Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

My Home Tour

I’m taking a break from featuring reader home tours, but I finally took some photos of my own place one day after a deep cleaning and thought I’d share them with you (full disclosure: I first submitted a few of them to Apartment Therapy, my favorite design site, in hopes of having the apartment featured, but no one there ever responded. Boo). In the interest of continuity, I’ll fill in the same questionnaire I’ve had readers answer in the past:

Your Name: Wendy!

Where is the location of your home? Brooklyn, New York (Prospect Heights).

What type of property is it? A rental apartment in a brownstone.

How many years have you lived there? Two years.

How many people (and pets) reside there? Two very sane and rational adults, one crazy baby, and two crazy cats.

What’s your favorite thing about your home? It’s a three-way tie: central air; washer and dryer; dishwasher. The big walk-in closet is a very close second. The terrace takes third place.

If you could change one thing about it, what would that be? Another tie: bigger and more natural light. It’s a typical New York apartment in that it’s very small (the living room is essentially a hallway, and somewhat cave-like, especially in the middle where there are no windows. But these are minor issues (well, eventually the size issue will be a deal-breaker, but we’re not there yet); I love this apartment and am very happy here.

I had two inspirations when thinking about decorating this place: I wanted it to feel like a boutique hotel so that we might always imagine we’re on vacation; and I wanted to incorporate the colors of the beach because I love the beach and don’t get to go enough anymore, so we painted the walls the colors of sand, sea, sun and sky.

Lots more photos after the jump:

The framed poster is a picture of a bridge in Central Park (I found it on Fab.com–love that site!). Drew proposed to me on a bridge in Central Park. On the table is a photo that my sister took at our wedding reception — it’s one of my favorites. And the lamp belonged to my paternal grandparents; my parents bought it for them when my parents lived in Japan, where I was born.

I love this little corner and I wish I could say we used it more. I envisioned it being a reading corner, but the truth is I do most of my reading either in bed before I go to sleep or on the subway. The blue chair got a lot of use during Jackson’s early months when we were feeding him around-the-clock. I found the stacking tables on Craigslist, the lamp at a thrift shop, and the air plant at a flea market. The chair was a splurge that we bought new from Room & Board (one of few things we’ve bought brand new). The blanket was from my in-laws and the pillow I found on Etsy.

Another splurge was this king-size bed. Most relationship experts would probably advise against a king-size bed, but we love it. There’s plenty of room for us, Jackson, and the two cats on a cozy Sunday morning. The framed postcards above the bed were collected from all the places Drew and I have traveled together, including New Jersey (don’t knock it ’til you try it) and Rock Falls, Illinois (where one of my besties grew up).

Our bedroom furniture belonged to my maternal grandparents who bought it when their kids were small (in the 50s). The set was kept in the bedroom where I always stayed during the summer, so there’s something very comforting about having it in my bedroom as an adult. There’s a lot of history in them drawers. Oh, and there’s a shout-out to Chicago, my home away from home.

The framed pictures above the table are a few of Drew’s old comic strip, “The Adventures of a Tuna Fish Sandwich.” There’s also a black and white Mr. T salt and pepper shaker on the table — a housewarming gift from a friend — which is probably the second biggest conversation-starter piece in the place).

The kitchen! Can you spot the dishwasher in this photo?

I scored those screens at a garage sale. The plant stand is from a thrift store, as is the bench, which I painted red because it’s my favorite accent color. The china cabinet, my favorite piece of furniture we own, belonged to my great-great-grandparents and most recently spent several decades in my grandparents’ basement. That shit is old.

Booze and babies!

The booth — the top conversation piece. Drew got it years ago at a restaurant wholesale shop that was going out of business. It’s totally clawed up from the cats, hence the blanket.

The “office.” Of course, the office used to be what is now Jackson’s room. When trying to figure out where we could move our desk and carve out a little corner of the apartment for work — essential for someone like me who works from home — this was my solution. It works pretty well.

Guess whose room this is. Shelf from Craigslist (we painted it “Jackson blue”). Lamp from Target. Art work by ME (it’s an owl collage made out of an origami). Drew’s cousin had the cute footstool made (the design matches Jackson’s bedding).

There’s the little stinker! The dresser is from a flea market and is the perfect size for a little boy’s room. We replaced the hardware with pulls I found at Anthropologie. The trunk was a Craigslist find.

The three framed illustrations above the chair are Drew originals. The chair is a Craigslist find that we had reupholstered with fabric we found at Mood – THE Mood. Crane mobile from Etsy. Curtains from Urban Outfitters. The paintings in back are from a flea market in Beijing.

“Let me out, Mama! I wanna play!!”




46 comments… add one
  • LolaBeans August 22, 2012, 2:09 pm

    beautiful apartment, wendy!!! i love the booth!!

    i love that it has meaning to the both of you. very cool! also, it doesnt look all the small! how many sq ft is it? is it one floor or two?

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  • Jessibel5 August 22, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Love, love, love the paint color in the living room. Do you remember what it’s called?

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 2:15 pm

      I don’t remember offhand, but I’ll see if I can find the paint can later that might have the name on it.

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      • Christy August 22, 2012, 3:38 pm

        I painted my bedroom a similar color, and that was Behr Sliced Cucumber.

  • bittergaymark August 22, 2012, 2:18 pm

    After all this time, I still think the coolest thing about your very groovy pad is those old postcards above the bed. You could even keep adding to them as you collect more and acquire enough to do so evenly… There could be easily several more rows and you’d have even that more impact.

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  • iwannatalktosampson August 22, 2012, 2:21 pm

    I love your decoration style. Everything is so unique and personal!

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  • jlyfsh August 22, 2012, 2:22 pm

    love your floors! i keep trying to convince the realtor who manages our property to redo the floors. no matter what i do i can’t make them shine!

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  • Cara August 22, 2012, 2:24 pm

    I loooove fab.com!!! They have so much awesome stuff, and I love ordering stuff online, because I usually forget about it (because I´m often drunk when online shopping, obvs), and then it´s like getting a present in the mail.

    And then I see the bill.

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  • Rachel August 22, 2012, 2:27 pm

    I love your home Wendy! I wouldn’t even know where to start in decorating a home, I feel like my apartment still looks like a college student lives there. But you have so many lovely touches that make it YOURS and it all looks like it fits.

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    • Brad August 23, 2012, 12:03 am

      If you saw my apartment you’d probably feel better. (Think bachelor pad stereotypes minus unframed posters on the wall).

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  • Fabelle August 22, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Ahh, it’s so cute! I love everything, but especially the booth– that is so fucking cool.

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  • quixoticbeatnik August 22, 2012, 2:43 pm

    I love those booths! And the kitchen! OH, the kitchen. So pretty. I love your place!

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  • Lianne August 22, 2012, 2:47 pm

    Such a seemingly effortless aesthetic. Love!!

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  • kerrycontrary August 22, 2012, 2:48 pm

    I love everything! I finally have some spending money so I’m going to finish decorating my tiny apartment. I never decorated when I moved in over a year ago because I didn’t know how long I would be there, but I think it’s finally time to spend some money on new pictures/frames.

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  • MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I love that you made collages! My boyfriend and I bought a bunch of old TIME and LIFE magazines from ebay (50’s, 60’s etc) and did some collaging. We each have a scrapbook filled with different designs. He had one of my better ones framed for Christmas one year.

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  • Heather August 22, 2012, 2:52 pm

    If I ever get to come to NYC, can I stay with you? Your place looks exactly what I would imagine a NYC apartment to look like.

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  • LM August 22, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Wendy, Jackson is way too cute for his own good! He and Drew are absolutely adorable! And, I love your taste and style… can you please, please, please come to San Diego and redecorate my house?

    P.S. Bring Jackson! He and my baby can play!!

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  • Eagle Eye August 22, 2012, 3:02 pm

    As a fellow apartment therapy obsessive I would like to say that your place is just as awesome as the home tours they regularly show (if not more so!)

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  • Wendy August 22, 2012, 2:13 pm

    Thanks! It’s one floor. I want to say it’s around 900, 950 sq? The terrace might boost it to 1050 sf or so (no, not tiny by NY standards, but certainly not like the homes my friends and family live in outside the city; it’s easier to keep clean though, and cheaper to furnish).

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  • Kristina August 22, 2012, 2:21 pm

    I love it! I love all the personal artwork. And I love all the mirrors too.

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  • Lydia August 22, 2012, 3:26 pm

    God, I envy your decorating skills. Everything looks so cool and put together!

    Also, is that a ukulele in your bedroom? Do you or Drew play?

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 3:31 pm

      Drew and Jackson are the family musicians. And Simone when she’s taking her clarinet lessons.

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  • Lili August 22, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I Love your style! I wish I had foresight to know how to tie pieces together. And the booth—now I want one so bad. What a unique and fun kitchen item.

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  • TheOtherOtherMe August 22, 2012, 4:00 pm

    Ohhhh, I have a serious case of apartment envy now.

    I LOOOOOVE the king size bed. Why would relationship experts ever counsel against one? I am 6 foot and my boyfriend is 6’4″, and before we got a king-size bed we argued ALL THE TIME about sleep space (meaning he hogged all of it, and I had to retreat to a tiny corner of the mattress where I huddled miserably). I was sleep-deprived constantly. Now that we have a HUGE bed, we both get to cuddle when we want, but also get enough space to spread out and and sleep COMFORTABLY after cuddling is over 🙂 That mattress saved our relationship!

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    • Addie Pray August 22, 2012, 4:02 pm

      It’s TOOM! 😉

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    • HmC August 22, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Relationship experts counsel against King sized beds? How odd. Like being a few extra inches closer while you’re asleep is good for the relationship or something?

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    • MaterialsGirl August 22, 2012, 4:38 pm

      I am 6 feet as well (boyfriend is 6’3″). King bed is a must. I can’t believe in college I used to squeeze onto a futon with the (ex) boyfriend. yikes

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 4:03 pm

      My mom is 6′ and my dad is 6’4″, like you and your bf respectively, and they won’t sleep in anything BUT a king-sized bed.

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    • Addie Pray August 23, 2012, 12:13 am

      hey, think i should get a king-sized bed to help lure a tall man into the bed – is that one way to do it?

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      • McLovin August 23, 2012, 1:10 am

        the bed is the least of your worries. And I’m sure that you don’t have many worries.

    • Jessibel5 August 23, 2012, 1:25 pm

      King sized mattress saved ours too, for the exact same reasons!

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  • TaraMonster August 22, 2012, 3:11 pm

    This makes me want to do a tour of my teeny Manhattan apartment. Three pictures and I’ll be done! We might be neighbors because I’m thinking of leaving the LES for Prospect Heights! I’m tired of living in a shoebox. I want to live in a closet instead! 😀

    But you should submit your home tour to OffBeatHome.com! Your angle could be that most of the items in your home have sentimental and personal meaning. I’m all about furnishing your home with awesome personal items.

    I have a few hippy dippy notions about sustainable living. Nearly all the furniture in my place was purchased off Craigslist, from thrift stores, found on Freecycle, or was gifted to us, which I take pride in. Except for my bed and mattress- those were purchased brand new. This is NY after all and ya know- bed bugs. Ew.

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    • Wendy August 22, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Leaving Manhattan for Prospect Heights was one of the best things that ever happened to my emotional health.

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  • Addie Pray August 22, 2012, 4:23 pm

    Wendy, I love your apartment and style – these things in particular: the colors, the booth, and the lamp that belonged to your paternal grandparents. Red is a nice accent color but I think an even cuter one is Jackson; he really livens up the place.

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  • Samantha August 22, 2012, 3:57 pm

    The booth is great! You have really great taste – I’m totally envious!

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  • landygirl August 22, 2012, 5:29 pm

    Very nice. I love the kitchen and the wood floors. I also love the green paint color on the walls. Jackson, Drew and the kittehs are cute too.

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  • Caris August 22, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I LOVE how everything looks.

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  • Wendy August 22, 2012, 5:51 pm

    Thanks for the compliments, everyone!

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  • katie August 22, 2012, 7:13 pm

    wendy, i wish i could decorate like you! wanna have an excuse to fly to chicago?


    also, yea, no king size beds? ive never heard that..

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  • fast eddie August 22, 2012, 7:23 pm

    Small isn’t a bad thing, my mom’s house was 750 sq. ft. In 1945 we only had coal for heat and to make hot water. She made a few improvements in 65 years but no expansion. Anyhow the pictures of your place looks great. I have no sense of decor or color so…

    We haven’t heard anything about Miles and Simon lately. Have they adjusted to Jackson and so on? It’s nice to see Miles in the photos and Jackson is cuter all the time.

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    • Daisy August 23, 2012, 1:58 am

      Everything is relative with apartment size — my boyfriend and I managed shockingly well in a 260 square foot studio for nearly a year, and now our new 640 square foot place is like a palace! He’s visiting his parents this week, and I’m like beside myself to be alone with so much space haha.

      In any case, I also think Wendy’s apartment is just beautiful! The antique furniture is especially special. I’d be thrilled if we’d eventually inherit some of my bf’s grandmother’s things, it looks like she has a similar style to Wendy’s grandparents.

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  • Anna August 22, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I know I said it before but I love love love your floors. That’s exactly what I want my floors in my new house to look like someday. And yes, I found the dishwasher. It has a wood covered door to match everything else in the kitchen which is really cool.

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  • Liz August 22, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Lovely place! Def looks like a nice atmosphere for writing. Love all the wood accents.

    Ah, growing up in Queens I’ve wandered past brownstones in Brooklyn many times, always wondering about the amazing decor that surely lurks inside some of ’em..I hope to have my own one day!

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  • MsMisery August 23, 2012, 1:31 pm

    Such a cool place. And central A/C, in-unit laundry, walk-in closet, diswasher, AND a terrace in an APARTMENT? You scored!!!

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  • Nigeria August 23, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Beautiful Wendy! I love your apartment, it’s airy with a lot of personality. I love the functionality and affordability of the pieces as well. Thanks for sharing! BTW Jax is so precious 🙂

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  • Patrick Turner August 24, 2012, 8:58 am


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