Design

This Brooklyn Apartment Was Decorated Like the Ocean

Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

Rebecca Atwood, the designer behind the eponymous line of home goods, lives in a one-bedroom apartment with her husband, Steve, and their two cats. Her home’s color palette was inspired by the Cape Cod seaside, and her decorating approach is as serene as the patterns she’s become known for. Take a look around…

LIVING ROOM:
Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

Sofa: ABC Home, similar, cushions reupholstered with Rebecca Atwood fabric. Coffee table: made by Rebecca’s grandfather.

On stress-free decorating: I have a cousin who moved into her apartment and two weeks later, it looked like she’d been there for years! I’m the complete opposite. I spend so much of my time and creative energy on work that I’m really slow with my home. First we did the wallpaper… then everything else happened very gradually over the next year.

Rebecca Atwood Living Room

Mirror: Bellboy. Paintings: Michelle Armas. Woven leather chair: Eric Trine.

On a favorite color palette: When designing a home, it can be helpful to think about places that resonate with you. I grew up in a small coastal town in Cape Cod, where the off-season was very calm and muted. That’s my aesthetic foundation for color. While decorating our home, I kept thinking of the magic hour, when the setting sun glows pink over the ocean.

Rebecca Atwood Chaise Lounge

Chaise lounge: vintage, reupholstered in Rebecca Atwood fabric. Pillow: Rebecca Atwood.

On giving new life to a family heirloom: The chaise lounge belonged to my great grandmother in the 1930s. It was originally covered in a floral fabric that was falling apart, so we had it reupholstered. One of my big recommendations for people looking to reupholster something is to bring home a swatch of fabric, to see how it looks in your space. Even if you have to print something out with a printer, it’s helpful to actually see it in your home.

Rebecca Atwood Living Room

Sofa: ABC Home, similar, cushions reupholstered with Rebecca Atwood fabric. Tangerine pillow: Rebecca Atwood. Striped pillow: Rebecca Atwood.

On serious lounging: I think having a basket full of cozy blankets is an important part of any living room. I also like having a few bigger pillows, which are great for cuddling and can provide extra seating on the floor in a pinch. We’re big believers in deep sofas that you can fully lounge on; our sofa is practically a twin bed. We reupholstered the couch cushion seats, because we had worn through the fabric and getting two cushions made was less expensive than getting a whole new slipcover.

Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

Desk: Room & Board. Chair: hand-me-down. (“Growing up, these were our kitchen dining chairs.”) Shelves: made by a friend. Brackets: Rejuvenation.

On a nighttime ritual: I work at my studio during the day, but when actually creating artwork, I find it more relaxing to be at home. I like to paint at night with a TV show in the background. I watch reruns of things I already know — so it’s almost like listening to music and doesn’t require too much attention. I recently went through all nine seasons of The Office.

On collections: I try to make the shelves the only areas where our knickknacks live, so our home doesn’t feel too cluttered. I collect ceramics from local designers or from our travels. Sample sales and studio sales are two of my favorite things about living in New York! You can meet the people who make the things and also score some deals. Workaday Handmade and MQuan Studio are favorites.

Rebecca Atwood Sofa

Wallpaper: Rebecca Atwood. Sofa: vintage, reupholstered in Rebecca Atwood fabric. Pillows: Rebecca Atwood, similar.

On decorating with patterns: If you’re scared of using patterns, start by using neutrals, or go for a pattern with a very small scale. When mixing patterns, you generally want to mix the scale of them — mixing large and small scale — so they don’t compete with one another. One easy trick is to mix different patterns within the same color palette. Also, stripes go with everything.

Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

On keeping sketchbooks: Since starting my business, I’ve become an avid sketchbook keeper. I’ll work in about five or six different sketchbooks at once, because I don’t want to have to wait for the paint to dry. It’s kind of how other people keep journals — it’s my way of filtering through day-to-day events, memories, getting everything down on paper. When I start a new collection, I’ll pull out the sketchbooks and find things that feel fresh.

KITCHEN:
Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

On being a creature of habit: I wake up around 6:30 every morning, and I always have the same thing for breakfast. I eat Ezekiel toast with peanut butter every day, as I have every day since I was 12. I even eat it on vacation! I like that it’s easy and I can take it with me — the portability is key. I’ve been trying to get into going to yoga in the mornings, but so far I’ve been once, so I guess it’s not a habit yet!

Rebecca Atwood Kitchen

On go-to dinners: I grew up in a restaurant — my dad was the chef and my mom ran the front — so I’ve always been into cooking. We have this casual ‘cookbook’ that my sister put together, filled with favorite family recipes. I’ll often make my mom’s Swedish meatballs, which we serve with rice or potatoes; and my husband makes amazing pulled pork, Korean-style BBQ or burgers.

BEDROOM:
Rebecca Atwood's Brooklyn Home

Paint: Calamine by Farrow & Ball. Closet curtains: Rebecca Atwood. Duvet, coverlet, lumbar pillow: Rebecca Atwood. Lamps: Circa Lighting.

On the most important thing: I was really excited to launch a bedroom collection, because I love to sleep! I like to get into my pajamas as soon as I get home. My mom laughs at me — we’ll talk on FaceTime in the evening and she’s like, ‘You’re already in your pajamas!’ I also get in bed by 9:30 p.m. most nights. I think getting a good night’s sleep is underrated. I’m not saying it solves everything, but it makes everything else a little easier.

Rebecca Atwood at Home

On cuddly companions: We have two cats. My husband is allergic to most cats, but it turns out this particular kind he’s not allergic to, so he was like, ‘Let’s get two!’ The other one, Cotton, wouldn’t come out for the photos, since he’s super scared of everything. But Chili is feistier and sleeps on the bed — right on my head — every night.

Thank you so much, Rebecca!

P.S. Many more house tours, including an airy L.A. loft and a charming London apartment.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Gabrielle says...

    Reupholstering just the sofa seat cushions is freaking brilliant. Thank you, Rebecca!

  2. kristin says...

    I’m 100% a cat person and I had one growing up. When she got elderly and died, I realized my asthma and allergies were all her fault :( I knew I was allergic, but I didn’t realize the extent of it (and yes, for me it’s the saliva not the fur). You don’t know how excited I am to hear about these hypoallergenic cats! Researching this immediately! (My daughter would die from happiness if we got a cat!)

    • beth says...

      Please share what you find! I’m generally allergic to all cats, but my friend has a “magic” cat that no one seems to be allergic to…I need to find out how I can get one too!

  3. What a beautiful home – I love seeing a peaceful home that incorporates color! I have to know, what do the scrabble tiles say by the bed? That felt like an “I Spy” moment when I spotted them!

  4. Sarah says...

    My love for Rebecca Atwood and her peaceful aesthetic just keep growing! So nice to take a tour of her space. Thanks, Rebecca and CoJ team <3

  5. cheryl says...

    I love your designs Rebecca. I ordered some samples earlier this week. Can’t wait until they arrive!

  6. I really like that chaise longue from her grandmother. The patterns on the sketchbook are the perfect fit to that sofa…

  7. Joanna says...

    I know this may sound silly, but this was just the post I needed to see in face of all the horrible news lately. I was in tears at my desk at work after watching Dr. Blasley Ford’s statement, and I had to “walk away” from the news and social media for the afternoon.

    Seeing pink walls and an ocean inspired home is the soothing, inspiring piece that I needed today. Ezekiel bread and peanut butter may just be my dinner tonight. Thanks for covering it all, from one Joanna to another.

    • Favi says...

      I completely agree with you, the news overwhelms me so much these days I need to see pretty things.

      I can see why people flocked to the movies during the Great Depression, we all need a moments to escape and see beauty in the world.

  8. Jade says...

    What is the color on her bedroom walls? It’s so cheerful and soothing at the same time!

  9. RKT says...

    This is the most wild post because I had recently been email The Pheasant about having them host my wedding rehearsal dinner! I can’t get over the “what a small world!” feeling!

  10. Rachel says...

    where is the amazing rug from??

    • Hi Rachel!
      It’s vintage from Chairish. If you look for Moroccan boucherouite rugs there, Etsy, and Ebay you can find things that are similar.
      Have a great day,
      Rebecca

  11. Kristen says...

    I grew up in the town next door on Cape Cod and went to RISD also. Have enjoyed many, many meals at her parent’s restaurant since I was a kid. Love this post. xo

    • I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed so many meals at my parent’s restaurant. They sold it this year, to a young couple from Brooklyn! It will be nice to see them continue the tradition.

  12. Nina says...

    Pretty. I’m too short and don’t like couches that I feel like Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann when sitting on them – I like my feet to touch the ground. But I love comfortable couches.

    This apartment is so light and bright and lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Emily says...

    Rebecca, you are my breakfast soulmate! I eat peanut butter on Ezekiel toast every single morning – and I’ve eaten a version of that since I was in high school (just plain toast back then!) I love it because nothing fills me up quite the same way, and it is so fast and easy. I take peanut butter with me when I travel – I can always find a bread product to slather it on ☺️.

    I love your space – especially the blue patterned sofa!

    • Emily says...

      To clarify *(just peanut butter on white toast back then! )🙃

    • I love that! I switch out the kind of bread or peanut butter from time to time to change it up a little bit. I agree nothing else quite fills you up! :)

    • Rachel says...

      I’ve eaten Ezekiel bread with peanut butter for breakfast since I was a child, and I love that there are other people who appreciate the perfection of this random breakfast.

    • Abby W. says...

      I also eat Ezekiel toast with peanut butter each and every morning, just moments after arriving to my office. I add sliced banana to the top as well. Goes so well with a cup of coffee! Truly made my day to see others do the same and have for so many years- too funny!

    • Capucine says...

      Hey head’s up, they take away nut butter in European airports now! If it is in a premade sandwich, that is OK, but if it is in a jar or packet it could be bomb paste. Ditto cream cheese, and jam. I always used to bring little jars or packets for the 34 hours of travel we do with my kids to my in-laws, but after it got taken away upteen times I had to invent other meals. The US airports have yet to take it away. Go figure. So make a sandwich ahead of time and try checking a jar in your suitcase (they sometimes get it then, too).

  14. Sara says...

    I have been through all 9 seasons of The Office…probably a dozen times. My husband and I have stressful jobs so its a nice end of the day don’t have to think just laugh show to put on in the background.

    The colors are lovely!

    • That’s how I feel about it too. It’s nice to have something funny after work. I recently also started watching the new amazon show Jack Ryan with “Jim” from the office.

  15. Liz says...

    I was so excited to read this post, because I’ve loved Rebecca’s work for a while! I love her mix of patterns and color throughout the apartment, and how those colors seemed to have jumped right from her sketchbook.

    • That’s so nice to hear! Thank you for the kind words about my work.

  16. h says...

    The Office is my go-to show for having something on when I want the noise but don’t want to pay attention. I’ve watched it so many times it’s embarrassing.

  17. AC says...

    Second on the cat question. I’m allergic (but don’t care, grew up with cats), but my hubs us allergic and does care. If there was ever a cat he was not allergic to, I would love to know. Thanks!

    • They’re Persian cats. I know it really depends on what you’re allergic to. From what I understand it’s the saliva and not the hair…so when they groom themselves the saliva gets on the hair. I don’t know if it’s all Persians that have low amounts of whatever is in the saliva, or just these ones. It’s definitely worth checking out. I have a friend who’s still allergic to them.

  18. Liz says...

    Love the whole house but especially the pale pink tote bag in the living room pic! Can you tell me who it’s by?

    • Hi Liz,
      It’s from Proenza Schouler and I got it at this amazing shop in Charleston, SC called Hampden. It was definitely a splurge but I really love it. It’s not too big or too small and I love the detailing on it.

  19. Casey says...

    Is there a paint color for the living room? It seems like it has a subtle color. I’m about to paint this weekend and that seems lovely!

    • I’m not sure what the paint color for the living room is– it’s just a white. It was painted this color when we moved in.

  20. Daynna says...

    The Ocean and sky print/painting above the desk. Any idea where it’s from? Also, their living room rug with the greys and purple in front of that blue wavy couch. Where does one find that too? Thank you so much, if you can find out!

    Also, please pass along that if she made sheets, I’d buy them in a HEARTBEAT.

    • Hi Daynna,
      The ocean/sky print is from Minted. I’m not sure who the artists is anymore though. They have a pretty good search feature on their website. The rug is a moroccan boucherouite rug from Chairish– try searching Ebay too.
      Have a great day!

  21. LOVE the blue couch with the patterned wall. Somehow those patterns clash in the most beautiful way, making both the wall and the furniture really pop! Gorgeous.

    – Grace

    • Thank you! I love to mix patterns and am always experimenting with different things in my home. It’s really important to me that any new designs are ones I would actually use in my own home.

  22. Isabelle Smith says...

    I am not exactly sure why but I loved reading that someone else has tv on in the background when they do stuff at home. My sister and I always do but I feel like people always say music and don’t want to say tv. I love tv!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      my sister in law always has the TV on at home and it’s always so relaxing to visit her. it’s like cheerful white noise :)

  23. I love the Michelle Armas paintings in the unexpected bright aqua frames! Stunning!

  24. Amy says...

    Beautiful! The colors are very calming.

  25. L says...

    Rebecca, What kind of cat is that?? I’m allergic too, but I love them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great question, we’ll ask her!

    • LeeKC says...

      Yes, please. I would love to know also! I feel the same!

    • agnes merat says...

      same here! that would be great to know.

    • There are a variety of so-called “hypo allergenic” cats! My husband is allergic but we got a Russian Blue kitten last year (called Sushi!) and he’s been fine! Definitely worth exploring! x

    • Literally the first thing I wanted to know too! I’m allergic and would love a cat!! Thanks in advance :-)

      Rebecca
      xx

    • Hello! It’s Rebecca here. They are Persians. I’m not that up in cat breeds but my sister got one and we couldn’t believe when my husband wasn’t allergic.

    • Em says...

      Just in case it’s helpful, I have a Siberian cat, and it’s been a dream come true for my allergies. I never thought I’d be able to live with a cat, but it’s worked! Siberians have a reputation for being hypoallergenic-ish, and it’s really been the case for us (plus they’re so adorable and friendly) :)

    • Kathleen says...

      I’d love the answer to this too!

  26. Essss says...

    Love all the open shelving, and the colors look coordinated but not overly so! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Cynthia says...

    I have always wanted a chaise lounge but I have no idea where I would put it. This apartment is lovely.

    • I love having it! It’s not a piece of furniture I likely would have bought if we didn’t have this vintage piece, but it’s really a great spot to kick up your feet and read. I like angling it a bit into a room. I think it would be great in a bedroom too.

  28. Amy says...

    “While decorating our home, I kept thinking of the magic hour, when the setting sun glows pink over the ocean.”

    I have zero direction in decorating our home (you can do anything, but you can’t do everything – and decor is something I chose to let go of in order to focus on other things), but I think that would be a helpful way to keep a general theme in mind; to link it to a time and place that you love and feel at home in.

  29. Sarah says...

    That peach painting in her sketchbook could be called “Boob in Profile.” Also love the grumpy cat face in the shelf picture. Beautiful home!

    • Lesley says...

      I noticed that as well! Love her home.

    • Ali says...

      That totally looks like a boob!

    • Thanks Sarah! It’s funny–that “boob in profile” was just a color wash on a piece of watercolor paper that I’ve likely painted on top of since then. I love watercolors and seeing how the paint just pools and makes it’s own patterns.