Business consultant Holly Howard, owner of Ask Holly How, lives with her husband and two cats, Jem and June, in Brooklyn. The apartment, full of pattern, feels quirky in the best way. “Our upstairs neighbors sings all day long — like Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the Beatles. You can hear him, and it’s sort of comforting,” she says. Take a tour around….
On the tree artwork: The photo was taken by my husband Ryan. It’s a tree in Vancouver, and when he developed the film, we thought it looked like an elephant. I fell in love with it, and he printed it out really big for our bedroom.
On a comfy bed: We traveled upstate to Rivertown Lodge and loved their mattresses so much that we bought one. It’s a really firm one from Keetsa. I didn’t realize how much I liked a firm bed until I slept in one.
On enlightening books: I read a lot of business books for work. Right now, for the class I’m teaching, we’re reading Small Giants, which is such a good book for these times. The whole point is that your business can be really great without having to be so, so big.
On patterns at home: I started working with designer Rebecca Atwood as a client, and it was the first time I had been exposed to pattern in the home. I realized it was transformative — especially in a rental apartment, where you can’t paint or wallpaper the walls. We decided to redo a sofa with one of her fabrics, and everything took off from there.
On a candle habit: Keap candles are definitely my favorite. I get their subscription, where you get a candle every month. I love Green Market, and they just did Wood Cabin, which is so nice in the colder months.
On bringing nature inside: We counted this weekend, and we have 33 plants. We also got a giant cactus and that’s my husband’s to care for.
On having a soundtrack: We listen to a lot of classic rock from the ’60s and ’70s, but really anything. I like hip hop, Ryan likes jazz. When I was little, I played the oboe and then transitioned to the bassoon in seventh grade. I really love the sound of it. Most people know it from Peter and the Wolf. It’s really low and really warm.
Desk set: Ladies & Gentlemen Studio. Desk chair: found on street. Desk: filing cabinets from Sears, tabletop from Home Depot.
On a homemade desk: The yellow filing cabinets are from Sears in the 80s — they used to be my dad’s. I brought them with me when I left home. Then I put a Home Depot tabletop over them. It works!
On cooking at home: My husband is definitely the cook. He’s part Italian, and he makes the best pasta and lasagna. When I’m home alone, I’ll have frozen pizzas ready. And the indian brand Maya Kaimal came out with delicious packets that you can throw in a pan and heat up.
On a bright kitchen: The yellow paint was there when we moved in, we were lucky. It’s so cheerful.
On a cozy bathroom: We loved the bathroom when we first saw the apartment. We both take baths regularly. I highly recommend mustard bath. You’ll get out of the bathtub and be so hot because it heats you up.
Thank you so much, Holly!