This Williamsburg, Brooklyn, railroad apartment is home to Alison Feldmann, Jeff Bergstrom, and their two cats, Dagmar and Bug. They moved into the 1931 building about a year ago and immediately settled into making it a home. Alison is the writer and editor for the Etsy Blog, so she has a finely tuned eye for handmade and vintage. In addition to working for a major museum as head of film and video, Jeff is a (primarily comedy) contributor for BrooklynVegan. The couple can’t resist a thrift store, so they aimed to create a space that showcased their collections while evoking a feel reminiscent of old-time salons, men’s clubs like the Odd Fellows or the Masons and secret libraries. Thanks, Alison & Jeff! — Amy A.
Image above: Frames/dresser area behind the couch in the living room. We really love the salon-style wall in our living room. We combined our mutual collections of portrait paintings, folk art and group photos (many military in nature) to create a cohesive collection.
Image above: Doorway between bedroom and desk/office.
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Image above: Our kitchen table is actually a hand-me-down from Jeff’s great-aunt and uncle. After some futile attempts to locate a table, Jeff’s parents realized this beauty had been sitting in their basement for 20 years. Best of all, the original receipt from 1930 was taped to the bottom of the table when we got it.
Image above: We knew, moving in, that railroad apartments were not typical fare, so we made a point be consistent in our approach throughout our apartment. Since there are no doors, everything needed to flow together, so we chose a color scheme of blues, grays and whites. Almost everything in our place was found on Craigslist, Etsy, eBay or thrift stores. Everything. Not only were we on a budget, we also love the thrill of the hunt (and supporting independent businesses).
Image above: Jeff gave Alison this anatomical cat poster for her birthday last year. It’s a reprint of classic German educational posters originally designed in the 1920s.
Image above: We found these antique chemical bottles on a recent trip to Cape Cod, where Jeff is from. This collection of bottles originated at A.D. Makepeace, the world’s largest cranberry grower, and a famous company in Jeff’s hometown. Many of the bottles have handwritten labels identifying the toxic chemicals that once lived inside.
Image above: The blanket was a recent splurge: a Pendleton. The design originated in the 1920s (it’s called Silver Bark), and the colors really fit our bedroom.
Image above: Our living room mantel is the focal point of our main living space. Complete with ceramic miner skull from Mud Puppy, antique mantel clock, artwork by Caroline Gaedechens and a mustachioed portrait found on eBay (ten bucks!), it creates a morbid, antique tableau that we love.
Image above: We keep our antique books on our faux fireplace mantel (found at a stoop sale a few years back). The little pieces in front of it include a holy water vessel from Alison’s great-uncle, who was a priest in the 1920s, a Masonic engraved gold mirror and a few tintypes. The hat to the right is used in Odd Fellows initiation ceremonies, and the bookends — silhouettes of criminal mugshots from the 1920s and 1930s — were made by Peg and Awl.
Image above: Desk/guitars/bookcase. Jeff’s quite a musician, as you can see from the guitars. We use the “middle room” in our railroad as a library of sorts. We built in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to make a dent in our massive book collections. The Persian rug is from eBay, and the overstuffed leather chair was a recent Craigslist acquisition (after a very, very long hunt).
Image above: This is our cat Dagmar, affectionately called Little Dag. We adopted her and her sister Bug, a calico, almost a year ago. We love them beyond belief!