interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: cathy + erik

by anne

today’s second stellar sneak peek comes to us from swedish designer cathy gedda westrell and her fiance erik. their williamsburg, brooklyn home in is a small, restored bakery and the bakery was actually active up until the construction started. both being from sweden (a country that’s dark 7 months of the year) they knew they needed something white and airy. the result is fantastic, and i love some of the creative solutions they’ve come up with for their home (especially the knobs on the dresser and photo wall of friends). click here for more, full-sized images, and here for more of cathy’s work. [thanks, cathy!] -anne

[above: Our livingroom is finally starting to feel complete. It took some experimenting. The perfect side board with sliding doors under the TV is from a warehouse in Dumbo. We needed the height of it to be very specific and finally found this one that was made for us! Color is a vital part of our life and especially in our home, and I just had to buy the orange Eames chair for Erik last Valentine’s Day. It lights up the room. The sofa table is a flea market find and the pillows in the sofa are from Svenskt Tenn in Sweden.]

The black sideboard is actullay from Target and was under $100. I just bought new knobs at Anthropologie to make a bit more fun. It’s become the perfect spot for some of my beloved design books, flowers, photos and of course Erik’s globe. The drawing of the marble statue is a gift from an old friend from design school in Stockholm, Sweden. He moved to NYC after we graduated and started studying fine art instead. Guess he grew tired of the computer.

The green Eames chairs are ebay finds which proved to be a lot of hard work. We bought the shells without the bases and when we eventually bought 4 bases they didn’t match. We had bought the wrong bases. Finding the right shock-mounts was practically impossible and seemed to cost more than the chairs themselves. After many hours on the computer, talking to helpful people in the know and a lot of hard physical work, we managed to assemble our amazing chairs. And it was worth every minute of it. The big table in solid oak is from IKEA, one of our best buys. The lighting arrangement above the dining table is all Erik’s. This was “his” thing to make in the apartment. He spent countless hours at Home Depot and online to find the right light bulbs and cords. With a little help from an electrician we got it the way we wanted it. The poster with the adorable message Like Forever is a limited edition from Village.

The first thing we did in our bedroom was paint the brick walls white. Our amazing contractor thought we’d totally lost it when he saw it a few weeks later. This was a job we will never do again though. I almost had a melt down after painting for several hours and realizing that I had only covered a small patch. It took the two of us a whole weekend to paint this. But it was worth it! Now it doesn’t feel like sleeping in a prison cell. But things can get too white and we decided to paint the wall behind the bed a dark brown/grayish color. Much better! Because of the high ceiling we needed curtains with extra length, we found these great silk ones at Restoration Hardware.

The bed spread is from a local store here in Williamsburg called Sleep. As a skilled ebay buyer I spent some well invested time looking for mid-century furniture and we found our small, miss-matching night stands in Germany. The cost of them together worth shipping was still so much cheaper than buying anywhere in New York.

Our photo wall is an on going project and it keeps growing. Being away from family and friends is the downside of living abroad, but this way we get “see” them every day.

We have a really long hallway and needed to find both the perfect credenza that could swallow a lot of junk and a carpet that was the exact right size. The credenza with 9 drawers is another amazing ebay find from Long Island actually. The great carpet which we love is from Dash & Albert. The hanger is from Design Within Reach and designed by, who else, Charles and Ray Eames. Love their work!

The kitchen was my biggest joy when we moved in. From having a tiny kitchen in Manhattan with literally a mini bar as a fridge, no fan and a non working oven, this was heaven! We started cooking at home a lot and still do. Wine and food are two important ingredients in our life and we love having people over for dinner.

We are both big Converse fans and I love stacking them on top of each other in all different colors. It just look pretty and playful and it makes me happy.

Instead of putting up shelves for books and magazines we simply stacked them in piles on the floor. We are magazine junkies and the piles grow higher and higher every week. I have always had my books this way, even back in Sweden, but some day when I grow up I might invest in a proper book shelf.

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  • it’s been said before but you guys seriously need some proofreading help:

    finace instead of fiancé?

    c’mon, ladies!

  • Oh, my goodness… This home is so gorgeous and ingenious! It seems really comfortable and fun, with a bit of photogenic polish. Very nice!

  • Nice digs. I like how the books look stacked against the wall, when it’s done right it looks good. I wish I could get away with it but my damn back ain’t what it use to be!

  • It’s nice…but i’m getting a little tired of the “for like ever” poster, the eames chairs, the globe, the books stacked by same colored spines. It definitely looks nice, but the repetition is slowly dumbing these innovative ideas into more cookie cutter design.

  • This is my favorite sneak peek you’ve done. It’s a very inspiring place. Thanks!

  • Lovely, I especially like the bedroom, it’s light yet moody – great job, it’s a tricky balance.

  • I love this style, (colorful, cheery, and homey,) but it seems as though we’ve seen it a million times. It’s like the homeowners read a book on the current trends and then went out and bought one of everything. I’m surprised that I didn’t see a “Keep Calm” poster.

  • I love this style, (colorful, cheery, and homey,) but it seems as though we’ve seen it a million times. This place in particular looks like a magazine for everything “current.”

  • beautiful home.

    to me, this is the perfect balance of minimalism versus “stuff.” its seems open, airy, and uncluttered, without feeling cold or unlivable. love it!


  • i like your oven! can you tell me what it is? look nice but not like everything else out there you see. thanks!

  • Jill, I actually feel a need to “defend” myself a bit. Living in a foreign country for a limited amount of time makes it hard to create a personal home. Despite that I feel we have managed to make ourselves a beautiful and personal home to live in. Consider the fact that all of our old furniture and small peices of art and other stuff are still in Sweden. All the small and big things we have inherited and collected over the years are not here. We moved here not knowing how long we would stay and still don´t know how long we will be able to stay here. So yes, everything here is “new”. But we love it and bought it not because it´s “current” or “trendy”, but because we actually feel it represent who we are and it will def come back with us to Sweden whenever we move back.

  • I love the warm yet clean and modern look of this home. What a hard balance to achieve to be a little bit stark, but still completely livable!

  • I love the red plate in your kitchen (are those elephants? very lucky as well as cute!). Can you tell me the source? Thanks!

  • Cozy place. Great use of space, great balance or color with neutral tones. Love the kitchen towel and apron, of course I’m always looking at patterns.

  • Cathy + Erik – I love your place! I’m wondering if you can pass along the knowledge you gained to make the exposed light bulb fixture over the dining room table – I love it and would like to do something similar for my space. I’d love any advice you could pass along!! Thanks!

  • love this home. looks so livable, warm and personal. tho some of the items have been seen elsewhere on the blogosphere, mixed with this couple’s unique pieces and choices (bedside tables, lighting (love the hanging bulbs), painting of bricks (and those not painted)), I think it all comes together to create a unique and homey place. I’m in genuine like.

  • it looks amazing. I love the light fixtures above the table–very innovative! I adore the little touches like the books stacked on the floor and the bright colored roses. Beautiful!

  • i love this home! so many great ideas.

    p.s. typos = human = good design.

    besides, over editing is for print and legislation

  • Cathy,
    You have a gorgeous space and there is a reason that Americans love Scandinavian design! Because it’s great design. It is classic, uncluttered but at the same time interesting and colorful. I am a professional organizer and know that there are a lot of people that wish they could live as clutter free and as beautifully as this. I love everything even down to the Converse shoes which coincidentally I am starting to wear again. I think I will pick up those salmon pink next. No need to defend yourself. I appreciate your sharing with us. It is inspiring.

  • i love your place!!!! so much! i allways tought that a cieling like yours would only work in a loft but it works amazing in you place! and your bedroom was totally worth the white paint!!!!! so amazing! great work guys!

  • The rooms are very lovely and light-filled and I love the use of color.

    But, a lot of the items read like a grocery list of what’s current and popular. Globe, Eames chairs, big Pottery Barnesque mirror to lean against wall, For Like Ever poster, Chinese lantern lighting, 60’s style credenza, zinc letters, books arranged by color, Eames Hang-It-All for coat rack. Check, check, check, check.

    I understand that the homeowners are new to the States and perhaps here only temporarily. But, there is so much more out there – especially in New York, where they live.

  • i love your space. so uncluttered, and a great mix of mcm and ikea.

    i am curious about the eames chairs, did you change the position of the shock mounts?

    i have the same ikea dining table and bought a set of 4 eames stacking base chairs to go with it, but the bases are too wide to fit under the table. i have been considering moving the shock mounts to accommodate a different base but have never found anyone who successfully did this.

  • I think I have to rather agree with Paisley and Jill. There’s a few of us that dare to go against the crowd. Although, I even have to stop myself from getting too caught up in the trends. I have to remind myself to allow myself to think a bit more about what I personally like regardless of what’s all over the blogsphere and in magazines. We should all give ourselves a chance to think of our own creative ideas before we go stack up our converse shoes the same way. I’d like to see something a bit more daring. A bit more unusual. That’s what’s always the most inspiring to me. But in their defense, it’s simple, clutter free, and hip, and liveable and that’s why it’s being duplicated everywhere.

  • Hmm… I like this place, as I said before, and it really doesn’t strike me as “trendy”. It’s very scandinavian and here in Danmark this style would rather be considered classic. I don’t know what homes in the US looked like 10 years ago but here, this style has been around for as long as I can remember. And since the owners are Swedes I guess they’ve tried to create that, a classic style.

  • I’ll have to echo the sentiments of Paisley, Jill and Chelsea… it is simple and lovely, but achieved with very predictable design elements.

    The last photo with two of the same Wayne Pate prints clinched it.

    It all adds up to look a bit too much like the dressed show units in one of the million new Williamsburg condominiums.

  • Thanks for all the nice comments. Thought I´d answer some of your questions. The floor is hardwood that we sanded and painted white. Not the most practical solution, but we love it. The sofa is from Room&Board. The oven is from an brand called Jenn-Air. The red tray is from Svenskt Tenn, but Emma already answered that one ;) I can´t remember what the bedroom wall color is, but we got it from Benjamin Moore. They have so many great colors and the staff is so helpful. Stay away from the Home Depot paint dept… The light bulbs are from Edison. Just bring a picture of a lighting ficture you like to Home Depot or somewhere similar and they´ll help you. We bought the black cords at Lowe´s. As for the Eames chairs, yes me removed the old shockmounts (with hammer and sharp tools), then sanded it down to a smooth surface and glued on new ones. It was not easy trying to get the old rubber off, especially as you are working with fiber glass. We googled our way to the right method and just tried to get it right. It´ll work! Just make sure you do your research.

  • I am amazed on how easy it is for some people to write nasty comments about someones home. Please show us your homes, and let us all know what “real” and “personal” style looks like. Maybe everyone who puts their home on ds should be prepared for these kind of comments.. . But come on people, do it better yourselves! Especially the ones of you who claim that you can do it so much better. Show us ;) I´ve been to a lot of show units in search for my own apt, and you can´t seriously claim that this one looks like them?

  • This is one of my favourite sneak peeks! They’ve done such a good job on such small space! All the details are fantastic, I love the dining area. I’m swedish myself so perhaps it is bound to appeal me.

  • It’s really neat how nothing matches but as a whole everything meshes really well. This is comforting, since I don’t think I’ll ever want to invest in a set of furniture or have to stick to one color palette. Now I know an eclectic mix of things can work!

  • having moved across the ocean recently myself this place really speaks to me. especialy in new york where there is so much going on outside and everything is so run down i think this is the perfect retreat from all the bustle. fresh, clean, bright. no clutter, not overdecorated, no schick-schnack. it´s like what do you put in your suitcase when you travel? some small favorite pieces. then you try to assimilate in the new surroundings but also stay true to your roots and you focus on the necessities since who knows where you´ll live next. plus the appartments here are sooooooo small!!! perfect home away from home!

  • oh, i absolutely ADORE your home. The perfect mix of modern and vintage, neutrals and pops of color. It might look like it came together easily, but I’ve seen so many homes try to achieve this style and grace and not come close. Beautiful Design!!

  • I am not tired of the modern Scandinavian style. Some furniture pieces were designed half a century ago – they are classic pieces. I would be in heaven living in this space. The accent colors in the living room, bedroom and kitchen is well done. I will showcase it for sure.

  • “helpful,” dearie, Anthropologie is a fantastic store, not a typo.

    and, Cathy, your home is beautiful!

  • There have been no “mean” comments posted about these photos. This sneak peak shows a home that IS beautiful and DOES use several familiar trends. What are we coming to if any bit of commentary that’s not entirely approving and effervescent is labeled “mean?”

    As a design junkie, I frequently seek the opinions of my kids, friends, neighbors or anyone else who will indulge me. If they don’t love my décor, or don’t get it, or even if they get it, but hate it, so what? It’s still interesting to hear their points of view. I’m not going to cry myself to sleep because someone doesn’t like the mirror I’ve hung above the fireplace. I listen to their constructive criticism and continue on my own path to décor heaven blissfully.

    Discourse , both pro and con is what makes these posts – and life interesting!

  • love love love. love it all! we actually have the bird print also. so jealous of your hallway credenza from long island!!! we are on the hunt for a perfect herman miller shell rocker– maybe we’ll find it at the brooklyn flea in the spring. :) our style is very similar! maybe we should have you over to our place in fort greene and we can talk design! :)

  • This seems like such a comfortable and cheery place to come home to. I love it!

    Does anyone know where I can find the bird prints in the living room?

  • i absolutely love this. i think it looks so bright and fresh!

    sure, eames chairs are trendy, but they are also very, very beautiful :) and i looooove the lights above the dining table too. very… edison-y.

    and as for the search for the perfect credenza, i sympathise. :D

  • I love this place too. Especially since apts. in NY can be so dark and warren like. It is too bad that when certain good design becomes popular it is considered *trendy* and you should not use it any more! Ha! If you like it, you should use it. Design & decoration is always personal even if others have done similar things. Cathy + Erik – if you want to find cool stuff cheap, come to the thrift stores in PA, a nice weekend drive.

  • I think this is the most inspiring sneak peek of all so far for me. It’s more personal though since I plan on moving back to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and hopefully buying an apartment. I absolutely love everything she did with this place. The bedroom looks like a beautiful little modest love nest. :)

  • Kind of… I don’t wanna say boring because that’s not the right word, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m looking at an IKEA catalog =/

  • I just found this website. What brand is your stove and vent? I am about to re-do the kitchen and I love the simple lines of your stove.