sneak peek: joel holland

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joel holland has called brooklyn home for over 10 years now, and most of it has been spent in this apartment in one form or another. he’s dreamt of having an office with a door like the ones described in the fountainhead: “joel holland, hand-letterer/illustrator/pizza maker” in gold leaf on frosted glass. but he likes working from home, so he does, and today we have a great peek into that space. {thanks, joel!}anne

{photos by lesley unruh}

[above: It’s all very connected, the domestic and the business. The bust, which may be either Vincent Price or Thurgood Marshall (or neither) was found in the trash years ago. The coffee table was bought and carried back from Yu in Fort Greene. I’ve made drawings of both. The framed vintage Pantone gradient prints share the wall with the work of friends (breadandbuttershop).]


My work table is also my dining table. It was made from reclaimed NY state barnwood by the guys at silotables. The chairs are stoop sale and street finds that are constantly in some form of rehab. Mostly me learning and forgetting how to cane the seats properly.


I collect vintage books, I work on books, I read books. It’s all the same.


Signs seen from a trip to the grocery store become my own posters for later. Oyster shells saved from a great meal become a giant drawing. There isn’t a dividing line.

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



More about Joel in his own words: Joel Holland is an hand letterer/illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. He makes damn good pizza, his own beer AND a lot of behind-the-back passes. His work has appeared on billboards, balloons, book jackets and butt cheeks. he is currently selling beach towels and… looking for a publisher… for his book of 100 boring drawings.

  1. Shones says:

    The blue in that bedroom is so stormy. It’s just right, and so masculine. My mom painted her laundry room that color and i used to love hanging out in there. I find it intriguing, how every space seems to have something layered on it.. except right over the bed in the fantastic blue room, as if to say “the busy-ness stops here.”

  2. Lovely! I really wish my house had an exposed brick wall.

  3. Gorgeous and fun! PLEASE email the color of that blue paint!! it is the perfect bright aqua!

    xoxo, cassie

  4. Frank says:

    wow what a small world! i met joel last spring when i bought a herman miller dining table from this very apartment. i can say that the replacement dining table is an excellent upgrade.

  5. Julianne says:

    I agree with Shones, I LOVE the blue in the bedroom, it’s perfect! The exposed brick is so cool too. The whole home feels peaceful, it’s awesome!

  6. sara s. says:

    wow, love everything about this space! oh, to have exposed brick walls! swoon*

  7. Phaedra says:

    What a wonderful space, so colorful and happy!
    Joel, your illustrations are fantastic too! I love them.

  8. Chelsea says:

    i’m with everyone else — DYING for the exposed brick! and the little fireplace is so perfect.

  9. anna says:

    i love you scary bear lamp!

  10. Liz says:

    Wow. LOVE.

  11. Iris says:

    This is one of my all-time favorites! I’d kill for that brick wall…

  12. Tiia says:

    Wonderful blue in the bedroom. Absolutely.

  13. Danielle says:

    Great Oyster drawings! One of my favorite things to draw as I live on the Chesapeake Bay.

  14. Jessica says:

    I’m trying to decide from that wonderful pile of books, which i’d like to read first. I judge all books by their covers, and i can tell by the spines of these, that they’re all good lookin’ covers.

    I love your bedroom curtain and bedside paint-dripped stool. Also fond of your shell drawings. A t-shirt design for a restaurant named Adrift, I drew a large juicy oyster. Their slogan “Adrift will make your Oyster moister” accompanied.

    Your work reminds me of another favorite artist of mine, Ray Fenwick. You have a similar sense of humor and ink brush hand.

    Thanks for sharing Joel. Wonderful space!

  15. kiki says:

    oh the midnight paint in the bedroom! and that deer in the fireplace. LOVE!

  16. Chrissy says:

    Wow. Calming and thrilling all at once. The blues, browns, and creams are a perfect backdrop for the colorful books (and inspiration for creativity, too I’d guess). Those tree stump pillows seem to be all the rage now…

  17. Claire says:

    I love the little deer in the fireplace! So sweet…

  18. Gracie says:

    I love it all! And I have a friend who would love that little deer in the fireplace – can anyone tell me where I could get one? I am from Australia :)

  19. d*s fan says:

    awesome! i’d love to know more about the table made from reclaimed wood, was it a custom order? was it pricey?

  20. Jen says:

    Joel is super fantastic and incredibly inspiring. Of course, it’s fitting that his living/working space is the same.

  21. love the dining table – beautiful reclaimed wood. very nice!

  22. Josephine says:

    I love the exposed brick. We have exposed a lot of brick in our terrace and it instantly bought history and charm to the house. I also love all the quirky touches. All lovely.

  23. Josephine says:

    Sorry, brought not bought. Argh, rushing as always.

  24. Fat Cat says:

    Fabulous place and adorable kitties ! My favourite combo.

  25. Muffin says:

    Oh I love a good book collection! :) Love the cook book batch.

  26. Kristina says:

    I love everything about this apartment. It is dosed right in every aspect, from furniture to art work to color. Very nice taste.

  27. EmmyLou says:

    I love how not everything he displays is framed. (I assume many of these are his own works.) As someone who can’t afford to get all the prints and posters and postcards and other paper ephemera I have framed, this is a nice inspiration for how to incorporate it into a fun, but grown-up looking space.

  28. =mew= says:

    I never would’ve picked a dark blue like that for the bedroom. It works perfectly, especially with the light shining on the wall and the black and metal accents. Now that’s an artistic eye in action.

  29. Leah says:

    Please share the name of the deep blue paint color in the bedroom. It’s perfection! As is the rest of Joel’s home.

  30. Matt says:

    Hey Joel, the place is looking good.

  31. meg says:

    holy wow!

  32. Joel says:

    Thanks everyone! The blue is Mythic 036-6.

  33. Eva says:

    very very nice home you have. I like it when there’s so much to see, and you got eye for colour :-) I really enjoyed the seashell drawing!

  34. D says:

    Huh, looked up one of those great looking books on Amazon, and every single one of the others came up in the “Customers Who Viewed this item…” section. :)

  35. So Beautiful. So jealous

  36. LeeAnn Falciani says:

    Ah, Mythic paints are so wonderful. No VOCs! Now we’re all going to steal your blue :) Beautiful apartment Joel, and the kitties are the cutest!

  37. Scott says:

    Hi Joel – so glad you are still in that great space!

    I miss throwing a ball around at the park :-)

  38. thehannahg says:

    where did u get your duvet and pillows too? please share!

  39. thehannahg says:

    oky URGENT question joel/fellow opinionated d*s readers! im going to home depot to color match your dark blue mythic paint for my bathroom that is going to be renovated before thanksgiving… but huge huge difference is 1) it will be $19 a gallon paint instead of $53 and 2)also it will be SEMI-GLOSS instead of flat! do you think this would be too dark of color to do in SEMI GLOSS? like it will shine/reflect too much? anyone elses opinion about doing a dark dramatic color like this in a bathroom?

  40. Hanako Zeidenberg says:

    Where can I find that ‘scary bear lamp’??? It’s brilliant!!!!

  41. Tara says:

    I finally found this sneak peek! I spotted the bear bottle lamp on another blog that linked to here but couldn’t find it for the life of me. Exploring the Best of Cats and there it was!

    The rest of this place is just wonderful. Love the brick the art…it’s just all wonderful. But most of all thank you for the inspiration to lampify my bear bottle. :) Kiss those kitties for me!

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