Creative director and producer Emily Elliott lives in a studio apartment in Brooklyn with her sweet dog, Nemo. “He thinks the apartment is his,” Emily says. “It’s like having another person around.” Here’s a look inside…
On an inherited aesthetic: Growing up, my mom was a maximalist; and although I always wanted to be a minimalist, it has been passed down to me, regardless. I originally wanted an ‘industrial loft’ feel, but when I really thought about it, I wanted my apartment to feel less designed and more homey. I brought in plants (a lot of them!) to make the space feel fresh and happy. I also found a lot of things on the street or thrifted.
On creating storage: When I moved here, I downsized a lot. I put everything I had in a pile and tried to pick the things that were meaningful to me. The trunk under the TV is my favorite piece in the whole apartment, not only because it adds character, but because it pulls double duty as major storage. It has all my blankets and art supplies and Christmas decorations. I hide a lot of things under my bed, too. Also, don’t open the closets or stuff will come flying out!
On cherished family heirlooms: I have a lot of things from family that are special to me. My grandma gave me this oil lamp, and it was her grandma’s. It was used during Little House on the Prairie times, which is nuts to think about.
On living alone: Before moving here, I had always lived with significant others or roommates. So, in the beginning, I was shocked by how quiet it was all the time. Now I make sure to always have some kind of noise like TV or music in the background. A bonus is that I love having my space exactly like I want it, with no one else’s input. If I want to become a human tornado and throw every reject outfit on the floor, I do it! If I feel like keeping my place spotless, I do that. If I want to watch ’90s throwback music videos, I do that!
Oklahoma sign: Urban Farmhouse in Oklahoma. Sheets: Brooklinen. Comforter: Bed, Bath & Beyond. Circle pillow: Urban Farmhouse in Oklahoma. Throw: Urban Outfitters, similar. Antique window pane: found on the street in Morningside Heights. Antique flour sifter: passed down from grandmother. Rug: Wayfair, similar.
On daily rituals: Quarantining by myself has been tough, but I’m hanging in there. Every morning, Nemo and I go to Café Beit, and I get a coffee and he gets a treat. Then we walk over to the park and he plays for half an hour, while the other dog owners and I shoot the breeze. He likes the routine and I’ve gotten to know the coffee shop owner and my neighbors. In the evenings, we’ll do a super long walk around the park, where I blast music into headphones and let myself be alone in my thoughts. I’ll stop by the bodega below my building where I’m friends with the owner; then I’ll take a completely unnecessary over-the-top bath with candles and bath bombs.
On bedside companions: I tried to keep my bed area simple because there’s no real physical separation between the bed and living room. I also make sure to only be on the bed when I’m in pajamas and ready to go to sleep so there’s mental separation and I don’t feel like I live on my bed. I keep a rotating selection of my favorite books on my nightstand. My all-time favorite is This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, and I’ll read anything by Nora Ephron, who started my love for New York long before I moved here.
On being a good plant mom: My plant watering schedule is a work in progress, but usually whenever I feed Nemo in the morning I take a lap around to see which plant is in need. I don’t really follow any instructions — if a plant looks sad, I give it some water. This also keeps me from having to water everything on the same day which is overwhelming and takes forever.
On a love for dinosaurs: I’ve loved dinos as long as I can remember. Growing up, I watched The Land Before Time a thousand times and had like four birthday parties with that theme. At one point, my mom was like, ok, that’s enough. I have no idea why this carried over to adulthood but did. They’re just so cool and quirky. Can you name another animal that’s the size of a building, but beautiful?!
On adopting Nemo: In March, I was quarantining with family in Oklahoma and the animal shelter was overrun with dogs, so I went there to look for one. I was drawn to a loud, barking one, but my sister was like, ‘No. Pick this little guy in the corner who’s being jumped on by the others.’ So, I held him in my lap and he was just so sweet. Now everyone always stops on the street to talk to him, and all the pet owners love sharing dog tips. He’s a doggy alarm clock/security system. It was love at first sight.
Thank you so much, Emily!
(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo.)