sneak peek: tara & percy of jersey ice cream co.

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: Our bedroom! The light that comes in here in the morning is absolutely stunning. It’s a design element in itself. Percy is on the tall side, and the couple that lives here had a black iron bed frame with a footboard that simply wasn’t going to work. He built this simple platform frame from some wood scraps. It brought the bed down to window level, which is nice and really allowed the molding above the bed to shine. A little Ikea shag run, vintage chest at the end of the bed, and absolutely perfect 1920s clothing delivery parcel add a few touches that make this place feel like home.

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.

  1. how2home says:

    Wow…im speechless! Absolutely adore this home and that turquoise dresser is a stunner! Our favorite thing to do at home is also talking with an accent!!! Love to be able to be apart of the Ellen Degeneres show…that will be my dream come true!

  2. Yvonne Cornell says:

    I love Tara & Percy. I bought a vintage Parisian postcard book for my husband from their Etsy shop. It arrived with a sweet note. It’s great to get a peek into their lovely home with all the tender care shown in their shop and note. Their photography of the vintage pieces is equally beautiful.

  3. Wow, this light and airy space is absolutely beautiful with its comforting details…love it!

  4. The Wife says:

    Lovely simplicity. My favorite thing is how there seems to be a little touch of turquoise in almost every scene!

  5. Courtney says:

    8 weeks? I can’t believe it. This is the sort of place that looks as though it has been lived in for years. So comfortable and welcoming. Love all of that light, too!

  6. erin says:

    terribly intrigued by that tiny dish towel holder! and all that sunshine.

  7. HK says:

    Amazing! 8 weeks? We’ve lived in our house for 2 years and it’s not this put together! This may have just shamed me into getting to work…

  8. hilary says:

    Love this! So bright and fresh!

  9. Stephanie says:

    haha this “my favorite thing to do…” made me literally LOL.

  10. cathy says:

    The light is amazing, must be a happy place to live. I like the simplicity and the blue am0ire is to die for.

  11. This is so charming…it oozes with character. And it totally made me smile!

  12. So beautiful! My mind is spinning with all the ideas that are great for a renter like me (especially the take apart shelf – brilliant!).

  13. Nicole says:

    That is best “favourite thing to do” that Sneak Peeks has ever had! :) I think this is my dream home – full of interesting, and vintage things, but not overcrowded. Lovely!

  14. Amberly says:

    Love, love, love your home! So many wonderful little details – especially that frame around the photo of swimmers! So creative and it looks great. I also love how pretty and comfortable the bedroom is. I think you should open up a cute little B&B on top of all of your other goals, and I will be your first guest! ;)

  15. Lauren C.T. says:

    I think this is my favorite sneak peak so far. I adore the ribbon wall, but that would be a disaster with my cat. Everything else is pretty much perfect too. :)

    PS: Where is the ditzy floral fabric on the bed pillows from? I love it!

  16. Casey says:

    That is THE BEST “My favorite thing to do at home…” answer I’ve ever seen on this website, hands down.

  17. kay* says:

    8 weeks?!? This is fabulous! Also very intrigued by the dish towel holder…was that made as well or purchased from somewhere?

  18. percy & tara says:

    Thank you all so very much!

    The floral pillows are Ralph Lauren, though I’m pretty sure we snagged them in the Home Goods clearance section.

  19. Kathy Sexton says:

    Design Sponge — you did it again!!! Where did you find these people?
    I love everything about their home. Their creativity oozes from every inch of their apartment. So clever! I love it!

  20. miss nita says:

    that turquoise armoire in the bedroom is awesome-I love the splash of color it adds to the room.

  21. caroline says:

    Stunning! Where did you find the oar?? I love finding random items with my initials on them!

  22. it has to be one of the most beautiful personal space we have seen here….

  23. Emily says:

    Best “Our favorite thing to do at home” ever!

  24. dana says:

    Love your temporary space! But mostly just love that you wander about talking in accents….so much fun!

  25. melanie says:

    ohhhhh my dream kitchen. so gorgeous!!

  26. Leigh Ann says:

    I LOVE this space!!!! It’s by far one of my favorite homes. I’m trying to figue out how u made the ribbon wall. It’s my favorite part!!! :)

  27. Looks like they have always live there, absolutely wonderfulf styling with vintage finds!

  28. I love the use of the IKEA NORDEN table as a 2 person work desk space. What a great idea!

  29. fantastic – I love the bargain finds. And I have never seen that Ikea table look better! :)


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