After almost twenty years living in a crumbling tenement building on New York City’s Avenue C, food stylist Toni Brogan and her husband decided it was time for a change. The couple embarked on a six-month long apartment hunt before they found this building in the Lower East Side. The building was constructed in the early 1950s by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) as affordable equity cooperative apartments. Their favorite aspect was the building’s proximity to the recently restored East River Esplanade and the apartment is on the 16th floor, which gives it amazing views of the East River and of downtown skyline. With only one other owner, the apartment was in desperate need of some upgrades. The couple completely gutted and modernized the bathroom and kitchen, the entire apartment was fitted with new baseboards and more electrical outlets and they refinished the original parquet floors and stained them a dark walnut color. Once the architectural details were taken care of, it was time to think about decorating. Toni wanted the apartment to be an eclectic mix of old and new – filled with pieces she’s collected or made. As a professional food stylist, she’s worked with many great photographers and her walls are filled with their work. Thank you, Toni and a big thank you to Kana Okada for the lovely photographs! -Amy
Image above: The couch is the good ole solid Petrie Sofa from Crate & Barrel, it’s comfortable, wears well and we liked it so much I bought a second apartment-sized one to make an L-shaped seating area. I made the little lumbar pillow from vintage Mexican serapes and is available on my etsy store. I had been scouring eBay and various online stores for a rug when this green turkish kilim popped up, and it seemed the perfect accompaniment to our collection of green artwork. The tortoise shell photo is by NYC Photographer Kana Okada. The Buffalo photo is by NYC Photographer Steve Giralt. The Cords painting is by Brooklyn Artist Eric LoPresti. The Franco Albini rattan ottoman was an $80 eBay score. I have had two similar vintage slatted benches for years. They both were in bad shape and have almost been tossed out multiple times, but I sanded and re-stained them and they look good as new.
Image above: I didn’t want a lot of upper cabinets, and liked the idea of open shelves.
See more of this Lower East Side apartment after the jump!
Image above: My favorite kitchen items are my collection of bowls from Stephanie Basralian. She makes simple, modern but earthy pieces which are then wood-fired, giving the outside glaze a unique effect from the wood, ash and salt. The octopus and feathers print is by Hallie Burton and was part of a “sea creatures” food story we worked on together. Bunny with Girl is from British artist Kate Corder. The little olive tree is another leftover from a photo shoot.
We removed this wall between the kitchen and living room to open the space up. The Ceasarstone countertop in Blizzard is 90 x 44 and can fit 8 people comfortably around for dinner! The cabinets and counters are Ikea, drawer pulls from Design Source on the Bowery in NYC. The turquoise pendant lights are Verner Panton. The grey stools are from Crate & Barrel and the Tabouret Limeade metal stools are from Overstock.com. The little orange tree was another leftover from a photo shoot where I needed orange leaves.
Image above: My husband’s father was a painter in the ’60s. We (rather unimaginatively) call these paintings “Broom” and “Rolls,” respectively. They are dated around 1969. The sheepskin was lugged back from my recent trip to New Zealand. And I made the pillows from vintage mexican saltillos.
Image above: The ebony and mahogany chessboard is something I picked up when I traveled through Africa in my twenties. It’s the only remaining item I have from this time period. The Eyes (mixed media) are by NYC Artist David Hochbaum and the Orange Still Life by American Artist Katie Trinkle Legge.
Image above: The Vietnamese chair is from One King’s Lane with authentic New Zealand sheepskin. Gold Marc Jacobs bag (generally used as a laundry bag). The Japanese Girls on Whiskey Cask iix by NYC Artist Michael Sanzone and Woman (mixed media) is by Irish Textile Designer Helen James.
Image above: The blanket is one of my knitting projects. The George Nelson Bubble Lamp from Ylighting. The Photographs above the bed are part of a 4-part series that I did with Kana Okada, where we created a series called “Food Blocking” using only foods of the same colors grouped together, in brown, silver, white and black. You can see this work in more detail on my professional site.
Image above: The original bathroom was a crumbling mess of Pepto Bismol pink and black tile. The only original detail I saved was the bathtub which was reglazed, and I was amazed with the results. I wanted the space to be modern, clean and classic and used a combination of subway tiles and penny tiles with light grey grout. Recessing the medicine cabinet into the wall, installing a tankless toilet and floating sink, gave the small space an airy feel.
Image above: New York in 1729 print on canvas found in Hudson at Lili and Loo.