amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: susan and william brinson

by Amy Azzarito

susan and william brinson are high school sweethearts. the couple met at william’s 16th birthday party (when his parents were out of town – always an ingredient for a cool party!). after high school, the couple jointly attended the savannah college of art and design and then shortly after graduation, they moved to new york which has been home for the last ten years. then just six months ago, they moved into this loft in the newly christened NoMad neighborhood (north of madison square park). as a commercial photographer, william needed more space and the loft’s 2,000 square feet has been converted into mostly work space. susan is an art director and has her own stationery line – she also designs custom wedding invitations. the apartment is filled with friends and clients, and most days you’ll find them gathered around the huge dining table! (see additional photos on flickr!) {thanks susan and william! and particular thanks to william for the lovely photographs!}amy a.

[Overall, our style is about contrast: black and white, light and dark, masculine and feminine, old and new, rustic and modern. Many of our belongings are collected, or given to us by friends or family. The items that friends and family give us are our favorite because they mean so much. We also buy a lot of vintage on Craigslist, Ebay, and thrift stores. We are DIY junkies, we built all the walls, installed lighting, wallpapered, you name it we are into it!]

[image above: Our bedroom is a bit more feminine and softer than the rest of the loft. This is our retreat and a place we relax. We made it large enough for a sitting area so if I come home while William is shooting, I can sneak in the back and let him wrap up the shoot. The furniture is almost all vintage, the headboard was William’s grandparents, the dressers are from Savannah – we bought them in college. I have a tea cup collection that my Grandma, Mom, Aunts and friends have contributed to. Each tea cup has it’s own personality.]

CLICK HERE for more of Susan and William’s Peek (and all 20 images on one page!)

[image above: The lighting fixture is a DIY project we tackled. It has 100 bulbs. It took us a while to put it together! Only 10 bulbs are active, so they light up the non active bulbs. It is really beautiful when lit. The back wall with salon style art work was a great way for us to display collected art that was very different from each other. Pages from The Grammar of Ornament and a skull from William’s uncle are included. Our favorite piece is from artist Emily St John – an oil painting portrait of our boxer dog, Nero.]

[image above: The table is from Restoration Hardware. We had to think about seating everyone on a photo shoot, so the table is very large. We have eight Thonet chairs purchased from Craigslist.]

[My brother-in-law, Mickael Fonteneau designed and built two custom benches to increase the seating to 18 for large photoshoots/dinner parties. The benches are like having 8 folding chairs!]

[image above: Our kitchen is a bit unconventional. We have a very large open kitchen because William photographs food, so we needed a good work area for him and a food stylist. We also love to cook, so we use the space as well. There is almost no furniture  in the studio because William photographs using daylight and photo lights, so he needs a lot of empty space to set up. The cabinets, sink and counter are from Ikea.]

[image above: We wanted to make the kitchen feel ‘older’ so we added the embossed wall paper you can paint. We painted it with outdoor, high gloss paint.The island is a craigslist purchase. Most of our cookware is vintage, I like to buy little pieces for a few dollars, they are nothing fancy, and the more used they look the more I like them.]

[image above: The vintage bus stop sign (below) was a gift from our friend Nathan Kipe.]

[image above: The knife pattern on the wall is from Lamson & Goodnow, which is based in Shelburne Falls – it is the left over part after the knives have been cut out. We picked up at Brooklyn Kitchen.]

[image above:The desk is a DIY project made from plywood covered in cork tiles. Most of the desk objects are vintage. The horse shoes are really donkey shoes  (below) and were a gift from our friend Tiziana Agnello who brought them back from a trip to Mexico.]

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  • Wouldn’t go so far as to call it my absolute favorite (you post too many wonderful sneak peeks for it to grab that distinction), but there is some really lovely stuff in this one! Thanks for sharing!

  • I love everything about this apartment. I can’t even point out certain things because it all awesome. This has got to be my favorite Sneak Peek so far. Amazing!

  • hey susan and will – your new place looks GREAT!! I’d only seen snippets that you’ve posted in progress on FB, but love seeing everything come together. LOVE everything about it! congrats.

  • I want one of those knife cut out peices!Is it something you just asked for ,scrap salvage,or is it something they stock?

  • Hi clotilde,

    NoMad does stand for North of Madison Square Park, it’s just a typo in the text.
    It’s a lovely space, wherever it is.

  • FLICKR SET TO PRIVATE!! Please address this ongoing oversight!!! We want to see!!!!!!!!!

  • Love the bedroom wall color. Could you tell us what color/brand paint that is?


  • Brilliant. The wall color for the bedroom is perfect. The dresser just would not work with stark white walls!

  • i love the new light fixture susan and will. very cute and creative.
    also good that its much more finished than when i saw it last!

  • so beautiful. i would also love to know the taupe and dark grey paint colors, if you don’t mind sharing!

  • loooooooooove so many details of this. i’ll definitely come back to this.

  • Amazing! I would also love to know the grey paint colors. I also think the dining room light would be a great DIY to feature on DS, it’s stunning!

  • I love the way you use black wall and vintage bits and pieces. Can someone tell me where the duvet cover is from? I think I’ve seen it somewhere but can’t remember where.

  • I too love this space! I’ve been considering a black tile backsplash(similar in feel to your black wallpaper) but everyone is trying to talk me out of it. Would also LOVE instructions on the DIY lightbulb chandelier.

  • Loved getting a glimpse of this unique space! I’m really curious about the bedspread… I’d love to know where it’s from!

  • So many great things in this space! I second (fourth? eighth?) the request for a DIY on the light fixture. I’ve been wanting to do something like that over my kitchen table too!

  • Sooo many inspiring photos! I really love interiors that incorporate random pieces of wood, especially when they have great lighting. Thanks for posting!

    – Amanda

  • What a beautiful space. I’d love to know where to get that embossed wallpaper in the kitchen – it really does look like pressed tin.

  • Hey Will and Susan- The photos really do your apt justice. Everything looks so interesting and quirky and sophisticated. Love the bedroom. Congrats!

  • This may be an odd question; but where did you get your actual knifes? Especially that cleaver (second from the right)
    Lovely, lovely all around!

  • Goodness, there is so much here that I love, covet and appreciate. Thanks for sharing this.

  • I really love their place, especially how it is “lived” in and not just like a magazine. I would love to see the DIY for that chandelier!

  • i really admire people who are this resourceful–especially in NYC where it is no easy feat to buy something from a flea market! i love this. especially the bedroom!

  • I love this space. It has so much character for such a large open area. I absolutely love how the kitchen was transformed. I have never seen embossed wallpaper that is paintable, I wonder were they got that. I would love to experiment with that in the bathroom. Again, beautiful space!

  • I know a ton of people have already said this, but a DIY for that chandelier is a must. Please make it happen! Also love the gray paint in the bedroom- perfect.

  • Thanks so much for all of your comments! I will try my best to answer your questions.

    A few comments requested paint colors:
    Living Room: Black Ink, Benjamin Moore
    Bedroom: Plymouth Rock, Benjamin Moore

    A few requests for the wall paper in the kitchen:
    The wallpaper is from http://www.wallpapersplus.com/product16445.html
    The brand name we purchased is recycled and you can repaint it. It is really heavy and took the paint well. I figured we would have to repaint a kitchen every few years so we wanted something extra durable.

    @ Kelly: we just saw the knife cut outs sitting in a corner and asked if they were for sale @ http://www.thebrooklynkitchen.com/. I am not sure if it is a regular item, but they had more than a few when we were there a few months ago.

  • Great space! Love the suitcases at the end of the bed and the black walls with the gold lettering. Gorgeous.

  • I will not go into specific detail about wiring it, but more of an overall concept. We ordered all the supplies individually and then assembled them. Lightbulbs, the sockets, cloth wire, and the wire bracket on top is from a clothing fixture store. We cut out paper the size of light bulbs and put them on our table to gauge scale and how large the fixture would be. After that we began building it. It was difficult because you have to figure the wiring, the weight of the fixture and how much your ceiling can hold, etc.

  • Best modern chinoiserie I have seen…I love it! And the aesthetic of using all the beautiful old worn kitchen implements reminds me of the beautiful books put out by Marabout (France). A gorgeous home, stylish without being sterile. It looks so restful – I want to go there!

  • Where did you score that awesome black leather couch? Really groovy lines on that and it looks so comfortable…..!

  • fabulous loft style! made me think i was walking through an anthropologie store….wish i had a large space with light like this…how creative!

  • We love the integration of the vintage pieces from your family! It is always fun to see how people reflect their personal style while using family heirlooms.

  • Hi All, The Duvet is from Pottery Barn outlet. I noted Dwell had a similar one with peacocks on it. I am sure the Pottery barn one must be discontinued, it was a lucky buy!

  • I looooooooove the DIY lightbulb chandelier. Any suggestions for how to make it?

  • What a gorgeous space! It’s making my brain churn with ideas. And that puppy, he makes my heart melt.

  • I’m in love with everything, but in particular with the blue lamp in the bedroom : where dit you get it, if I may ask ? Thanks

  • I really love the combinations of gray and navy blue (in the curtains especially, subtle but effective). Those both showed up a lot in the latest JCrew catologue as well.

  • Hi All – Thanks for the nice comments! We really try to make our home/studio an open and inviting environment that you just want to kick your feet up in.
    @Catherine The Blue lamp is one of a pair from my grandmothers house, my sister has the other (and won’t give to me, stingy, just kidding!)
    Thanks again everyone!

  • Incredible – how great to live with someone who has similar taste as your own! The house looks beautiful and of course, your pup is the cutest part.

  • I know exactly what dining room table you have because I eyed it myself for a long time. Unfortunately it won’t fit in my house. I’m envious!

  • The duvet cover looks very similar to a new pattern from dwellstudio, but this one is more colorful.

  • You have outdone yourselves, you two. But you should have included pictures of the before! Amazing what you have done with the place.

  • The benches made by Mr.Fonteneau, such a great idea! These would be so handy to have! A very practical investment!
    Is there a website where I can find the benches and see more from Him?

  • I like the benches as well. Are they straight on one edge and natural on the other? Does he have a line or do only custom?

  • @lynette @ Cam Gow

    Mickaels site is: http://atelierfonteneau.com/

    He does custom work and is working on his own line right now. Those benches were custom for our table (they fit perfect under each side).

    I can’t even tell you how beautiful they are. Everyone who comes into our space comments on them. They are straight on the wall side, and natural on the front side, which gives them a nice organic look.

    When we have company, I use them in the living room too. They can really go anywhere and are very flexible with how we use them.

  • What a great space! I actually have that duvet but I’m kinda digging the white bed skirt you chose. Any idea where you got that? or does anyone know of somewhere I can find something similar.

  • I love the curtains in the bedroom! Where are those from, or did you make them yourself?

  • The bedroom is my favorite! I imagine the duvet is custom. What fabric is that? It is GORGEOUS!! I know Dwell has a similar one, as mentioned, but that blows it away.

  • Me again! :)

    The duvet is from Pottery Barn Outlet! I can’t believe how popular it is. I picked it up for $40 or so in the ultra discount pile.

    @anna, I think the bed skirt is from JC Penny :)

    I have a dog who gets in the bed and never spend a lot on bedding, and I wash it a lot too, so it has to be durable.

    @Cheryl I made the curtains with fabric from B&J fabric in NYC.

    @Corstian the sofa is a bit of a splurge and is from ABC Carpet & Home. Here is a link to the designer, http://www.timothyoulton.com/

  • love the looks! can you tell me where you found them? I’ve been looking for a while and these are perfect!

    LOVE your home!

  • i absolutely adore this apartment! the design is exactly what i would do with my own. fabulous!

  • @Eden the hooks are from eBay. If you search saddle hooks they should come up. They are quite large, 8 inches or so. We spray painted ours black as they were rusty when we got them. Good luck ebaying!

  • Hello,

    I love the wall color in the bedroom … can you tell me what it is called?

    thanks :)

  • I love everything about this home – but most of all, the DIY light fixture over the dining room table. STUNNING.

  • This is my all-time favorite!! I won’t be chucking my antique dresser now that I see how good it will look with a nice paint job behind it. Well done!

  • It’s so refreshing/inspiring/hopeful to see a NYC loft space that hasn’t been destroyed with drywall by some developer and turned into a cookie cutter “loft” space without one particle of character left. This space actually speaks of the talented people who live and work there. As a native NYer I remember playing in these types of lofts as a kid. Bravo!

  • It’s amazing how many brilliant ideas and collections you have packed into one apartment. It’s beyond gorgeous! I wish i could see that light fixture lit up at night! Lighting is the most important thing and i can just imagine that this is something to see.

    annie diamond

  • Hi. Would you mind sharing where you got the bedside table from in picture one. Thanks

  • I saw this one in the Design*Sponge hardcover coffee table book and had to check out more of it online. Fantastic space, Brinsons! My favourite pieces are the 100 lightbulb chandelier and the huge dining table.

    • Tia – Thanks so much for coming over to visit us online. :) Hope you enjoy the book.
      xo Amy

  • This is really a beautiful and cozy home. What kind of headboard is that and where can i find one?? Fab.