Ariel Sun lives with her husband, Simon, and their cat, Mochi, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Her day job is on a tech company’s design team, but during quarantine, she got into painting and created mini masterpieces to hang around their home. How cool is that? Take a look inside…


On apartment perks: First and foremost, the location. We really love our lively, diverse neighborhood, and we’re close to the park and subway. Second, the great sunlight we get in the morning. You start the day in a good mood when those beautiful rays shine in.

Bookshelf: West Elm. Standing desk: Autonomous. Desk riser: Open Spaces.

On a standing desk: My height adjustable standing desk helps me carve out a ‘home studio,’ in which I often spend 10+ hours a day. On weekends, I clear out a surface to draw, paint or read.

Lamp: CB2. Sofa: West Elm

On apartment drawbacks: Our toilet seat! Our apartment is in a small building, and all our neighbors joined a WhatsApp group. One day, a neighbor mentioned that they cracked their toilet seat. A majority of the others immediately responded that their toilet seats had cracked, too. It was then that we found out the building’s developer had installed wrongly-fitted toilet seats in all the apartments. It was a hilarious bonding moment with our neighbors!

On a beloved pet: I’d always known I wanted a cat. Seven years ago, with $5 from my first paycheck from my first ‘big girl’ job, I adopted a cat from a shelter in Harlem. I named him Mochi because he was so round, squishy and sweet. He immediately decided I was his mama and became a source of endless love and laughter.


Ceramic vase: West Elm. Counter stools: Wayfair.

On favorite meals: We love cooking Coconut Curried Golden Lentils and ordering in fish tacos.


Bedframe: CB2. Lamp: Gantri, similar. Pillows: West Elm, similar. Blanket: Zara Home, similar. Print: PSTR Studio.

On daily hobbies: At home, I like to paint, draw, read and practice candlelight yoga after dark.

On things that inspire: The form of any shelled peanut, Vogue’s fashion photography from the ’50s and ’60s, beautiful lamps, Moroccan tiles.

On great books: This year, I gravitated to biographies. I cried reading Alexander Hamilton’s biography as I felt we would have been such soulmates. I also recommend Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder, about 20-year-old Sylvia’s experience as a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine. I admire Sylvia’s enormous talent, her playful mastery of words, and the way she deconstructs the world. I learned she has a poetry collection named Ariel, and I’m eager to give it a read.

On a meet-cute: My husband, Simon, and I met on OkCupid. I stopped scrolling when I spotted a photo of him against an exotic background and realized I was probably the only person on the OkCupid platform who knew the location — the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, a remote, sparsely populated region in Western China, where my mom grew up as a transplant due to my grandfather’s work. But what was this guy doing there? I had so many questions. Luckily, we matched, and the rest is history.

On a new pastime: During quarantine, I started learning how to paint in oil pastels, both as a pandemic hobby and as a way to decorate our home. I was pleasantly surprised by how I could transfer digital drawing techniques I’d learned over the years to painting, and I’ve been learning quickly and having fun. The painting collection is now a big part of the apartment’s style!

Console: West Elm. Purple lamp: Hay. Diffuser: Virtuvi. Wildflower Print: PSTR Studio.

On an emerging collection: I love painting colorful flowers and landscapes. I’m not currently selling any of these little friends, but things are in the works and here’s a link if anyone would like to stay updated on sales. I hope to introduce new pieces to the world soon.

Thank you so much, Ariel! Your home and work is beautiful.

P.S. More house tours, including a cozy Connecticut cottage and a 600-square-foot family home in Vancouver.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)