Interiorssneak peeks

In Brooklyn, A Nomad Puts Down Roots

by Shannon Grant

For the past two and a half years, Farah Malik has lived in this apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Being that the United States is the eighth country she has lived in, Farah has accumulated quite an expansive and, as she says, sentimental collection of objects, representative of each phase of her life. After completing a gut renovation (the building had been abandoned and occupied by squatters for almost seven years), her home was transformed into a white-washed gallery-like space, perfect for showcasing her belongings. Farah describes her decorating style as Mediterranean, bric-a-brac and global gypsy. This translates to a web of inspiration for her beloved accessories line, A Peace Treaty. Farah is co-founder and CEO of this ethically-produced accessory design company. They work with artisans in regions of political and social strife, bringing them fair trade work and allowing them to make textiles and jewelry using centuries old skills that are often at risk of dying out. Thank you, Farah, and thanks to Max for the photographs! Shannon

Photographs by Maxwell Tielman

Image above: The wood bench is stacked with a few handwoven cashmeres; handknit baby alpaca throws or hand block printed pieces from my A Peace Treaty line. I like to have scarves laid out so I can grab one and go. The prints are of Frederico Fellini’s sketches I picked up when I lived in Rome. The postcards are from my time in Spain, I have yet to find frames for them. The pillows on the sofa are Central Asian handwoven pieces that range in origin from Turkey to Pakistan.

Image above: The Viking stove is my hearth/fireplace focal point for the home. It is the only real splurge in this home. The brass hood is from eBay – I decided I absolutely wanted a brass hood. I had bought a cheap Ikea hood that traveled first to California to be overlaid with brass, the craftsman apologetically quadrupled the quote he’d originally given me and sent the hood back to me. I then had it trucked off to New Jersey, promised by a metalsmith that he could submerge it in gold color for me only to be told a few days later that the electrical parts could not be removed. Many weeks later I found a brass hood for 200 bucks on eBay, something I had been looking for for over a year! The baskets on the shelf are handmade by women in Pakistan or Burkina Faso. The brass kettle is Portuguese. I grew up in England, so the kettle is always on for tea. The pottery is from a time when I dabbled in ceramics and spent some months at a potter’s wheel. I cook a lot and so handmade utensils are the ultimate inspiration for making more beautiful things by hand. There’s also a Moroccan tea kettle handed down from an old friend’s grandmother in Marrakech. I have a real thing for heirlooms – in fact my whole company’s slow fashion made for longevity ethos promotes a pass down from generation-to-generation culture. The farm sink also entailed a wild goose chase, most are made oversize and finding a 24″ one at the time proved quite difficult.

Image above: The wooden spoons are all from travels: Thailand, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tanzania, Mexico, Panama and Lebanon. A few of them I pinched from my mom’s kitchen, hoping to one day “catch” her cooking germs. My favorite are the ebony wood ones. The chopping board is from the Aeolian island of Salina in Sicily; the place where one of my favorite films – Il Postino – was filmed. The brass bottle stopper was hand-crafted by an artisan cooperative in Lebanon. The woven basket is woven from palm fronds – handmade by South African women. The mortar and pestle is from a Bengali store on Brick Lane, London. It’s probably hand-carved red oak. I always keep cloves handy, apparently they act as a natural insect repellant. The olive oil is from Portugal, I love old Portuguese packaging which I first discovered when I went to University in Montreal, a city that’s filled with little mama papa Portuguese artisan food shops. This one was picked up in Lisbon.


See more of this Brooklyn home after the jump…

Image above:The light in my living room makes my eyes feel like an ol’ granny’s BUT I love it still. This perfectly dim lighting fixture was custom ordered from the Schoolhouse Electric website, what a great business idea. All design should be accessible and customizable like that! 

Image above: I love Edison lightbulbs – this was also customized.

Image above: The framed block print on top of the glass cabinet, was made by me as I was testing out a design in our block printing workshop in the slums outside Lahore, Pakistan with one of the few remaining silk block printers left in the region that practices the trade as it was practiced during the Silk Road era. This was one of the first projects A Peace Treaty helped resuscitate, the block printer’s sons did not want to follow the family tradition so we recruited 12 street kids from the slums (all over the age of 16) and trained them in the art. They now work at the workshop whose output has gone up six-fold and they are even exporting goods internationally. The framed photo is Helmut Newton – one of the greatest fashion photographers ever! Lace reminds me of watching my mom as a child, getting dressed for work. The vintage clock radio was my jukebox for many years before the iPod came along.

Image above: I found both this vintage clock and the shelf it sits on, on the street.

Image above: The rug is hand-knotted and from an ancient bazaar in the South Eastern Turkish town of Gaziantep. Its probably handmade by Kurdish artisans. The frames are hand-painted. I picked them up at my favorite charity shop, Oxfam, living in London. The best home decor finds! I’ve been obsessed with empty picture frames for two decades now. I love the way light filters into my room all day. It feels like a mini conservatory. The bedroom feels like it is suspended over the garden below. 

Image above: The nightstand is vintage from Furnish Green. The Union Jack because I was born and raised in London and the United Kingdom, represent!

Image above: The throw on the bed is from A Peace Treaty’s Resort 13 line. It is handwoven Silk Noil. The blanket is handwoven wool, from a company called Naturla, from Portugal. A Peace Treaty is expanding into home textiles so I’ve been trying out different throws on my bed almost daily.

Image above: I love white linen and doing laundry! The crumplier the better. Sometimes I wonder about myself because I enjoy changing my sheets more than going out! I also have a rule – wash off the city and enter into bed clean every night. I usually pick up local variations on white bedding wherever I might be. These lightly embroidered sheets are from Pakistan.

Image above: The spice chest is Indian – it stores old buttons, pins and needles. The mirrors were bought in Italy’s largest flea market, Porta Portese, in Rome.

Image above: The gold-plated brass jewelry is all from my line A Peace Treaty. I’m usually quite adorned, passing through airport security is no joke.

Image above: The rings are all A Peace Treaty and include sustainably sourced Lapis Lazuli and Agate. The pieces range in inspiration and technique from Egyptian to Afghan.

Image above: The necklaces are from our Libyan collection Villa Bambola. This particular one went through 5 prototypes before it finally came out the way we wanted it. My favorite earrings are the camel bone carved horn shaped ones from a project we did with Rajasthani artisans in the Thar desert. Resin and plastic had started taking away the livelihoods of artisans that worked with camel bone (a sustainable practice after the meat, leather and milk are utilized in other markets and trades) so we found old families to train younger generations and revive this dying craft.

Image above: I’ve framed handcrafted Italian/Florentine paper because its so beautiful I want to always keep looking at it. I also love wrapping presents.

Image above: That’s a view on to my secret garden. It is always pin-drop silent and my bedroom hovers above.

Image above: This was handmade by women in Zanzibar.

Image above: The drawing Tape #3 by Hannah Cole, it was the second piece I’ve ever bid on at an art auction. This one was to benefit Groundswell Community Mural Project.

Image above: The mirrors are hand-hammered copper, brass and pewter from Pakistan.

Image above: The milk glass shade light fixture was bought at a pawn shop and rewired. It felt too new and shiny so I rubbed sea salt water all over it (perhaps I went too far).

Image above: The tin cup is from Cyprus; the radial door knob that functions as a towel hanger was handmade in Pakistan.

Image above: Guest soaps: Syria, Lebanon, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Kenya and Turkey are represented here. The packaging is mostly Portuguese. I’m making a move to organic and chemical-free skin and body care so my friends’ lines with oat grains and essential oils (neroli is my favorite) are represented here.

Image above: The cabinet is from a pawn shop in Toronto. The trinket boxes come from Pakistan and Kashmir.

Image above: Another one from the Schoolhouse Electric website.

Image above: The butcher block is Ikea.

Image above: Bowls are from Turkey, Pakistan, Japan, China, Italy and Mexico. The hand-carved palm leaf basket is from Pakistan.

Image above: This table that has many dinner party memories ingrained in it was found on the street. An old roommate was a set-designer and she had a knack for finding gems. I had it sanded and polished.


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  • When the nomadic type put down roots, it’s almost always awesome. Partly because they’ve collected treasures from everywhere, and partly because the nomadic lifestyle means they can only hang on to the really good ones. This home is no exception, lovely job!

  • What a cool home! Not everything is my cup of tea, but it’s great that you got so much to remind you of your travels. I do envy that. And the philosophy of your company is so honorable and admirable to me. To preserve traditions, crafts and culture.

  • A simply beautiful home….love the farm sink paired with brass hood and hardware… in fact, I love the use of brass and gold detail throughout this home. Very lovely!

  • I have that same handcrafted Italian paper (the one on the left) and was also trying to figure out a way to enjoy it every day. I ended up taking an old Simpson’s wall clock and using it to cover the face. From geek to chic in a heartbeat. ;)

  • Love it! My favorites are always the homes that reflect an interesting life.

  • I bought my first home in January of this year and was having such a hard time finding brass fixtures & hardware. I told the man who was helping me at Lowes that BRASS IS BACK and they needed to get some options in ASAP! :) In the meantime, I also found ebay to be an awesome source of vintage brass pieces but have nothing to compare to that amazing stove hood score. Sheesh that is divine.

  • I love all the functional yet sentimental collections in this home – the bowls, the soaps, and especially the wooden spoons.

  • Loving all of the natural brass accents: faucets, hood, etc. And a house is a home when it is personal, like this home obviously is!

  • Stunning abode. I tip my hat to you, fellow lover of all that is brass.

  • Amazingly beautiful home…

    I also want to give a much delayed compliment to you guys on the decision to change the Sneak Peek headings from owners’/occupants’ names to more clever, intriguing, and memorable descriptions. Much more fitting for DS.

  • First time commenter, long time reader. This home looks amazing. Something I wish I could emulate. I guess I need to start packing my bags and do some travellin’!

  • You’re speaking my language! I have been craving brass accents in the kitchen and bathroom with white as well! May I ask where you sourced the brass shower curtain rod? What a lovely home! Thank you for allowing us in!

  • What a beautiful eclectic mix! On a side note, this is the first time I have visited your website and I love the layout/color scheme!

  • There are so many things to love in this home. The brass accents (that small band of tile) in the bathroom, and the kitchen hood…fabulous. I’ve traveled extensively and most of my treasures still sit in boxes….it’s time to get them out so I can enjoy them once again. This is just the push I need. I’ve never “pinned” one article to so many of my boards as I have this one. Congratulations on a beautiful home.

  • stunning! I love the brass fixtures most! Would you tell me pls. where you found that shower curtain fixture or was that customized too? really great!

  • Love it…can you share the white paint color used on walls…clean, crisp, and perfect backdrop~

  • Amazing home Farah and I love that every little piece in your home has a story to tell. I also love that you are helping revive some really old beautiful crafts from the subcontinent and wish you the very best in life!

  • I adore Farah’s home! The kitchen is really lovely. I find many kitchens in design magazines to be so similar that they all blur together. But yours looks as personalized as the rest of the home, which makes it look more like a room to live in rather than a room that’s specifically for cooking. Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m also loving the jewelry displays! It looks like you can “shop” in a fine boutique whenever you walk up to your dresser. And, knowing what Farah does for a living, it makes perfect sense! I’ve just re-done a vanity for myself with a new coat of paint and re-cushioned seat. Setting my jewelry and perfume on top makes me feel so girly and wonderful! If you’d like to check it out, you can visit: http://littleyellowcouch.com/living-a-connected-life/2013/10/17/vanity

  • Echoing the love for all the beautiful brass accents here. But what I really love is the mixing of metal tones, IE the stainless stove/brass hood and fixtures in the kitchen). I think mixing metals (and wood tones for that matter) creates a more timeless look and a comfortable feeling in a home.

  • Wow, thank you for featuring Farah’s home! I fell in love with her jewelry after seeing one of the 2011 collections on a blog, and I hope to own some pieces in the future. Are those camel bone earrings still available for purchase? I see them under ‘collections’ but not under ‘shop’.
    Loving at all the brass, the ceramics, the patterns… so exotic and beautifully curated.

  • This home is definitely loved. I can see how comfortable it is and the thoughtful considerations to color and pleasing designs throughout the apartment. I especially love the very first picture of the comfy bed with the beautiful comforter.

  • Stunning and very unique style proves the distinctive taste of Princes ” S “.

  • Beautiful place reflecting an adventurous life. I’m so glad I saved this tour as a break from a stressful day!

  • Hey, I love your place! That clock isn’t vintage however. Restoration Hardware used to sell them. Mine broke during a move & I miss it so! It’s a moonclock and the alarm is just the light blinking in case you didn’t know. Enjoy!

  • I just returned home from a trip to Morocco. We bought a rug, of course, but also some pottery and cooking dishes. I can’t wait to add them to my home as you’ve done here.

  • I love that necklace with the fan details, and the thick one near it with the turquoise band. And I don’t even wear jewelry.

  • Sorry to be so late in commenting, I was out of town for a while, in fact, north of Brooklyn in Woodhaven, Queens, with no internet!
    This home is a real joy in so many ways! You’ve created your own special places, vignettes to let your eyes travel over again and again without tiring, textures that you want to run your hands over, and everything is uniquely personal and radiates an animated, yet serene ambience. Just beautiful!
    Thank you so much for sharing your home with us!

  • Beautiful home. Thanks for sharing. Would you be willing to post the model number of your Viking stove? I’m in the market for a small one and that looks perfect! I’ve been on their site before but haven’t seen that one. I still don’t. Love your store. Beautiful global items.

  • Hi, your home is absolutely stunning. Do you mind sharing the name of the white paint? Thanks so much.

  • LOVE the brass hood!! Would you mind sharing the brand? I’ve searched the web with no luck. Thanks!

  • I love the faucet! Any information? Redoing house built in 1836. It would look great with my antique zinc trough sink I scored on One Kings Lane. Thank you!

  • I would love to find this color/finish combo for the Viking range; it is stunning. I’ve searched the Viking site with no luck; would you please share where you found this beauty? Thank you!

  • Piling to the comments on here – PLEASE share the brand/maker of the brass range hood.