interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: whimsy & spice

by anne

back in 2004 when jenna of whimsy & spice was apartment shopping with her partner (in life and business), mark, she never dreamed that she would end up in a new construction building, particularly in a neighborhood like park slope which has such beautiful brownstones. they were already living in the neighborhood on the top floor of an old townhouse but after going to endless open houses, but this apartment had the key features they were looking for: space (1350 sq ft), 3 bedrooms, good light, an open, airy feel, a bit of outdoor space (2 balconies), no renovations needed, a great public school district and most importantly, an elevator for jenna’s back problems (which eliminated carrying groceries, a heavy baby and a stroller up 2 flights of stairs). she says the trade-off is that it has no architectural interest and the bathroom and kitchen fixtures scream mid-2000 construction, but they’ve worked on making it a comfortable home that they’ve grown to love and will serve as the (eventual) base of operations for whimsy & spice. i love how jenna’s experience in graphic design adds so much to their business and home – such great style.  click here for more images of this lovely home and here for jenna’s delicious recipe for peach ginger ice cream blondies! {thanks, jenna!}anne

[above: This wall is on the north end of our apartment in between a window and sliding doors to the balcony. All the furniture are ebay finds, the pillows are ones I made from Hable Construction remnants and the print is a tour poster from Small Stakes. ]

In general our apartment is fairly neutral. The living room has very pale gray walls, a rich velvet blue chair from Room and Board, a bluish-gray sofa, also from Room and Board and black and yellow accents.

The bookcase was the first major piece of furniture I purchased after I finished grad school. I bought it at a furniture store on Broadway in the Village and we use it to separate the living room from the dining and kitchen areas. The main space is just one big room.  Sometime last year I banished all toys from the living area but kept the toy kitchen so the kids can cook next to Mark. The kitchen is on the other side of that narrow black wall.

This wall is opposite the couch and features another chair I got on ebay. It arrived with the ugliest, brownest upholstery you can imagine so I immediately started working on covering the cushions literally a half hour after the chair arrived.

CLICK HERE for the rest of jenna’s sneak peek after the jump!


We have this weird area by our entryway where we have 2 doors next to each other. Our elevator opens right into our apartment and then we have a door to the stairwell right next to that. It’s a bit of a design challenge as it really creates no foyer area in our apartment. We recently painted it a slighter darker gray than the living room and put up a whole bunch of prints and dried seaweed specimens from Hawaii which belonged to Mark’s grandmother.


We recently converted the nursery back into an office and guest room.


It’s a relief to have all our supplies in one place, organized and put away in one space instead of tucked into every crevice and free space around the apartment.


Our bedroom is a white bedroom. The bed is a modern wrought iron bed from Charles P. Rogers and the linens are from Dwell. I made the garlands from coffee filters after seeing them somewhere on the web last year.


I’ve been really into black walls lately and just painted one side of the hallway leading to the bedrooms with BM chalkboard paint.


We recently moved our girls in together to the same room. It was a challenge to consolidate all their toys and clothes into one room (we did a lot of purging!). The furniture is a combination of Argington, Room and Board, Spot on Square and Ikea.



The bunk bed is from Room and Board and the bedding is from Ikea.


Our kitchen, which is part of the open floor plan of the living area is in the middle of the apartment between the living room and the hallway to the bedrooms.


The kitchen cabinets and granite countertops are quite dark (was NOT my choice of materials!) so we decided to wallpaper the backsplash with Ferm Living wallpaper in Berry Black to give it some interest.

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  • Lovely. All of it–sans kitchen. The dark granite is quite oppressive, but the wallpaper you added is very cute and helps brighten up the space. I love all of the neutral grays and wood tones throughout the rest of your home. Also bonus points for the use of all of those wonderful vintage chairs.

  • I have never before considered getting furniture from Ebay! Is it more or less expensive than going to a local antique store after shipping costs?

    Elevator into an apartment is just smart. I would love for my family to be able to visit me, but I have a prodigiously steep stair.

    I love most of all that black chalkboard wall. When I need to define a small space, I’ll think about that!

  • I love Jenna and Mark’s beautiful home, especially because they designed & did all the work themselves. Impressive!

  • So lovely! It’s both pretty, sophisticated and looks comfortable. Just goes to show you that architectural details aren’t absolutely necessary when you have a good eye for color, pattern and detail.

  • I love the colors of your walls! Especially the greys in the living room – what is the name of the “very pale grey” you referenced?

  • Very nice, especially the grey. I’d love some info on the white sheer curtain on the left in the first pic and in the office/guest bedroom. Anyway know the source or how it was made? It’s just what I need for my living room.

  • wow…to the order, beautiful warm, rich colour tones and the positively gorgeous space!! Super envious! That nursery is wonderful. I love the buntings, sheepskins and the adorable bee riding toy.

  • Thanks everybody! And thanks to Design*Sponge for having us here.

    Stella: I’ve bought quite a few things off ebay – some of which we’ve picked up locally. I must admit, we don’t get to go antiquing very often so it’s worked for us – shipping has been reasonable with the pieces we’ve bought so far.

    Elisabeth: I picked up the pillow a few years ago from a store in our neighborhood. The tag saids “Jessie D’Angelo, handmade in Peru. Hope that helps.

    Allie: The livingroom walls are BM silver satin, but unless you have a lot of white moldings or contrast it will read a lot like a soft white. The photos of the walls came out a bit darker than in real life. I think if I were to do it again, I’d go up a shade which would be Balboa Mist. The entryway grey is a custom mix that i made using the silver satin and a darker grey which we didn’t end up using.

    JBlue: Those curtains are from pottery barn. not sure if they still make them, but you might want to check pottery barn kids too as I know they used to carry these linen roman shades as well.

  • Jenna – I love your place! Our place is also about the same size, with 3 bedrooms.. and I’m so impressed by how you make it look so uncluttered.

  • What a beautiful home. I have a random question for Jenna – where did you get that tiered server that’s pictured on your kitchen counter? I love its shape and that the handle is silver (not black, like most of the ones I’ve seen). Thanks!

  • I always love shelves full of supplies. I never gets better than that for me. Plus, I’m happy to see that Anne hasn’t let up, despite the move to Paris! Not that Anne has ever been known to wimp out on work or play :)

  • When I saw the bookshelf in the first picture, I was like, “Hello again, Expedit.” But then I saw the legs! All the furniture here is just my taste.

  • ah, love love love. reminded me again of how much i love jenna’s danish ebay chair and the fabric…. anyone know the name and/or manufacturer of the fabric (black/white hexagon)?

  • Phoenix: Yes, the print is all sold out. There’s actually a few more posters that I would love from the Small Stakes that have been sold out for awhile :(

    caroline: We got that tiered server at Macys of all places. We bring it to the markets with us.

    Bree: I ordered the fabric from Repro Depot in anticipation of the chair’s arrival, but I see that it is no longer available.

  • I´m already a Sweet Fine Day´s fan and I discovered Design Sponge from there. I simply loved to see Jenna´s tour house here. I really enjoy and admire her style and talent for design and decoration. It inspires me.

  • What a simple yet lovely house. Most of the rooms in my house are white or off-white as well, and seeing how Jenna brings in so much color is inspiring.

  • such amazing light in all of these pictures. This is something I struggle with when taking pictures inside my apartment… are these folks lucky enough to have billions of windows or have these shots been professionally lit?

  • I love your home! It would be so cool to have an entire hallway in chalkboard paint! Great job on everything! Its very simple and cozy, I’d love for my home to look this way :)

  • LOVE your home! I just starting obsessing over midcentury modern furniture and have a few pieces. Seeing all yours & how you display them is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  • I love Jenna’s home it’s my favourite so far.
    I love the dwell bedlinen, it’s beautiful. but I can’t afford the $320 :-( anyone know of a similar but cheaper option…thanks

  • Such a beautiful, light filled home. You’ve done a wonderful job of making it clean and modern, but also eclectic. And hiding the “new construction” feel:)

  • Hi V. Those nesting dolls were a gift – those are actually 2 sets. I know 1 set was given to us from my mom when she took a trip to russia, the blue set was given to us from Mark’s cousin. Unfortunately, I do not know where they are from.

    Laura, I believe Dwell made a very similar print for anthropologie that was cheaper. Also, if you are in NY, they hold fantastic yearly sample sales. Well worth checking out.

    As for the light, yes! At least this place does have that. We don’t have a ton of windows but we do have a few really large floor to ceiling windows going out to balconies, so there is good light here.

  • Hi jenna and thank you for the reply…i’m in the UK but will check Dwell when in NY. I believe anthro is coming to London soon (yay) so I will take a look in there..thanks again

  • Rose, that rug is actually from the Ikea 2010 catalog. It wasn’t available in the stores yet when I looked last month but oddly enough I found it in the “discount” room and got it 50% off. Don’t know what it was doing there as it was perfectly fine. We don’t have a lot of rugs because it is the 1 thing our cat likes to claw.

    Laura, I also forgot that Dwell makes a more affordable line of linens for Target (for the next time you are in the states).

  • Your apartment is lovely. Love the cute retro table between the 2 doors! Also, just checked out your shop – please PLEASE write a cookery book so you can share your amazing confectionary with those of us too far to sample ur baking? :)

  • i love your place! it’s done so tastefully. i especially love your furniture. where did you get the table that’s under the ‘key’ poster and the other near the elevator that’s similar? i love that look and haven’t seen anything like it by me. thanks!!

  • I can’t find anything that I don’t like with this place. It’s my dream home! Congratulations for such a lovely place to live!

  • This about the only room my husband and I can completely agree on design wise for our first place together. It is beautiful! Only question where did you pick up the side tables beside the gray sofa? Its hard to see them in the picture.

  • i love your home! it’s so poetic, and the details are amazing. do you mind sharing where you got your wall mounted shelves [where you store your supplies] as well as the white drawers in the guest bedroom and the toy kitchen? thank you for sharing and the inspiration!

  • Hello Jenna,

    I was just wondering the name and the brand of wallpaper you used in the kitchen?? I love it!!

  • Looking at your place I hardly notice the lack of architectural interest…great job! Where did you find the kitchen playset?

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