Sneak Peek: Chris and Julia Thomas


Three and a half years ago, Chris and Julia Thomas moved into this apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Though it is a relatively small New York City apartment, they’ve made it a priority to surround themselves with beautiful works of art, even if they aren’t able to display them all. They own countless prints and paintings that inspire them to create their own inspiring work. Their closets are filled with unframed prints, and the basement stores other finds too big for their current apartment. In addition to artwork, they love to scavenge and collect furniture in various cities and places like the Brimfield Antique Fair. By combining Chris’ love of all things strange, industrial and vintage with Julia’s inclination toward the traditional, they’ve managed to merge their aesthetics and create an artistic, inspired home. Their design firm, Hieronymus, specializes in motion graphics, editorial illustration and branding work. They have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing clients, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Penguin and the New York Times, among others. They love owning their own shop and working together as a team. Thank you, Chris and Julia, and a special thanks to Scott Whittle for the lovely photos! — Shannon

Image above: We found this clock at an antique fair outside of Pittsburgh, PA, and put it in storage when we moved to Hawaii in 2006. It was a great surprise to rediscover it when we moved back to the mainland and love having it in our kitchen. The butter painting is by Julian Merrow-Smith, and the paintbrushes are poured glass, which we found in Chris’ hometown of Omaha, NE. This bright little corner is a wonderful place to sketch and paint in the mornings . . . and use as extra counter space when cooking a big meal at night.


Image above: We bought our kitchen table from an artist on Long Island who hand crafts tables out of salvaged barn wood. It was totally custom, and we worked with him on how rough we wanted the boards, the stain and the size. He did us the added favor of making the legs removable so we could fit it up our narrow staircase. The tabletop was a little too rough when we first picked it up, so Chris sanded and refinished it — in the kitchen. (There was an incredible amount of sawdust; it nearly ended with me killing him.)

See more of Chris and Julia’s Brooklyn home after the jump . . .


Image above: Our bedroom is definitely tight on space (we don’t even have a closet), so it was really tricky to find bedside tables that would fit. In the end, Chris had pieces of walnut cut to a custom size, then he sanded and stained them and attached them to the wall with brackets. To make the small space more cheerful, we’ve hung some bright art. The painting to the right was given to us by our good friend and talented Hawaii artist, Pegge Hopper. It’s actually her painting palettes that she’s sewn together. It adds a bright burst of color that is delightful to see first thing in the morning. The hummingbird above the bed was painted by Golly Bard.


Image above: This lamp is Chris’ favorite thing in the apartment. We found it in Amsterdam in 2011, freshly scavenged from an Amsterdam film studio the day before. It’s extremely heavy and probably should have caved the roof in by now. Behind it is a lithograph from the early 1910s, which we also found in Amsterdam later that year. After we had it framed, we were worried that none of our walls were large enough to make room for the massive 57″ print; this is only one of two walls that could have fit it. The least stylish thing in the photo is — by his own admission — Chris.


Image above: All over our apartment, we have these wonderful sketches from a long-time family friend and incredible artist, Priscilla Steele. They were a wedding gift from when we got married in 2010, and they add such detailed charm throughout the apartment. The spotlight has some mystery surrounding it. We don’t know where it came from, but it has wonderful deco charm. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment Etsy purchases that happens after a second glass of wine.


Image above: The apartment has a serious lack of shelving, so we painted some pine and used inexpensive brackets to make a few bookshelves. The Emeco chair was found on the street in Williamsburg with a sign that said “free,” so we took it home, cleaned it up and gave it a second life.


Image above: Second to the office, the living room is where we spend most of our time. The couch is nice and compact, and it doesn’t take over the whole room. I hand-printed fabric and sewed throw pillows for some added texture and warmth. Above the couch is a chalk pastel from my aunt, Sydney McGinley, a Pierre Bonnard lithograph from 1894 and an Alvin Lustig screen print.


Image above: I found this in a little antique store near my parents’ house in Maryland. Being a designer and a typography geek, when I saw the bookshelf, it was one of those “I must have this!” moments. The owner of the shop speculated that it was originally used to store and sell spices or to sort mail. These days we use it to store all of our odds and ends — “H” is for hardware, “G” is for gouache and “J” is for the assorted junk we want to forget about.


Image above: In 2007, we were walking the streets of Hawaii when I said to Chris, “Is that an Eames chair under all those air conditioners?” Sure enough, someone had thrown out a piece of design history, and we were quick to snatch it up. We had the leather reupholstered, and it doesn’t have the ottoman, but it was still a once-in-a-lifetime find. The print peeking out of the left side is by the incredible, brilliant and all-around nice guy, Bryan Nash Gill.


Image above: We’re really running out of wall space, so we had no choice but to stack art salon-style. We found our coffee table at an antique store here in Park Slope back when we lived in Manhattan. It’s just a stained butcher block with legs, but I love the stripes created by the two different types of wood. Our rug is a nice opportunity to add color and texture to the room. The Charley Harper crow print we found at an antique store in Albuquerque last year.


Image above: If the film studio lamp is Chris’ favorite thing in the apartment, the Anaconda painting is definitely a close second. Ghana has a wonderful history of local artists painting movie posters on flour sacks to promote films toured by DVD-toting entrepreneurs. Some artists toe the line and follow the original posters exactly, while others take a much more personal approach. This is the latter. It’s a mixture of folk art and the absurd and is a welcomed (if not strange) addition to our home. To the left is one in a set of three concert posters by the wonderful designers and printers at Lure Design.


Image above: A lot of work gets done in our home office, so we try and keep it as tidy as possible. The rug on the floor is as much functional as it is aesthetic — it stops us from rolling back, as the floors slope nearly a half-foot in the center of the apartment. Above my desk is a treasured gouache by Maira Kalman, which is featured in her book, Food Rules. To the left is the artwork found on the cover of Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution. The Aeron chairs (purchased from a furniture sample sale) may feel more at home in a 1990s tech startup, but when you spend so much time in front of a screen, we try and be as comfortable as possible.


Image above: I’m in the habit of leaving Chris little sketches on post-its. This one was inspired by a Hieronymus lunch trip to Di Fara Pizza in Midwood. The pizza was definitely worth a drawing! (We left the brass knuckles at home.)

Lisa

Really adorable home, and lots of personality in a small space. You can tell they love everything in it and have tailored it to themselves very specifically. Good job!

Leslie

Love it! So colorful and homey. The brass knuckles-cum-paperweight is a nice touch too, haha.

Rose

Perfection! beautiful and interesting things abound, but amazingly clutter free!

Belinda

I love all of the art and personality in these photos. I am also obsessed with the sconces in the bedroom. Can you share where these are from?

Annie

Charmed by the aestetics, backup stories and that funky Ghana movie poster. Trying to imagine the transportation from Hawaii, Amsterdam etc. of certain
LARGE items. And, who printed “Le Pain” and “Le The” ??

Chris

Hi Belinda! The sconces in the bedroom are from Pottery Barn; they’re the Madison Glass Pendant Sconces. Annie, we’re not sure where the antique Le Pain and Le The prints came from originally, as they were found in Julia’s parents’ basement. It’s been tough shipping some of the larger things in the apartment—but it’s been totally worth it!

Janet

Any more details on the sofa? Where is it from. Looks simple & perfect.

Annie

I need to know where to go to find both Eames and Emeco chairs in the trash! What luck!

Syd McGinley

You have accomplished great things. I love that you have large items in a “small space.”

Hilary Meurer

Hi guys! Hope Denise can find you a bigger place to keep your collection growing. I want to be you when I grow up.

Chris

Janet—flattered that you like the sofa! It’s from Room and Board, but I’m sad to say that it’s discontinued. We’ve been huge fans of the fabric choice—it doesn’t look almost 6 years old.

Jessica H

What a beautiful apartment. The stories behind each of your unique finds, your selected artwork, and thoughtful choices, creates a lovely narrative of your life and how you live. If your apartment is any reflection of yourselves, you two must be very special individuals!

Sarah

Gorgeous place. I covet that big alphabetized cabinet. And where is the fab bird headboard from?

Melinda

Chris and Julia – this is absolutely awesome! Kudos. I am so inspired but lacking in talent. Sending you happy thoughts.

Lulu

What a charming place! Could you tell me where your rugs and bedding are from – great colours and patterns.

Kelly

What an amazing space! You both have an incredible eye and taste. The designers in you come out in each and every detail. Your apartment is an impresive mix of modern and classic, simple and complex. This is the home dreams are made of!

Kelly

What an inspiring, amazing space! Julia & Chris, you both have an incredible eye and taste — The designers in you come out in each and every room and detail. Your apartment is an impresive mix of modern and classic, simple and complex. Simply fabulous. This is the home dreams are made of!

nadine woloshin

Gorgeous home and wonderful art!! Love your dining room table. Would you have contact information for that Long Island artist?

Julia

Sarah, thanks for the kind words! I wish I could say that the headboard was from somewhere unusual and exciting, but really it’s from the Pottery Barn outlet. Nadine, we only have an email address for the table maker. If you’d like to get in touch with us through the contact on our website, we’d be happy to share the contact info!

Chiara

I love what they have done with the place. The colours are beautiful and the lamp in the wall in the bedroom has given me real inspiration for my own room. I love their style!

GG

Chris and Julia, you two are a match made in heaven. Your home is amazing and clearly filled with love. I am inspired by the fact that you have shown that not everything in your home has to have an amazing story … because that is an amazing story in and of itself! It is your ability to combine the otherwise ordinary headboard from The Pottery Barn outlet or a rug found on sale, with amazing pieces of contemporary and/or antique artwork and craftsmanship that makes your home immediately interesting and accessible to the ordinary apartment dweller.

Marie

Beautiful! Love the bedroom and kitchen shots especially. Their space has a down to earth, eclectic, and approachable vibe.

holly

The vintage cabinet/bookshelf with letters is my favorite! Love all the little additions of ART and that POP of yellow in the vintage clock is FAB….
Nice SNEAK PEAK….Looks like a HAPPY space….

Jojo

Where is your bed frame from? I love the little birds!

Sarah

You had me at Pegge Hopper. I collected prints of hers when I was a child and 30 years later still have several, along a book of her work. I wish I could have afforded a painting back then. You have done a great job with your art and lucky furniture finds!

Katherine

Love the artwork…. Would never have thought to frame some of the media that you did.

elise

Do you know where the (spot)light above the eames chair came from? I love it, in fact you’re entire place is wonderful.

Thank you!

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