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Our Eclectic Brooklyn Living Room: A Colorful Before And After Transformation

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Our Eclectic Brooklyn Living Room: A Colorful Before And After Transformation

I have a knack for finding homes for sale that have great bones but are listed terribly. Our Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment was one such example. It lingered on the market for over a year until we scooped it up. Lucky us! Read on for the before and after reveal of our beloved Brooklyn living room.

How it started

We moved into our Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment when my son (my first child) was four days old. I was deep in the post-partum haze following a somewhat traumatic c-section delivery and major struggles breastfeeding. We were moving from a much smaller apartment in the Lower East Side, where our furniture was a mish mash of things that my husband and I had before we met each other. Given the circumstances, I wanted a little support getting the apartment furnished and decorated, so I reached out to Homepolish (a design startup that has since gone under) to find a designer to work with. While it wasn’t without bumps, I learned a lot along the way and generally ended up happy with the results.

Post-partum haze in our new Brooklyn apartment
I spent a lot of time in the early days like this, covered in milk and surrounded by boxes

Living Room Before & After 

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Before

Seriously, this apartment had such gorgeous bones. The curved arches, the art deco sconces, the beautiful albeit beat up floors. The list goes on. But why would anyone use this picture for the listing??

Now please enjoy the after:

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Reveal

Clearly we had a lot of fun with this space. 

I love playing with color and really enjoyed the exploration process for this room. We ultimately maximized every possible moment – from a “hidden” desk holding the keyboard, to highlighting the architectural details of the arch, while prioritizing the functionality of the space with entryway pieces that also served as storage.

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Reveal 6

Concepting Our Eclectic Living Room Approach

Our Brooklyn building was a gorgeous pre-war co-op with insanely intricate ceilings in the entry to the building. I wanted to make sure that our approach didn’t feel entirely at odds with the character of the building. I’m all for mixing styles, but wanted to make sure we maintained a connection to the traditional character elements of the building. 

Another priority was comfort. As we began envisioning what we wanted, Bryan and I were absolutely exhausted at this point in our new journey as parents. We wanted comfortable sofas and chairs (and sleep). And with a baby who would soon turn into a toddler, we didn’t want anything to feel too precious.

It’s been a couple years, so I’ll admit that I’m a little embarrassed by some of the inspiration pics I originally pulled for the project. I was definitely leaning a bit too hard into “mid-century boho eclectic.” Here are a few I don’t mind sharing, although my taste has certainly shifted (the Amber Interiors project doesn’t get old to me though).

Amber Interiors Boho Living Room Inspiration
Design: Amber Interiors
Brooklyn Living Room Boho Inspiration
Design: Rose Beltran

After aligning on a general direction, we started out sourcing a rug and sofa. Admittedly we were a little desperate to get settled given the whole sleepless newborn situation.

The rug is one area where I feel like I made a mistake right off the bat. Once it arrived I realized it kind of blended into the floor. I loved the rug itself, but it probably wasn’t the right choice for the room (I eventually replaced it). Also, if I could go back in time I would tell my younger sleepless self to stay in an Airbnb with the newborn for one more week and go ahead and refinish the floors. Hindsight is 20/20. And while I’m being critical, we played it way too safe with the chair. Over the years I have developed a bit of a chair obsession. Chairs are such a fun opportunity to show some personality. This one didn’t, but that’s ok. I’ll blame it on sleeplessness. 

Sourcing living room furniture

From here we started sourcing some of the smaller pieces (accent tables, secretary desk, etc.) and started envisioning what it would look like all pulled together. We didn’t end up going this direction for the secretary, but I don’t hate it. 

Living room furniture inspiration

Getting Funky With Color

Things got really fun when we started going deeper into color exploration. We initially had considered painting the inside of the archways a pale yellow (which I still think would have been cool), but the direction we went with the furniture and accent pieces didn’t really lend itself to that. 

Here are a few images that took us in the direction we ultimately landed. 

Are you starting to see it? The custom keyboard table and wall were painted Benjamin Moore Teal (in Matte Aura).

Custom keyboard rtable
Designing our "hidden" custom keyboard table

At some point we sourced the vintage Lane secretary from Chairish. I think the rich wood hues helped add some dimension and popped beautifully against the teal wall. 

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Reveal 3
Design made complete by Nelson, the sweetest little sidekick ever

I wish we could have gone with a round mirror in the entry way, but we needed something square or rectangular to cover the breaker box underneath.

The boxes on the wall in the entry were made custom, inspired by Kontrast’s Frame Storage System. There really wasn’t much space to work with and we went back and forth on whether to do a slim console table or the wall boxes. I am SO glad we went with the wall approach. We had two babies in that apartment and a console table would have been a nightmare in that space with strollers coming in and out all the time.

Brooklyn entryway mockup
An early mockup of our Brooklyn entryway
Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Reveal 5

Mirror: CB2 (no longer in stock) | Storage System: Custom |
Peace Sign: Burke Decor | Wallpaper: Milton & King

Sourcing Art (My Favorite!)

Sourcing art is one of my favorite elements of any project. I wanted our Brooklyn apartment to feel happy and energetic and I think this really came to life in the art. I’ll be honest I churned over these decisions though.

The art over the sofa is by Joanna Goodman. Her Catalogue of Imaginary Beings is extensive and so fun, and a great go-to for statement pieces that don’t cost a fortune (though be sure to budget in framing if you go large!). 

Clockwise from top left to right over the keyboard we have: Gray Malin’s Llamas and Shapes, two stacked pieces by Sigrid Calon, a piece that I absolutely adore by Kelly Anna London (who I think just rocks), and a funky little piece from Saatchi Art by Matthew Rose. We framed the Joanna Goodman and Kelly Anna London pieces with Framebridge. The rest we purchased framed.

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Living Room Reveal 2

Lamp: Very old West Elm | Throw Pillows: Etsy & Food 52 |
Coffee Table: West Elm | Side Table: Etsy

Below is one of my favorite little vignettes ever. The sketch peeking through the peonies was done by a street artist outside Prospect Park for $20 and it is just so special to me. I think the vase was sourced from CB2.

And there you have it! Our Brooklyn living room makeover complete! Thoughts to share? Questions? Let me know in the comments.

xoxox, A

Design: Me + Deluzuriaga Studios via Homepolish, Photography: Sean Litchfield

Inspiration Images: Emmerson & Fifteenth; The Design Files, Photography: Brooke Holm; Tessa Hop


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Ashley Patterson