Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italien and husband Dan moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, only a year ago. The couple outgrew their last apartment and while this 825-sq. ft. loft isn’t technically more space, the high ceilings and unique layout make it work. Jen spent eight years working as a magazine editor covering the home market for Real Simple and Redbook before making the transition two years ago to freelance writer and stylist. She’s used that well-honed eye to pack her loft full of artwork and objects by local designers and artists. In fact, this peek is so filled with links to cool artists and designers that it could definitely serve as a shopping list! Thanks Jen and Dan! And many thanks to Lara Robby for the lovely photos! — Amy A.
Our 825-sq. ft. apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is both a home and a studio for me, plus storage for the entire Cabin 7 collection, the shop I recently launched with my friend Chris. Everything I imagined about loft living turned out to be true — the volume really does make a difference. With the 16-ft. ceilings overhead, I never have that closed-in feeling anymore, and it’s truly a joy to work from home. The secret is there’s a mezzanine space that sits above the closet and bathroom (a metal ladder leads you upstairs) that’s fantastic for storage. Dan and I share a love for vintage industrial pieces. I gravitate toward antiques that are well-loved and one-of-a-kind — and Dan appreciates the lack of girly frills in our place. My sweet husband has been super patient as I’ve moved furniture around and tweaked the apartment probably a dozen times before arriving at the works-for-us layout. My advice for people with small spaces: be patient and live with your space before rushing to buy solutions. This Williamsburg apartment marks the first time in the nine years I’ve been in New York in which I’m living in a space where I love both the neighborhood and the apartment. So we’re savoring it while we can.
Image above: Our loft doesn’t have any official closets. So we turned a tiny room off the living space into a walk-in closet for all of our stuff. I painted the back wall in a deep Moroccan blue, inspired by a blue hotel room that we stayed in when we visited Paris. The lovely wall decals are by Shanna Murray. The vintage brass horse hook is from the Etsy shop High Street Market. I hung up a bunch of photos and prints that seemed to relate to closets. The print of the vintage slips is by Abby Try Again. The black-and-white photos are shots of our wedding shoes taken by Charlotte Jenks Lewis.
Image above: The back table is an industrial stainless steel table I bought from a restaurant kitchen supply store. I covered the top with oilcloth fabric and the table functions as my crafting, sewing, typewriter and tie-dye table. I move things around when I need space for a project. The cubbie unit is a vintage wooden post office box from Three Potato Four [Editor's note: don't miss the Three Potato Four sneak peek!] — it helps me stay organized with shop paperwork. Above the table, I strung up twine from two brass hooks to create a garland of photos, prints, maps and bits of paper I’m loving. I fell in love with a couple vintage brushes at a flea market and hung them up on the wall, since it felt fitting for my crafting space. The windowsill is filled with plants and a vintage perfume bottle from Graceful Gardens I use to spritz the plants.
Image above: The first present Dan gave me after we reconnected were these John Derian plates of our initials. I love them. Dan teases me about how I can only sleep on “my side” of the bed, so I thought it’d be fun to display the plates above our bed, marking our “sides.” The vintage Hungarian grain sacks (used as pillow shams) are a find from the last Brimfield market. These 100-year-old vintage grain sacks are incredibly soft and, filled with body pillows, felt like an unfussy alternative to a headboard. I tie-dyed our pillowcases — it’s a hobby that’s turning into an addiction!
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Image above: Along the main wall of the office/workroom is an ever-growing gallery wall of art that includes: a Hula70 photo print, Old School Stationers letterpress print, vintage binoculars, framed Nama Rococo wallpaper and a framed piece of vintage wallpaper, Linda & Harriett birthday calendar, a vintage map of Portland Maine, a ceramic bird tile from Sweet Bella, favorite cards from Rifle Design and Linea Carta clipped to a vintage ruler, and a cherished piece of art created by a friend as a wedding gift.
Image above: My desk was custom-made by the amazing Myriah of Nightwood [Editor's note: See the Nightwood sneak peek!] — I’m in love with its patchwork wood style and it functions great. The brass wall lamp is from Brook Farm General Store, and I love how it’s wall-mounted, saving space on my always-full desk. A cubbie organizer from Pottery Barn keeps our gilded letter blocks categorized in view. I stash business cards in this ceramic bowl by SKT Ceramics until they get moved to the Rolodex. Other desk accessories I keep around because they make me happy: a wood apple found in Maine, Hable Construction photo album, vintage bottles for the occasional farmer’s market flowers and my Cabin 7 business card holder.
Image above: The focal point in our apartment is Dan’s amazing (supersized!) vintage seltzer bottle print (which he bought years ago and has traveled between apartments). When we found out that our loft is in a renovated seltzer factory, we thought it was a sign that we were meant to live here. The love seat is the Odette Sofette by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. I got a great deal by buying an unwanted floor sample. The fabric, however, is not our taste, so I made it work by tossing a Les Indiennes quilt over it until we can save up to have the love seat reupholstered. It’s on wheels so it moves around our apartment with ease. The stool is by Wood & Wool, a treasured wedding gift from dear friends. Pillows are by Nightwood and Enhabiten. [Editor's note: see the Enhabiten sneak peek!]
Image above: The “Anatomy of Love” print above the second dresser is by Rifle Design. The clover plant and vintage tub terrarium are both from my local favorite, Graceful Gardens. The porcelain milk bottle vase is by Alyssa Ettinger. I keep all my perfume bottles on an alphabet tray from John Derian for Target. The vintage gilded letter blocks and gilded birch photo holder are from our Cabin 7 collection. The knobs on the dresser are from Anthropologie. I scored the dresser up in Maine for $60 — it was a hideous beige-meets-gold spray-painted eyesore when I bought it. I refinished it by painting it a bright white with green chalkboard drawers. Dan and I exchange notes, and I keep track of my plant watering schedule (since I don’t really have a green thumb) on the chalkboard drawers.
Image above: I created a mini gallery in our bedroom of some favorite photos from our farm wedding, along with my favorite photograph by Abby Try Again. A few hooks keep my necklaces from turning into a knotted mess. The writing running down the wall was actually a Valentine’s gift to Dan — I painted on a large panel of cotton muslin fabric using alphabet stencils. It’s one running line of inside jokes between us, and since they don’t make sense to anyone but us, we don’t mind if people see it when they walk in the bedroom. I left space to continue adding onto the bottom of the panel as a memento from this apartment.
Image above: Our wee bedroom is our favorite space in the apartment. It’s a quiet, cozy space that feels us. The turquoise curtain is a John Robshaw panel I scored at a sample sale (and actually used as the tablecloth for the cupcakes at our wedding). It filters a beautiful, soft blue glow in the room. The swing-arm light is an eBay find that’s originally from Williams-Sonoma Home. The two vintage suitcases hold our socks. [Editor's note: Jen is now selling her vintage suitcase tables on Etsy!] Our bed is covered in a white-cream applique quilt by Matta. When the temperature drops, I add a couple blankets underneath. Our platform bed is from West Elm. I love the drama of the low bed with the high loft ceilings — and I’m now hooked on the feeling of sleeping on a low platform. The decorative pillows on our bed are a mix from Hable Construction and Nightwood, with a pillow box from Modern-Twist that hides pajamas from view.