A Peaceful Abode In Brooklyn

One of my favorite things to read about on design and craft blogs is interior design. I am so interested in learning about how people live, and different ways to create a space that is simultaneously stylish, cozy, and inviting. One of the first times Anne and I ever hung out together, we studied for a psychology exam we drew up blueprints of our respective dorm rooms, and talked endlessly about the best furniture configurations for our spaces. I kid you not!

So, this week we are taking a closer look at my dear friends’ Brooklyn apartment. Brooklyn is special to me, and Heather and Maggie’s apartment is very much on my list of reasons why. They moved in together this past fall, and have been making their apartment a home ever since.

The photos and story below are from Heather, who is simply an all-around artist in my opinion. Her photographs do a wonderful job of capturing the tranquility and creativity that seems to flow freely from her and Maggie’s home. They are both actresses, and Heather is also a beautiful drawer, painter, writer, and baker. Her blog, See, Sort, File, is an incredible archive of her musings on daily life. (I especially like this post.) Anne calls her “a young Lorrie Moore by way of Walt Whitman.”

Below is Heather and Maggie’s story. I hope that you enjoy it, and that these two inspire you to do something creative this week!

From Heather: Maggie and I met when we were eighteen at NYU, where we both studied acting. In keeping with the nomadic New York City lifestyle, we’ve each moved six times in our eight years of living here. Sixth time’s the charm, because this past November we landed a home we both love (and our first home together!) in Bed-Stuy. These days we work as actresses and waitresses, and spend our time at home chatting endlessly, cooking, and moving the couch around. I hope to never, ever move again. (Wish me luck.)

Our new place is actually two blocks away from Maggie’s old apartment. It’s a beautiful thing to move within a neighborhood you know. Signing a lease can feel like a huge leap of faith, like opening a box that will be half full of what you ordered, and half full of something completely different (i.e. a roach problem and a crazy upstairs neighbor), so we were very happy to eliminate any possible unknowns.

We love Bed-Stuy. We’re a five-minute walk away from a yoga studio that Maggie loves, a bakery where we buy foccacia and cacio e pepe sourdough, our favorite pizza restaurant, and a bar where you can usually get a seat and can always get a good drink. It’s an area filled with people of all ages and all ethnicities, with block associations and community gardens and a YMCA. I’ve always said that Brooklyn made me love New York. This neighborhood sealed the deal.

So. Our house! Decorating this place has been all about synthesizing our design sensibilities, which actually just means going through all of our belongings and figuring out what at least one of us really, really liked. We ended up furnishing our whole place with stuff we already had. Much of our furniture is actually from parents, grandparents, or families that I babysit for (!)–hand-me-downs acquired gradually over the past four years. I think the only piece of furniture we bought upon moving was our couch.

Our apartment is on the top floor of a brownstone. It is a 1.5 bedroom, which means that we have a little extra room attached to our bedroom to use as an office and guest room. (This arrangement was a bit de facto… Neither one of us wanted to sell our bed!) Hopefully our guests like very small spaces filled with office furniture.

The thing I think about the most when setting up a living space is how I want to feel inside each room. The living room should be conducive to socializing, the bedroom should be calm and peaceful, the kitchen should be warm and convenient. That, and displaying the items that just make us feel great, are the lines of thought that have driven our space. Maggie has a blanket from her dad that we keep on the couch. We have a little radio that we basically carry from room to room. I have a desk from my parents’ house that I sit at to write. I really believe that if your space makes you feel good, then that’s all that matters.

These things make our space feel like home:

One of the wildest things about our apartment is our view. Even though we’re smack in the middle of Brooklyn, we’re high enough up to see the Manhattan skyline. The sight of the Empire State Building, which towered above our acting studio in college, made this move feel like it completed a circle. These buildings have been with us all the while, and now they continue to accompany us as we change and grow, lighting up the sky with that same strange city magic.

Heather (left) and Maggie (right)

All photos taken by Heather Thiry

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