Design

A Brooklyn Studio Filled With Plants and One Giant Dog

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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…

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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.

LIVING AREA:
Brooklyn studio apartment tour

Concrete table: Target, similar. Trunk: thrifted, similar. Alpaca print: Urban Outfitters.

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!

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

Display case: Ikea. Speaker: Pottery Barn.

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.

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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!

BED AREA:
Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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.

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

Basket vase: bought on a trip in St. Lucia, similar. Fish hook plant: Sprout Home. Lamp: Pottery Barn, similar. Bulb: Canal Lighting & Parts, similar. White vase: West Elm, similar.

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.

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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.

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

Dinosaur planter: Sprout Home, similar. Metal drawers: Urban Outfitters, similar.

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?!

Brooklyn studio apartment tour

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!

P.S. A colorful family home, and Stella’s 175-square-foot studio.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Amy says...

    This apartment is beautiful! How many square feet is it?

  2. Charlie says...

    Living alone in nyc during this time has been a challenge for me and I found this to be an uplifting post with lots of nuggets on how to make this time less solitary and monotonous. Xx

  3. CB says...

    This really got me. It reminded me of one of my favorite times in my life when I lived alone (for 5 years) with my giant dog in a small apartment. All the feels ❤️

  4. Alyssa Leister says...

    I really resonated with this one! The love of plants, the small apartment living, the love of a dog, but mostly the love of dinosaurs!!

  5. janine says...

    Love the apartment, love the dog! I like big mutts and I cannot lie.

  6. Marilla says...

    Thanks for sharing your home with us Emily. I love the way you have separate physical and mental zones within the small space, making it function so well. You’ve also inspired me to do a clean out- if you can reduce a childhood collection of dinosaurs to just one hero one, I can do the same to reduce my clutter! Nemo and you will do well together. I do have one question though, where are your clothes kept?

  7. Cheryl says...

    Thanks for a peek into my life from 1998-2015. I lived in Williamsburg in a little studio like this and it was just fine. I loved the quiet as an introvert, but I I really wish I would have adopted a dog during those times. Having a dog and the responsibility of that little life would have made me a more responsible human being I think!
    Now I’m married with a daughter and a home with a pool and space and all the luxuries and I still think back to that studio with fondness.

  8. Alissa M says...

    Elliott was my maiden name and I always appreciate seeing it spelled *properly* with two Ls and two Ts. ;-)

    • Elisabeth says...

      This is my son’s first name. Spelled properly, of course!

  9. Lindsey says...

    Ok, need to know – how do you do white bed linens with a dog?! I gave up last year, but I miss the bright, crisp look!

    • Emily says...

      I’ve actually been covering my bed with beach towels every single time I get out of it.. It’s not perfect, but it works!

  10. Lauren E. says...

    What a lovely apartment! But it also left me wishing we could see the bathroom. Do you have a cool tub?! If so, I am supremely jealous.

    • Emily says...

      I do! With a mermaid poster and, of course, some more plants:)

  11. mdeck says...

    Sending all my Friday love to Nemo. Good boy!

    • Emily says...

      He says thank you and sent a slobbery kiss your way:)

  12. Rusty says...

    Emily, your space is clearly a home!
    So refreshing to see a real, lived-in home with such depth of curation! The lamp, the trunk, the IKEA cabinet (I’ve been thinking on that one for a few years aaand, I’m going to get it now, because of you!), the unusual wooden sculpture-y thang with the plant, and Nemo!!!
    In @3 months I’ll living alone with my scruffy dawg, Rosie; where I can have all my special things out to appreciate, and to curate my treasures my way, to take a bath just because I want to… so many relatable points.
    Sending you hugz from Australia,
    Rusty x

    • Elisabeth says...

      Ummmm is this Rusty from the Emily Henderson comment section? You’re commenter-famous!

    • Cheryl says...

      Hey Rusty! Sending you hugs from StyleByEmily comments section!
      Definitely famous.

    • Emily says...

      10/10 would recommend the Ikea cabinet! I was shocked by how much I love it. Thank you so much for your kind words, good luck to you and Rosie on your new home together!

  13. JoeG says...

    Lovely in every way! Your happiness shows through. Does Nemo have a spot of his own? Somewhere he likes to be – or does he need to be touching you at all times like many pets (even my cat!)? I imagine if you had a cat it would be constantly trying to knock over all the beautiful plant life.

    • Emily says...

      You guessed it, Nemo’s spot is wherever I happen to be sitting at the moment. He swears he’s a lap dog.

  14. Jenica says...

    Emily, you certainly hit the “homey” feel and I appreciated how real this post is. There is a certain familiarity and authenticity to it which resonates with me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Emily says...

      Thank you so much Jenica!

  15. MICHELE says...

    Love your space and all the special things it holds. I have a trunk exactly like that——-my great grandparents packed all their earthly possessions –and diapers—in it and came to America from Hungary in 1900. I have a feeling that someone did the same with your trunk!!!!

    • Emily says...

      That is absolutely amazing!! I would love to know the story behind mine as well, I’d hope it was just as lovely.

  16. Janey says...

    I love all the plants dotted about the place. Also Nemo! Love him but how on earth do you keep your bedding so clean and white?!? I also have a dog – he’s massive and his paws bring in SO much dirt in winter!

    • Emily says...

      Nemo’s favorite thing is being absolutely filthy, the dog ROLLS in mud at the first available instance. I have a huge bin of towels I wipe him down with the second we come in, and also just do lots and lots of laundry.

  17. cilla says...

    If I lived alone and I lived in NYC, I would live in a place like that.
    And I love how she radiates some energy.

    • Emily says...

      Thank you so much!

  18. Jesse says...

    This filled my cup! I’m so lucky to live in Queensland Australia so COVID lockdowns have been minimal. However I’ve realised it’s been so long since I’ve stepped into a friends house. This month I’ve been craving and devouring any home tours I can find. I find myself desperate to walk inside others homes, see their lives play out in the precious objects they gather around themselves and to find joy in our aesthetic diversity. This was was the cool glass of water I needed today.
    Thanks!

  19. Jess says...

    I love that this apartment looks stylish but easy and comfortable.
    Thank you for adopting, and not shopping, for a pet. A dog always makes a house a true home.

  20. Tricia says...

    “Yep yep yep”. My children were raised on Land Before Time so I watched it a lot and loved it. I love your sweet and happy home. My mom was a minimalist and my dad was the opposite. It looks like you’ve reached a happy medium. When I lived alone it was mandatory that I had pets. It was so important to have someone to talk to. You don’t feel so silly when you can carry on a one sided conversation and your dog listens so intently.

    • Emily says...

      So important! I run all my big decisions by Nemo, he cocks his head to the side and stares at me like mom, I think you can handle this.

  21. Lauren says...

    I love this – a single woman in a space of her own. Yes it’s interesting to see the compromises with partners or with family and sure, maybe some of the other home tours were more polished or bigger spaces but I connect with this one.

    Also really liked the way she hung up the photos, polaroids and other papers and papers and things by her bedside with the washi tape. I’m not sure I have the eye to do something like that on my own but doesn’t mean I won’t try

    • Sarah says...

      “A single woman in a space of her own” – that is both lovely and true!

  22. Ramona says...

    Past, present, future perfectly captured. Charming! 🌿

  23. Emily says...

    Cafe Beit is THE BEST! You’ll have to make a trip back just for that!:)

  24. Amy says...

    Beautiful apartment and cute dog! Thanks for sharing Emily!

  25. This little gem of an apartment makes me so miss my old Brooklyn home!

  26. Maywyn says...

    Lovely apartment. It is rare to see a studio that looks so open and spacious. Love the cloud socks!

    • Emily says...

      Thank you so much! The big windows are my favorite part, definitely contributes to the open feeling even though it’s teensy.

  27. I love that you love dinosaurs! Especially the long-necked “beautiful” variety – I’m a paleontologist who studies this group of dinos, and I totally, 100% agree with your comment! I’ve got to find my own sauropod planter!

    • Omg!!!! That was my absolute dream job when I was a kid, I’m so jealous! So happy we share a love for dinos:)

  28. Nicole says...

    Love this apartment. So bright and cozy. Also, we have the same favorite book- “This is How You Lose Her.” It’s so good it hurts.

    • Emily says...

      It’s so beautiful! I absolutely love his writing, one of the book pages on my wall is actually from there as well. Thanks for the sweet apt comments!

    • elinor says...

      It’s such a great book!

    • Sarah says...

      That’s my favorite, too, and that’s how I came up with my cat’s name three years ago—when my adopted cat, Junot, turned my Brooklyn apartment into a home. :)

  29. AJ says...

    Love love love!

  30. Kate says...

    I LOVE seeing another single lady home tour!! Also, so neat to see antiques in a house tour – I feel like those rarely show up in decor, especially among us millennials. Very unique style of mixing both worlds!

    • JG says...

      Agreed, Katie! There is a series on The Fold called Single Women & Their Spaces (that I LOVE) which you also may enjoy.

  31. Alex says...

    Cafe Beit! Waaaaah! I miss Brooklyn. (crying emoji).

  32. Jenny says...

    Big love to creating a home for yourself for the first time! I’m a studio dweller with my rescue dog, Keeper, and it is a slowly unfurling joy to do shit my own way, but with a friendly, sometimes wiggly, heartbeat beside me. It is hard to imagine giving up the freedom and privacy of my little studio, even as I miss and adore being in the orbit of friends who are getting married, some growing families that include kiddos. I wonder if I’ll look back in these medical school, post-divorce, trail runner days and think the freedom! The bravery! The dinners eaten over the sink with zero dishes! The luxurious friendships! Thank you for sharing your home with us— it’s a joy to see you blooming!

    • Emily says...

      What a beautiful comment, cheersing another single girl! I frequently think the same, those nights I’m cuddled under blankets, drinking tea and watching Dawsons Creek (again) feel fleeting and special.

    • Emma says...

      Jenny, I love your poetic, open-hearted comment. And Keeper is such an incredible name!! Thank you for sharing this with all of us :)

  33. K says...

    Love this one so much. And that oil lamp is magic.

  34. R says...

    This totally made me miss the days of living in a 400 sq ft studio. It’s so true – forces you to really assess what you need. Now I have so much stuff and I miss this compact lifestyle – it made moving sooooo easy. My studio never looked this cute though!!

  35. Kate Ostler says...

    Speaking of Cafe Beit – I want to spotlight illustrator and artist Lauren Simkin Berke who illustrates and does hand-lettering for Cafe Beit – so much talent, whimsy, and consideration – on instagram @lsberke

  36. SJ says...

    What a cute and charming apartment! And what a sweet dog. Quarantine pets are the best! I adopted my sweet Chihuahua Terrier, Maple in 2020 and she’s made my life so much better.

    • Emily says...

      Maple is the most adorable name! They honestly are, I can’t imagine life before Nemo.

  37. Steph G says...

    Love this sweet homey apartment! Looks oh so cozy, especially with Nemo. Any chance y’all/she could share how her bed looks so comfy and puffy? I’m trying to find a really comfy mattress topper and hers looks perfect!

  38. K. says...

    Thank you Emily for rescuing a dog. You can see the love between you both :-)

  39. Cynthia says...

    What a cozy apartment! Dogs do think they own your home, because ours does. I love the trunk! I have a round top trunk that was in my mom’s family and I use it to store fabric and sewing supplies. It adds character to my sewing room.

  40. liz says...

    love this one!! cute but stylish but simple but fun!

    I also love “This is How You Lose Her”! The author went to my alma mater (RU!)

    thanks for sharing!! (and sorry for all the exclamation marks. they felt needed)

  41. Jackie says...

    I’m so curious – how many square feet is your place? I have a lab puppy and have been looking at studios. Just not sure I can do it!

    • l says...

      As someone who as a lab in the city, I personally wouldn’t do it! Just for dog hair accumulation reasons alone. Although, we lived in a 1 bedroom for a long time and it was fine, which can’t be much larger (although it does feel larger). If my dog snored though, it would def be a no to be in a one room place!

    • Emily says...

      I think it’s around 400 square feet. The pups definitely add another layer but it’s doable for sure!

  42. lauren says...

    I adore your apartment, Emily and Nemo, and I echo your dinosaur enthusiasm! BUT,

    “Can you name another animal that’s the size of a building, but beautiful?!”

    [Mötley Crüe voice]
    WHALES, WHALES, WHALES

    • Milou says...

      I thought the exact same thing! LOL!

    • Meredith says...

      “[Mötley Crüe voice] WHALES, WHALES, WHALES” – will now live in my brain forever and I love it. Thank you Lauren!

  43. Joy says...

    Well that was a missed opportunity to write ‘On finding Nemo’ ;).

    • Alexa says...

      lololol i thought the same thing!!! there is still time!

    • Lisa says...

      Yessssss! CoJ please change one if the sub heads.

  44. Gina says...

    Loved the dinosaur part since my toddler daughter is in that same dinosaur stage right now!

    • Emily says...

      That’s amazing! Hopefully she’ll never outgrow it either:)

    • Sarah says...

      My two daughters are also in a huge dino stage now, and it is rubbing off on me! They really are interesting. The kids like to quiz me on dino facts at dinner.

      Also, Emily, your pandemic daily routine sounds wonderful!

  45. celeste says...

    Her relationship with her dog is like mine, very sweet! They say when dogs reach over and touch you they are sharing the love. Wondering what she produces.

    • JJ says...

      If you click on her name it’ll take you to her site and you can see all her work!

    • Emily says...

      So cool you have a sweet pupper too. Not sure what I would do without Nemo, dogs are just the best, right? I’m a photo/video creative producer to answer your other question.

  46. Kat says...

    Yay an oklahomie!

    • Ashley says...

      Fellow Oklahoma girl here!

      I love all the plants!

    • Deb in Oklahoma says...

      Oh, you beat me to it! Always proud of our little Okies who go do Big stuff in the Big world. (And then get featured on the CoJ site!)

    • Oklahoma girls for life!

    • HH says...

      Ditto! From another (snowed in) Okie!