ever seen…

  42. Melkorka says...

    love that Cezzane /Katz story & “Art changes the way we see and understand the world.” I think it is a wonderful way to experience foreign landscapes is to see interpretations through different artists. My great-grandfather painted jewel-like intricate fantastical landscapes that focused on lava formations and my grandmother flat hyper-colorful geometric landscapes that feel slightly severe in their simplicity and if you see them on their own they are slightly ‘unrealistic’ UNTIL you step out into the Icelandic landscape and they BOTH make sense in their own way. Anyways, I heart this apartment tour!

  43. Lisa says...

    This is so cool! We’re moving out of a beautiful flat, and it makes me sad that none if our friends are moving in so that it can “stay in the family”

    What is the square footage (out of interest)?

  44. elizabeth r says...

    Sorry for my obsessive commenting on this post. Where did they get the little wooden stool stool covered in books?

  45. Elizabeth R says...

    Gisela, I kind of feel like you look like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wife, Vanessa (meant as a huge compliment).

    • Oh, I don’t know her face… But thanks! Will look her up :)

  46. Amy says...

    I love the Dan Shapiro poster. Do you have any more information on it? Is it from the Connecticut Open? Thank you!

    • Unfortunately Dan started working with advertisement and gave up his artistic career :(

  47. Dawn says...

    Hi, i love your style and all the artwork! May I know how big is the home? in sqm or sq feet? Thanks! Dawn

  48. stefi says...

    This to me one of the greatest apartments ever shown here, because it look so “real”, not staged and styled or decorated comme il faut.

    I like it that she says they don’t refer to their sons as the twins, because they are two individuals. Thats something that is often forgotten about.

  49. Terri says...

    I love all of your plants! I am a plant person, too. I thought it was so sweet when you said you worried about their adjusting to a new place when you moved! I feel that way when I repot a plant. I also love, love, love all of the art.

    I am a twin, so I just love reading about other twins. It is such a magical relationship. I really admire that you are treating them as distinct people with separate interests and identities. My twin sister is my oldest friend, and someone with whom I can talk so freely without having to try hard or explain myself. Our relationship is such a gift. When I think back to our childhood, I wonder how my mother did it. Our older sister was 2.5 years old when we were born.

    • Plant person and twin! Lovely — <3 <3 <3

  50. Joana says...

    I love all those warm, plants, colourful and arty details in the house… Fabulous style and hilarious chat!

  51. Ada says...

    I really enjoyed Gisela’s interview. I laughed out loud at these lines:

    He didn’t speak Portuguese back then, but now he understands everything, so I can’t talk shit about him when I’m talking with my mom on the phone.

    When we moved apartments, I was like, how are the plants going to deal with change?

    So, you never actually hear the piano. It’s always ‘wah wah wah.’

    • Ada says...

      I just spotted the pair of pigeons by the glass door, in the third photo! Love it.

  52. Renata says...

    I love this!! I’ve been following both of you for almost a decade now (well I used to follow Gisela on minas de ouro then I couldnt find it anymore and recently found her on IG) So fun to see that you are friends. Im also Brazilian married to an American and used to to live in Carroll Gardens <3

    • Que coincidência, Renata! :)

  53. shopgirl, eu says...

    Love them both ways! The new version is even more colorful and cheerful.
    But that Tobys blue room is still my favorite children’s room. And Anton in the crib photo, awwww!!

  54. Anastasia says...

    Wait, I thought you still lived here! Where did you go? Did you post about a move that I missed? :)

  55. Miriam says...

    “I needed a break so badly. And then I looked around and was like, oh, no, they might die. So, I didn’t do it” is basically motherhood summed up ;)

    • Lisa says...

      Yes yes yes! I was relieved when I read that, as I have two small children close together and there have been times when I’ve been on my own with them, and been tempted to do exactly that

    • Heather says...

      Um, yes. My twins aren’t quite 3 yo, and I have felt this way so many times. Like, I love you guys, but this sh*t is b-a-n-a-n-a-s. And they *know*. They KNOW. They run in opposite directions in public ON PURPOSE just shrieking with glee. <3 Rascals. <3

  56. Alisa Cunningham says...

    Wow. Must be great to have such a gifted life. Awesome for you and your family.

  57. Katherine says...

    Omg I love this. Her voice is hilarious and relatable and I love what she did with the space

  58. Kelly says...

    Totally feel Gisela re: lighting. It can set or ruin a mood! My electrician thought I was crazy when I asked him to put A dimmer on EVERY switch in the house. They are my favorite toys!

  59. Mariana Orkenyi says...

    My Brazilian soul got so happy with this post!

    • Wolrd Cup coming up…!!! Let’s hope for a good performance :)

  60. Loesie says...

    An amazing place!
    And your friend sounds like a person I would have a great time with! I love her sense of humor and she sounds so inspiring!

  61. Love seeing your words about the plants. My husband is Brazilian and we have many, many plants (including big trees) in our house. I sometimes catch him talking to the plants. He also swears that you should never point at them; instead, he bends his finger and points with his knuckle out, never with the end of his finger!

    • Karen says...

      OMG my parents are from Central America and have a lovely veggie garden here in the States. When they spot a baby veggie and want to bring it to my attention they always (quickly) point with their eyes and mouth NEVER with the end of their fingers. HAHA i thought they were weird but now totally respect their respect for plants.

  62. Tiff says...

    Wow. What a place. And I looooove the top she is wearing in that first picture?
    Gisela, where is it from? Thank you.

  63. Bec says...

    I also loved Love! Such a fun show.

  64. Megan says...

    I’m obsessed with her shoes in the first photo! Does anyone have any idea where they’re from? I’ve been searching all over and can’t find anything as lovely as those, and I need cute summer shoes for work!

    • Megan says...

      Thank you! ?

  65. Oneida says...

    “And then I looked around and was like, ‘oh no, they might die.’” Haha. I can totally relate. Love her way of describing things!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      during our interview, i laughed out loud at that part, too!

    • Truest story! ♥️? I feel bad when I remember it, but they really had pushed all my buttons!!!

    • Ada says...

      No one is perfect. I had that thought too and I only had one child.

    • Jenny Ronan says...

      Oh me too, I have 13 month old twins and sometimes want to just hide in the bathroom or run out the door but I can’t!!! Four seems to be the magic age I keep hearing for when it gets easier too.

    • Hanna says...

      Oh, my! Yes! The first four years with my twins were so crazy, and this sums up the feeling perfectly.

      Another now-funny thing that happened to my husband and I over and over again when our boys were small was that one of us would be out in public with both kids, and a total stranger would see the general chaos of keeping up with two toddlers and say, “Aaawww! Maybe your next set can be girls!” My husband says it’s a good thing his hands were always full, or he might have punched someone.

      Twin parents, I promise, it *does* get easier.

    • Yes, Hanna! We could write a book on the absurd comments we hear from people when it comes to twins! They are now 7 yo and I feel like my life is easier than it would be if I had kids at different ages. I confess I already worry about how quiet it will get when they both leave to go off to college at the same time — in 10 years. Hahaha

    • Hanna says...

      My boys are 8, and I’m already worrying about them leaving for college, too! All kids grow up fast, but everything is sudden and intense and then *over* with twins, and then we’re on to the next whirlwind. I’m trying to remember to really enjoy these next 10 years, because it *is* so much easier now.

  66. Joanna says...

    I also have twin boys and agree with Gisela that before age 4, it was quite hard! In fact, when my husband and I were out with our boys as newborns, a couple with teenage twins told us that 4 was the twin turning point where they start entertaining each other. I held on to that notion during some rough days. Mine just turned 4 a few months ago and while we have our moments, I can see the light!

    • Yes! I was talking to a friend of mine who also has twins and we were laughing for being complete playground-phobic — it is so hard to chase twins, one running in a different direction!

    • elizabeth r says...

      My sister has twins who turn three in the fall and a newborn. I love love love my nephews; but I refuse to go with them to the playground by myself. I need their Mom or my Mom as assistance because they run opposite directions. Lovely home. Right up my alley.

    • That’s the feeling, Elizabeth!! :) Mission impossible!

  67. Sammy says...

    Love Gisela’s personality and especially this line, “Even if the theme only makes sense to you, it feels good”!

  68. Michaela says...

    I have been a Cup of Jo lurker for many years and this is my first comment, as I was moved by this post. your friend, Gisela, is a passionate person and I love her approach to life. Thank you for this post!

  69. Chelsea says...

    Love this home! My kids have the Ikea Kura bed (which they use as a bunk bed), and they put stickers all over it too! I agree that Ikea furniture is perfect for that reason, I don’t mind at all!

    • AK says...

      Chelsea, how did you turn the Kura into a bunk? Just a mattress underneath or did you add a frame?

    • Cait says...

      AK, we do this as well, and it’s great! Just a mattress underneath. The best part is that for now we just have a crib mattress underneath – we had two high quality crib mattresses (we bought a twin for the top of course) and since there isn’t a frame we were able to just put it on the bottom (toy baskets beside it) until our second outgrows it and we’re ready to make a decision about longer term sleeping arrangements and mattress sizes ;)

  70. shena says...

    My favorite is the bunkbeds with the stickers and scribbles. I love that there can be scribbles in a beautiful apartment…makes it real life.

  71. Alex says...

    I live a few blocks from clayworks and have been meaning to sign up for a class for two years! I just did – thank you!

    Also love your home – such a cheerful, casual vibe.

    • ♥️♥️♥️ So glad to hear! You will love Clayworks

  72. Hope says...

    I thought this was going to be your old old east village apartment and for the first few pictures I was like “….it didn’t seem this big back then!!” When I saw the kitchen it clicked this was your Carroll Gardens place!?‍♀️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you’re so sweet to remember our past places! yes, our old manhattan apartment was TINY. i remember when toby learned to crawl, he would always hit his head on the coffee table or the sofa because there was almost literally no room between them. poor little dude :) :) :)

  73. Marcelle says...

    Ahhh, brasileiras!
    Arrasou Gisela!

  74. Marcelle says...

    Uma brasileira no melhor blog! Arrasou!

    • Viva! Espero que a gente não passe vergonha na Cooa do Mundo ♥️??

    • Raquel says...

      Vim aqui só pra dizer isso, hahaha! Não passaremos vergonha Gisela, pelamor! Já passamos muito ❤️

    • Fernanda says...

      Boa meninas!
      Rumo ao Hexa ??‍♂️

  75. Julie says...

    I would love to hear if Gisela has any recommendations for places to buy art – especially for those of us not in NYC.
    Thanks for the tour!

    • Elizabeth R says...

      What city do you live in, Julie? There are art festivals galore. Often cheaper to buy directly from the artist than in galleries. Then, I like there Facebook pages and Instagram and see what artists like their photos, etc, and follow those artists. I have created a wide net of artists that way and gotten a lot of relatively inexpensive art and some pricier. If you have an idea of your style-modern, folksy, etc, I can also point you in the direction of some particular artists who may fit your desired niche. :)

  76. Susan says...

    THis looks like such a happy colorful home for raising two little boys! Otto and Fred! Love those names! I feel like someone needs to write a book about the Adventures of Otro and Fred! Thanks for sharing this lovely home.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!

  77. I’m looking for a modern/sleek electric piano. Would you mind asking about the make and model of her piano? (Is it the Roland Kiyola??) Thank you!!

    • Emily says...

      Yes! Could you please provide a link to this model, if available? It looks so sleek in the wood frame.

  78. Rae says...

    The art. Sigh.

  79. Val says...

    Love this art and plant filled home. So fresh and inviting! Funny about the digital piano. That’s why i went with a traditional one. Else my daughter would be doing the same thing :-)
    I love the white walls, and the white kitchen. That with brown/beige textures and surfaces is so beautiful but understated.

  80. Soph says...

    Loved the apartment and loved the humour! Hehe beat not to leave two toddlers alone ??? Imagine what you’d come back to.

    I would love to go back to the houses I’ve lived in to see how someone else lives in the space! What an honour to be able to do that.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I would love to go back to the houses I’ve lived in to see how someone else lives in the space! What an honour to be able to do that.” = oh my gosh, yes! can you imagine seeing all the places you’ve lived in their different iterations? what a fascinating thing.

    • It was so sweet when Joanna’s kids visited and they had all these stories to tell me about what happened in each room back when they lived there!

      About leaving the kids home alone, I really thought about it for a minute hahahaha

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, toby kept talking about how he threw up one time! (kids!)

    • Tara says...

      Such a super idea Soph. I never have thought of this.

    • sasha says...

      Soph, this comment about imagining old places got me thinking…. Three places I’ve lived are just gone. It’s a very weird feeling to drive by and see a parking lot where your beloved little house (where my youngest was born in the tiny bathtub) was ?

      Perhaps this is part of the reason I’ve lived for 17 years in my current house, and have plans to never ever leave. That permanency is comforting to me.

  81. Jen says...

    Man, this paragraph made me bust a gut, ” It’s a magical relationship to witness. I was like, do you want to each have your room? And they were like, why would we do that? Before they turned four, though, there were moments that were so hard. When they were toddlers, Tom was traveling, so I had a weekend alone with them. They were all over the place. I was so tired that I remember fantasizing about leaving them at home and walking around the block. I needed a break so badly. And then I looked around and was like, oh, no, they might die. So, I didn’t do it.” Such a good parenting quote! Real and true.

  82. Elsa says...

    Beautiful! Where are the boys’ duvet covers from? That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  83. A says...

    Love it both ways ?

  84. Elizabeth says...

    I loved how you decorated it and now Gisela’s style, too! What a great space. Thanks for sharing!

  85. Olivia says...

    What do the Brazilian introverts do?! No end time of people at my home = my nightmare. I need to decompress!

    • diana says...

      Asking the real questions!

    • Olivia says...

      ?? makes perfect sense, Gisela.

    • Cass says...

      Major introvert here. I lived in Spain and it’s the same deal. One time my husband’s friends were over and by 3am I was exhausted and they didn’t seem to be making any moves. So I thought, if I start getting ready for bed that will give them a hint and they’ll leave! But when I came out with my pj’s on they were just like “goodnight!” and carried on for another 2 hours after I went to sleep, hahaha. I tried to keep up with them but after a few years I got over my FOMO and would often go home at 12am when the night was just about to get started.

    • Fernanda says...

      Well, I’m Brazilian too and what I do if I’m very tired is get them a fresh bottle of something (as if not to break the mood) and say: “guys! You carry on but I’m beat!” And go to bed. They always stay late with my husband. Everyone happy ?

  86. K says...

    THANK YOU for the layout! Very helpful for visualizing. Also, fantastic, approachable apartment!!

  87. K says...

    I always sit on the floor when hosting too. It’s always fun to see who joins you (someone always does).

    • True!!! It invites other people to do the same ♥️

  88. Raise your hand if you read everything she said through a Portugese accent filter running through your head.

    :)

    • Amanda says...

      Haha!! Guilty!

    • Jen says...

      I did that too. “She” sounded awesome!

    • Roxana says...

      Me:) Maybe because I live in São Paulo currently.

    • Audrey says...

      totally!!

    • Louisa says...

      *hand raised!* (and I hadn’t realized it until you said it!!)

    • Aly says...

      ??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she has the loveliest accent of all time. my favorite thing (as i’ve told her) is how she pronounced “says” as “SAY-z.” apparently her husband told her to never stop saying it like that. she is the most inspiring and passionate person.

    • Anna says...

      Lol me too!

    • Virginie says...

      Totally me!
      So funny ;)
      Also, love the good vibe in this home .

    • Totally; and maybe that’s part of what made it so lovely! Adoro!

  89. Katherine says...

    Lovely! All that art is so dreamy and inspiring. I especially love the lack of TV. We just mounted ours on the wall and now it blends in more with framed art around it. Makes me feel less like our living room is centered around it.

    We also have that Paulistano chair from DWR and it’s the best seat in the house. It bounces slightly and you can scootch the leather seat up or down, depending on how upright or slouched you want to sit.

    • Love the Paulistano chair too. The little bounce is the best!

    • Love the Paulistano chair too. The slight bounce is the best!

  90. Katie H says...

    So fun to see a different twist on a familiar space!

  91. Monica says...

    So beautifully decorated! Where can one find art that isn’t too expensive?

    • I love thrift stores for art. There’s an amazing vintage shop in my city that sometimes has really good art, but you have to go there a lot because stuff gets snatched up before it hits the floor.

    • Hi Monica,
      Glad you liked the décor! Take a look at my website to see some shows I’ve curated with works by emerging artists ;)
      xx

  92. Joanna! I was picturing your West Village place for the entire first half of the article and was SO confused. I was like… wait, where was the Romeo & Juliet poster? [forehead smack] I guess that was a few years ago…

  93. Lauren says...

    Ahhh Love was the best show! So bummed it only ran for a few seasons…

    • Waiting to hear what Paul will do next! ♥️

  94. Lindsey says...

    I love everything about this apartment! The textiles and the colors are so vibrant! There is one thing that is really confusing me though…in Gisela’s bedroom, what are those yellow block things? It looks like they have flower stems, but they really confuse me for some reason. Thanks!

    • They are an artwork! Camera shaped flowers ;)

    • T says...

      Oh my gosh! Maybe I’m just tired but I seriously thought it was an Edible Arrangement and was SO confused.

    • Caroline says...

      Thank you for asking this question! I was also very confused! :)

    • Ada says...

      Thank you Lindsey for asking.

      Seriously one of the coolest and freshest artworks I’ve seen in so long.

      I thought it was real pineapples with blueberries! My next thought, an edible arrangement in the bedroom, is that a ‘thing’ now? ?

  95. Owl says...

    Really enjoyed this post! What a beautifully decorated apartment! (It’s so true about lighting- it makes such a difference.). Thanks for sharing. ?

  96. Meg says...

    Adorei!

    I’ve wanted to take a ceramics class for years – sealed! Obrigada!