In the years I’ve been working on the sneak peek column, I’ve seen my fair share of houses. And I do have my favorites, but it’s not the fanciest homes that intrigue me. Instead, I love seeing how people can rise to meet the challenge of creating a home amid constraints such as budget or time restrictions (or both!). And while we’ve featured some short-term living situations (a couple weeks ago, we featured the home of a Foreign Services officer in Tunisia), this might be our first eight-week sublet. Tara Mangini and Percy Bright moved to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, from Philadelphia this summer (we featured their Philadelphia home here). Together the couple runs a vintage shop and design business where they do custom work, carpentry, wall finishes, etc. Their dream is to eventually have a brick and mortar store or a wood shop or a thriving design business — or all three! In the meantime, they’re happy to be in Brooklyn doing what they love, and they’ll create a home wherever they can. Thanks to Tara Mangini, stylist and photographer, for the lovely photos! — Amy Azzarito
Image above: We of course had to make space to work in the apartment, so this is our living room/office area. The light in here, as in the rest of the apartment, is just beautiful. I hate to admit how much of this stuff is from Ikea (desk & chair), but hey, Ikea can be great! Got a great deal on the ikat rug from HomeGoods. The ribbon wall is one of our favorite things in the apartment. It’s amazing what creativity can do when you can’t put new nail holes into a wall! They sway in the wind all day, and are just a lovely unexpected design element. We’ve projected movies on that wall a few times, and it’s always a great moment when we pull the ribbons aside for the feature presentation. We find little details like that so fun and so beautiful.
See more of Tara & Percy’s Brooklyn sublet after the jump . . .
Image above: More bedroom. Sunlight. Swoon. And one of my favorite summer lace dresses.
Image above: We came into the apartment a bit light on furniture. The only things left for us were the bed and a blue couch, so we ended up bringing in furniture and building a few custom things for the space. These shelves were a new addition that I really love and will definitely be coming with us to our new apartment. The shelves just pop into the posts, which makes for super easy moving and assembly. Since, again, we didn’t want to make any new nail holes, this was a great way for us to showcase some artwork while making space for books and pictures and things that make a sublet into a home! (Plus the posts were free reclaimed joist scraps, and the reclaimed cedar planks cost less than $20.) We got the portrait with the string tied around it for $15, and it’s one of my favorite recent finds. I think we’ll end up keeping that one for ourselves.
Image above: Even though we TRIED to pack light, we still had to bring lots of things along with us. In an effort to avoid being surrounded by boxes of Etsy items and vintage books, we displayed items from our shop as much as possible. This little bookcase that we picked up for $5 down the street serves as a perfect display case.
Image above: Another super cheap find! We picked up this great yellow farmhouse table for maybe $10. The gorgeous molding throughout the apartment makes it easy to leave walls bare, but I still love the inventive moments and vignettes it forced us to create. A little floating doily. Shells on display. A lath nesting box. (For sale on Etsy!) A spot of green. A splash of blue. This wall feels like a trip to the beach for me.
Image above: Our kitchen! Sun filled and perfect. Just like everything else.
Image above: The kitchen was pretty wonderful to start with, but a little styling never hurt anybody. All of those glass jars were hidden away in the cabinets above, so we put them out on display to add to the natural farmhouse feel of the kitchen. A cup of green tea. Piles of fruit from Mr. Coco, the greatest and cheapest produce place around. This kitchen makes me want to eat fruit and add mint to my water.
Image above: One of my favorite little moments in the apartment. There were three randomly placed nails on this wall, and we just didn’t have any picture frames small enough for the usual cluster of frames. The simple wall that evolved is so much more special to us. The empty frame. The wire that feels like the outline of an ocean. A black and white picture of swimmers in the open space given to us by our friend Alison. And five flowers, one for each swimmer, hanging nearby.
Image above: Another perfect summer scene. One tiny nail perfect for hanging a framed vintage photograph of beachgoers. A vintage oar we found just for us, complete with a B for Bright and an M for Mangini. Vintage wooden box that we use while photographing Etsy items. Summer straw hat. Vintage postcards strewn like they’re fresh from the mailbox. Love.