sneak peek: juliet gorman & elliott malkin

Ceramicist and jewelry designer Juliet Gorman and interaction designer Elliott Malkin live in a Brooklyn apartment that spans two floors, enabling the couple to feel like they’re living in a tree house. The building has a storied past — jazz musician Slide Hampton once lived in the building, and saxophone player Eric Dolphy supposedly composed “245” here. The couple tries to create the same sense of discovery with the objects in the apartment, which are mostly made by family members or purchased from Etsy artists. Everything has a story. Thanks, Juliet & Elliott!  — Amy A.

Image above: Our landlords made crafty use of the space around the staircase by adding custom-built bookcases, which continue all the way upstairs to the ceiling of the next floor. Elliott’s mother, Roberta Malkin, is a visual artist, so when we moved in, we asked her to decorate the chalkboard surfaces in the apartment. Her painting and printmaking is woven throughout our apartment.

Image above: We love our sunny kitchen with its handmade touches. The main counter has a reclaimed marble top and doors comprised of old cabinets. The light fixture is made from a vintage glass jug; our landlord sliced the bottom off and used it elsewhere in the apartment for a port window. I’ve had those kitchen chairs for ten years and have recovered them many times. The current fabric I bought at Purl SoHo. The oil painting on the wall is by an old family friend, Eugene Gregan.

Image above: We are among the lucky few to have a working fireplace in New York. (You may be getting an idea why I almost fainted when I first viewed the apartment — quickly followed by flight into rental paperwork flurry.) We’ve hung one of Elliott’s mother’s oil paintings above it, which looks so beautiful to me against some favorite vessels I’ve made over the years. The painting is flanked by a beloved still life by my grandmother and some amazing photographs that artist Douglas Gayeton gave me years ago after we collaborated on a project. His book on the slow food way of life in Italy is definitely worth checking out. Once we moved in, we scored gorgeous rugs and a super comfortable arm chair at great prices at ABC Carpet’s Bronx outlet. The chandelier is from Jonathan Adler.

Image above: The bed — a shrine to linens! Hanging the flag above the bed was just a whim — neither of us is particularly patriotic, but I guess we pledge allegiance to vintage textiles. I picked up the flag and the beautiful vintage crazy quilt at 10 Ft. Single in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The bedspread came into my life after a particularly obsessive search for reproduction linens, which led me to the UK’s Antique Designs. The throw pillow is a beauty from Lena Corwin.

Image above: Before I picked up pottery, I was a textiles girl all the way, and I still quilt. So I couldn’t resist recovering our Room and Board couch’s seat cushions in a vintage fabric. The pillow is from the lovely people at Etsy’s Sukan shop.

Image above: We aren’t big planners when it comes to laying out a salon wall. We kind of just go for it. In this case, we mixed old photos of my family (my grandmother was an opera singer who took many beautiful formal portraits) with Elliott’s mother’s old woodblock prints and other pieces we’ve accumulated. My absolute favorite piece is the handmade doll by the divinely inspired Mimi Kirchner. Mimi overdyes toile fabric to approximate tattooed skin.

Image above: Above our upstairs (non-working) fireplace we hung a watercolor that is very special to me — a gift from Elliott on my 30th birthday. It’s by the talented and kind Bella Foster and inspired by a spread in World of Interiors, the magazine that I will go to my grave subscribing to. Working off Bella’s watercolor, we hung some mobiles we’ve collected over the years as well as vintage teacups I picked up on Etsy.

Image above: Hanging on this wall is another absolute favorite from Elliott’s mother. I love how it mixes with the little ceramic tumbler I bought from Stefanie Scheier in Berlin and our hammered zinc dresser. My house is my studio, so Elliott puts up with random beaded necklaces strewn everywhere.

Image above: My mom was a potter years ago; in fact, she studied at the same historic school as me, Greenwich House Pottery, so we display a few cherished pieces of hers along with my vessels.

Image above: I have a fantasy alternate life as lamp maker. My bedside lamp is the very first that I realized from clay blob to shade (out of a Liberty fabric). Since then, I’ve made a few more and daydream about doing a line someday. If anyone knows who made the lamp in Tiny Furniture, let me know! I am lusting after it. After deluding ourselves about mirrored bed tables on 1stDibs, we settled for a pair from Target that work just fine — if I don’t think too much about how they were produced.

Image above: One of the ingenious space solutions our landlords devised was to build a sleeping platform/desk above the downstairs bathroom, midway up the ascent on the staircase. I’m perched on that stool as I write this!

  1. Kate says:

    Gorgeous! I would also have fainted upon viewing this apartment. What a great find, and what lovely, personalized decor!

  2. So lovely ;) Can I take that kitchen home with me?!

  3. HH says:

    a beautiful space with fascinating personal history – both individual and collective – in every choice. i love it.

  4. Danielle says:

    Those stairs! ::swoon::

  5. Shelby says:

    I LOVE this space. Absolutely stunning and completely full of character. I see the photos and can hear jazz wafting through the air.

  6. Oh — I think it’s time to move to Brooklyn. What a beautiful space, and a lovely way of living in it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Megan says:

    Love the quilt!

  8. barbara says:

    oh please tell me/show me more about the “rope” handrail and the kitchen cabinets!!! LOVE!! We had our stairs redone is all wood BUT not the “pickets” (not the right word..forgot the name..the bars between the posts..balusters..?)
    was thinking of something funky like rope as I do not want to look at 3 sets of prison bars marching up the stairs……………..

  9. Lauren says:

    I love the staircase!

    That rope handrail is amazing!

  10. Mariane says:

    Wow what a landlord! I really love your space, There is a lot going on but it does not feel cluttered. So personal also!

  11. Robbie says:

    Love the space! Everything looks wonderful.

  12. Katie says:

    So much fabulousness in one post! I love the staircase!

  13. foo says:

    I love this space and every little detail. And I know you are free to do as you please with the flag, because that’s the great country we live in, but just in case you were interested, If you are going to hang it on the wall, the union (stars) should always be on the left.

  14. MB@YarnUiPhoneappv1.6 says:

    A working fireplace! I want one of those too…it seems to me that’s easier to find in new construction here in Chicago than old….

  15. I love those stairs I always wanted hide away stairs in my house! Great shot of this house!

  16. kara rane says:

    wonderful how combining all your loving art pieces together really shines. eccentric and elegant!

  17. Len says:

    I love what you have done with the space. Elliott get out of the way and letcJuliet do her thing!

  18. Karena says:

    Really wonderful I love it!!
    Art by Karena

  19. Simple and comfortable. Perfect.

  20. sarah says:

    Pretty, pretty, pretty. I also have a spiral staircase in my home and have been downright baffled on what to do with the surrounding space. Eureka!! Bookshelves!

  21. Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your kind comments. The rope handrail on the staircase was the inspiration of my landlords, Consuelo Casarotto and Gordon Kindlon. They deserve all the credit! It’s not hard to do yourself. At each stairpole, the rope is wrapped heavily with twine and glued. And Foo, yes, you’re right about the flag orientation. Our choice was inspired by seeing it abstractly in graphic terms.

  22. ta says:

    What a lovely home! I have a space much like it and these photos really get my mind working!

  23. Craig says:

    Yeah, this place is awesome. Love the floorboards and deep-coloured American flag in the bedroom.

  24. aidel says:

    Everything about this home is lovely.

  25. PhillyLass says:

    What a fun, playful home! Just perfect.

  26. kim says:

    boy, i really like everything going on in your apartment. kinda like a sophisticated creative hippie vibe. just really fantastic and comfortable looking. the artwork is incredible and i like your handmade lamp(s) as well.

  27. Megan says:

    I love the simple whites paired with fun little things. My husband is an architect intern and he is all about the “straight” lines while I tend to like a little bit more whimsical, curly line, style. This is a great balance of both. Thanks for the tour!

  28. Ashley says:

    Wow, what an incredibly beautiful space- and to have a kitchen flooded with light in the city- what a blessing! It has such a dutch painterly quality about it with that light.

  29. Anni says:

    The floors, the fireplace, the stairs! What an amazing space… thank you for the sneak peek!

  30. Michele says:

    What a great place you have! I love the conversion of the Room and Board couch. Where did you find the vintage striped fabric? I’ve been searching for awhile for fabric to change my couch cushion and I love yours. Thanks so very much.

  31. Kali says:

    adore the pottery and pillows. really love your ottoman. must give to me when you are done with it!

  32. Jett says:

    You have a very lovely place there. I loved how you were able to maximize the little space, the bedroom is a little bit of a letdown though, but overall, a fantastic place.

  33. Karyn says:

    What a beautiful home! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Nunan says:

    Great use of small spaces. It takes talent to do that and make it look good.

  35. Cool home, I like the verticality too and the cushions!

  36. TGL says:

    That flag is hung up in the incorrect orientation. The stars should always be on the left.

  37. Dave Horn says:

    I knew your Mom (Enid) at Camp Elektor. Can you ask her to email me please? We lost touch. Thanks. And your apt is magnificent!


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