Last year, we moved into a Brooklyn apartment that will (hopefully) be our family’s home for a long time. Thank you so much for asking to see photos! Today, I’m excited to share a few, if you’d like to see…
My whole adult life, I had always been a renter, and it felt thrilling but very, very nerve racking to buy a place. Were we making the right decision? Would our kids like it? Was this neighborhood/city/state where our family will settle? Are we never going to move to California? 🙂 So many questions whirled through our minds. It was such a huge decision! But after house-hunting for four years — with many ups and downs — Alex and I walked into this apartment and fell in love with it. It felt friendly and bright and we could imagine raising our children here.
In the photo above (an office off the kitchen): Roman shades: The Shade Store. Window seat fabric: Pindler. Lumbar pillow: Josef Frank fabric (it used to be on our bed). Shibori pillow: Rebecca Atwood. Side table: West Elm, similar. Orange chair: P’Kolino.
Pendant light: West Elm. New York poster: My Guide To. Blue sofa: Article. Leather sofa: Michael Felix. White lamp base: Land of Nod. White lamp shade: Land of Nod. Coffee table: DWR. Shell chair: DWR. Rug: ABC Carpet. Geometric pillow: ABC Carpet.
On a first-floor apartment: We live on the ground floor for the first time, which is awesome. (Our other NYC apartments have always been on the third or fourth floors.) It’s so nice not to have to walk up many flights of stairs or bother the downstairs neighbors with Anton’s constant running. (He literally doesn’t know how to just walk from one place to another — we laugh about it all the time.) The windows are huge and let in lots of natural light. At first, I wondered if we’d feel like we were living in a fishbowl, but we have shutters that give the room privacy and the boys like watching taxis and garbage trucks out the windows.
On a place to chill: I’m a pack animal and want people around all the time, almost pathologically, so I was psyched that we could fit two sofas into this room for friends and relatives. Also, I never thought a leather sofa would be good with kids, but my friend Jenny pointed out that it’s perfect for families. The scuffs and little spills actually make it look better and more worn in.
On a bar cart: We got this vintage bar cart on Craigslist back when we lived in the West Village but packed it away once Toby learned to crawl — now it’s back, baby!
On family photos: We also put up a big frame wall with family photos. I’ve read that it’s an interior design “don’t” to put family photos in the living spaces (instead, experts recommend relegating them to bedrooms and other private spots) but this is our family home, so oh well! I like seeing our loved ones’ cute faces, especially at the end of a long day.
On counter stools: The kitchen and living room are separated by this counter. It’s been nice to have a few stools — the boys sit here for breakfast and they help me cook things like pizza and cookies. Anton also likes “cheesing,” aka grating cheese to put on anything and everything. (That’s my boy!)
On a kitchen clock: Alex is a watch nerd (I’ll often wake up in the morning, open my laptop and find a million tabs to watch articles), and the one thing he wanted to do in the whole home was choose the kitchen clock. It took him eight months but he came up with this beautiful one. It was a splurge but he made the point that you look at it 100 times every day so it’s worth it.
On hanging art: The deer bed photograph by Katherine Wolkoff is one of my favorite things in our home. There’s something about it that I find so tender and moving. At first, I wasn’t sure if we should hang it in this kitchen area because it’s such nice artwork, but we spend 99% of our time here and wanted to see it and adore it. Also, my designer friend Jenny pointed out that the big artwork pulls the focus away from the TV (which is on the wall just to the right), which I thought was a smart tip.
On the dining room: We feel really lucky to have a small separate dining room. We sometimes have family dinners in here, although to be honest, we still often eat at the kitchen counter with the boys — or later at night, on the sofa watching Peaky Blinders! But it’s so nice to have a space for weekend lunches, holidays and dinner parties.
On carpet: The bedrooms are downstairs, on the “garden level,” which means they’re half below ground. Our past apartments had wood flooring, but this one has jute floors in the bedrooms to keep it warmer and cozier. I really like it — it feels like the carpeted bedrooms we had growing up in Michigan. The jute is soft on bare feet, but for extra coziness, we’ve layered on small rugs, as well.
On the huge black box: Ok, do you see that huge black box at the foot of the bed? Before we moved in, the previous owners asked if we wanted to keep it. At first, I was like, I don’t think so. But then they pressed a remote, and the entire top of the box rose up to reveal a TV! How cool/nuts is that? We took them up on their offer, since we figured it would be fun for the boys during sleepovers, or for guests when they’re staying overnight. When we moved in, Alex and I spent one glorious week cuddling up and watching Quiz Show… but the next thing we knew, Anton was playing in our room and LOST THE REMOTE. Seriously! Now we’re stuck with this giant non-working box, haha. Guys, what do we do now? If you have any ideas, we’re all ears!
On bedroom colors: When we moved in, most of the walls were light gray. To brighten things up, we painted a fresh coat of Chantilly Lace, a crisp white that isn’t too blue or too yellow.
On getting a king bed: Since we’re hoping this will be our home for a long time, Alex and I decided to upgrade to a king bed, and it is not an overstatement to say that this bed has changed our lives. The boys will often come snuggle up in the mornings or take naps here, and I can sleep like a starfish without bothering anyone. It’s the best. Now I finally see what all the king bed hype is about.
On books before bed: I like reading books before bed, and I’ve read some great ones lately, including We Are Never Meeting in Real Life (hilarious) and Behold the Dreamers (couldn’t put it down). Most of all, I adored The Bright Hour, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is a memoir written by a poet/wife/mother dying of cancer. The way she processed her illness seemed so relatable and, I imagine, how many of us might. This line, in particular, about her two young sons has stayed with me: “Their very existence is the one dark piece I cannot get right with in all this. I can let go of a lot of things: plans, friends, career goals, places in the world I want to see, maybe even the love of my life. But I cannot figure out how to let go of mothering them.” Oh, my heart.
On a room with challenges: Anton’s windows are small, so there’s not a ton of natural light in this room. Partly, that’s nice because it’s so dark for his naps. But partly, it was a challenge to make it feel bright and welcoming. We added lamps and also these friendly birds. I’ve always liked wallpaper, but when we rented places, we couldn’t install it — now we’re so happy for a chance to try it! Also, this room turns into the guest room when we have overnight visitors, so we put our old queen mattress in here with a new bed frame.
On sharing a room: Most nights, Anton actually sleeps in here with Toby. Even when they’ve driven each other bats all day, they still cuddle up together. And since Toby has a whale poster, we decided to put waves wallpaper on one of the walls. It feels like an ocean.
On my beloved chair: We’ve had the beaten-up glider since Toby was born. It doesn’t really fit in this room (when you rock, it often scrapes the wall and even rips off some of the wallpaper), but I can’t get rid of it! Alex teases me that it’s like the dad’s chair in Frasier. I rock the boys when they’re sick; and we often read books there at bedtime.
On favorite toys: As a parent, it has been fascinating to see Toby and Anton each gravitate toward certain toys for years. While some toys are fun for a while and then get forgotten, other toys keep their attention forever. For Anton, it’s these drums; for Toby, it’s this bus; and for both boys, it’s Magna-Tiles. It’s hard to predict what will appeal. One thing I adore about Brooklyn is how people leave old things on their stoops all the time — like outgrown bike helmets, shoes, toys, books, etc. — and we often find new-to-us toys that way. It feels like a big sharing system!
Dinosaur lamp: Target.
On cozying up: Even though this apartment has more space than our old ones, we often end up hanging out all together in the same little spots. We’ll frequently pile into Toby’s bed to watch a movie or read books. Those are the moments, most of all, when we feel like we’ve found our home.
Thank you so much for reading, as always. Please let me know if you have any questions! xoxo
~ Salvador Dali