Interiorssneak peeks

Peek Inside a Brooklyn Tea Studio

by Amy Azzarito

A few weeks ago, Grace and I participated in an event put on by the folks at Atlas Obscura to celebrate the new app – Field Trip. One of the stops on the tour, was Bellocq, a tea house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that is literally around the corner from the Design*Sponge offices. For some reason, I had never stopped in before. When Grace and I walked inside, we literally gasped. From the Venetian plaster walls, to the pink velvet upholstery, we felt like we stepped into a little jewel box. You just felt that this was a real labor of love. Heidi Johannsen Stewart and Michael Shannon had been friends for nearly ten years – since they first met at Martha Stewart Living. It was a little tradition between them to search out beautiful teas when traveling and bring it home as gifts. When the pair began talking about a tea shop, it was only natural that Heidi’s husband Scott Stewart of Saaw, who has an amazing knack for creating unique environments, get into the act. With such a creative team, it’s no surprise that every detail of the business was completely planned out. Even the Bellocq tea canisters are custom designed, and the tea, itself is pretty fabulous, it’s collected from small purveyors around the globe and then the blends are put together in Greenpoint. Thanks, Heidi, Michael and Scott! –Amy Azzarito

Photography by Max Tielman

(Ed. Note: Bellocq was on the radio with Grace yesterday on After the Jump!)

Image above: The Bellocq walls are color washed venetian plaster. The tasting room has two plasters applied in panels followed by three hand applied color washes. The walls improve, and take on a life of their own, thanks to the careful efforts of experienced craftspeople. All the lumber used in the counter, shelves and flooring was salvaged.

See more of the Bellocq tea house in Brooklyn after the jump!

Image above: It was important for us to embrace the emotions of the home in our atelier. That effort led us to create the “fern room”. The walls surfaces are created by Saaw.

Image above: The furniture in the space was sketched up by Michael and fabricated in Scott’s workshop (Saaw, Inc). The fireplace was salvaged in Brooklyn.

Image above: The rooms are decorated with items we have collected on our travels.

Image above: Hand-turned furniture, salvage plank floors and salvage doors.

Image above: Close-up of one of the canvas wall hangings.

Image above: We selected the space largely because we fell in love with the light.

Image above: Bellocq offers to cup, sample, any of our tea blends. We often have small bites on-hand for clients to enjoy.

Image above: Bellocq has a great appreciation for rich classical design and for allowing historic elements to engage with the well crafted modern surfaces. Walls by Saaw.

Image above: Our Limited Collection is currently only available in the Atelier and on-line. These are our most rare teas.
Image above: We love to share extraordinary teas. The richness of the teas we source is truly exciting to anyone that has a passion for scent and flavor.

Image above: These teas are from the Bellocq Pure collection.

Image above: Most clients leave the atelier with a long established favorite tea and a new tea love.

Suggested For You


  • I’m going to have to make a trip from New Haven to visit this shop. I’ve been looking for a place to buy great tea up here since moving from Florida, without much luck. Lucky me for seeing this post today. Thanks D*S!

  • Oh my goodness, that fern room is simply jaw-dropping. I wish I could live in it. And what a great use of the pink velvet. The airy atmoshpere and flat window hangings do well in keeping it from looking too stuffy or decadent. I’m definitely gonna have to learn to do venetian plaster in my home. Thanks D*S!

  • Love that yellow packaging… and those pieces of poundcake and doughnuts look delicious.

    I would be curious to know whether the company named themselves after E. J. Bellocq, the turn of the century New Orleans photographer. His work is so haunting and beautiful.

  • All the simple things in life should be celebrated as though they are extrodinary. Bellocq has done this impeccably. This post as well as the After the Jump interview with the founders, is a great reminder to enjoy and bring care and attention to all the details as a maker.

  • I love Bellocq! On a recent trip to NYC my sister and I hunted down this place on a Friday night, we were racing through Greenpoint trying to get there before tasting hours were done and stumbled across this nondescript warehouse, peeked inside the windows and saw tea canisters, got super excited and were transported into this beautiful space. Probably spent an hour smelling all the lovely teas and chatting about them with Scott or Michael, can’t remember now. I loved all the amazing details and the plaster walls are captivating. Definitely going back if we ever make the trek back to New York from Vancouver!

  • Beautiful! I love everything, and compared with the “starbucks” of the world, well you just want to forever drink tea, not coffee!
    The only thing I’m not keen on ( and maybe it’s just its location ), is the painted canvas: I feel I want to pull it down and shake it out. It just doesn’t seem to have the right proportion for the space – to me it looks odd.

    But congrats on the most lovely of tea”rooms”

  • Wow!! I am so envious! If i’m ever in Greenpoint, Brooklyn i’d definitely stop over for a cup of tea. I love the dark wood, burgundies and yellow mix!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • We sell this tea at Gift at the Gardner and customers love the custom yellow canisters. After describing the the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Michael and Heidi were able to suggest different blends that could relate to the our museum. Bellocq is truly a unique experience.

  • Incredible. Very smart of them to create a space that is so photographable. I could fall in love with this light also!

  • I love Bellocq, especially that back room! I’m glad you shared the designers with us! I only wish that they would sell tea by the glass and have a seating area for lingerers. Brooklyn (and this city in general) needs more serious tea shops you can relax in.