Interiorssneak peeks

A Home in the City with Coastal Touches

by Garrett Fleming

Brooklyn will always be our first love here at Design*Sponge. It’s one of the most creative boroughs in New York and it was home to many members of our team for a very long time. So we’re never surprised, but always happy, to find more beautiful homes right under our noses. Tack and Ward designer Stefanie and Art Director Andy have been living in and decorating their railroad-style for the last year and a half. Personalizing their space was of the upmost importance, so family heirlooms and mementos from world travels fill their four-room apartment. Getting used to the winters was a challenge for these southern transplants, but the blank canvas that the space offered was just the right distraction from the winter blues. Having grown up near the North Carolina coast, Andy’s love of all things nautical can easily be seen in small touches throughout the space. Whether it’s a photograph or his surfboard, it’s clear that his love of the sea had major implications for the couple’s home. Stefanie runs her company from the apartment so it had to be both cozy and functional — somewhere she wouldn’t mind spending an entire day working away. It took the couple six months to get the entire space up to their standards and we love the final result- especially in a rental. They’ve mastered the art of using area rugs to add color and warmth and adding temporary shelving to hide less-than-perfect parts of an older rental. Click through to see more ways Stefanie and Andy turned their Greenpoint rental into a warm and nautically-inspired home. Enjoy! —Garrett

All photos by Andy Wardrep

The Kitchen: Morning light draws the couple here for their routine coffee catchups. Vintage chairs and IKEA finds sit atop a rug from Plastica.
The two's dining area is full of personal mementos; cacti from a friend who moved away, a mermaid bottle opener to remember a vacation by, salt 'n pepper shakers from Dad, and a nautical serving tray that reminds Andy of his childhood on the North Carolina coast. Table and stainless chairs by IKEA.
This beautiful print, "...was taken by Andy out at Rockaway Beach during a storm years ago." Stefanie says. The two found the chairs at an antique store, and Stefanie designed the table runner herself. "The beeswax candles remind me of my visit to Bainbridge Island with my childhood best friend. They are so pretty I can barely stand to burn them," she explains.
The apartment's kitchen was totally bare when the couple moved in. We all know what that means: blank canvas! The two spend a lot of free time in the space so open shelving was the most practical option and allows them to see the goodies that would otherwise be hidden behind closed cabinet doors.
Here's further proof of how open storage keeps the couple's tools at the ready. The leather-strapped cutting board is from Remnant Handmade, and the hand vessel is by ceramist Megan Daloz. "My grandfather worked for Morton Salt at one time so I love being reminded of him when cooking," Stefanie says.
The Living Room: Stefanie and Andy were anxious about the size of their new place, but the smaller scale actually worked in the couple's favor as they love the coziness that their little living room provides. Coffee table and rug by West Elm.
Andy's surfboard serves as the focal point of the living room and Penny - the family dog - just loves curling up in the couple's cozy pillows and blankets. Sofa by Crate and Barrel.
Stefanie and Andy built the media console from reclaimed lumber and legs from Modern Legs. The two love how it adds a textural and beachy touch to their home. Friends' creations, and work by some of the couple's favorite artists such as Ryan Berkley and Dovetail Goods, fill the gallery wall.
The living room wall is adorned with oars that serve nicely to round out the nautical theme of this room. They were used in the couple's wedding and feature signatures and personal messages from all those that were in attendance. The lamp is from HomeGoods.
The Home Office: Stefanie made this chalkboard with a door from Home Depot and chalkboard paint. Her entire desk was designed by IKEA.
The artwork above Stefanie's desk is ever-changing as she finds new pieces to inspire her own work every day. "It always has some mix of product sketches, notes and reminders of friends and bits and bobs from other inspiring creatives." Her wooden table organizer was used in her wedding and is an old sugar-mold-turned-pencil-holder. Patterns found in nature serve as inspiration for much of Stefanie's Tack and Ward work.
The Master Bedroom: It was because of this lil pooch named Penny that the two ended up in their Greenpoint apartment. Their intended apartment didn't allow pets, so the couple were left with only four days to find a new home that would accept their, "little fur babes. This bedspread is from Home of the Brave and makes me feel like it's summer...," Stefanie says when discussing the room in the house that receives the most natural light. The woven baskets are from Target and West Elm.
Stefanie and Andy brought this driftwood back from their Mexican honeymoon and now use it as a jewelry hanger. The dresser belonged to Andy's grandparents.
Stefanie is a self-proclaimed driftwood addict. "I love a peaceful bedroom so we kept it simple with this garland from West Elm," she says. Lighting by IKEA.
This armoire was a great estate sale find. Stefanie and Andy love updating it with new paint treatments as their taste changes. The couple found the various blankets on their travels and, "the suitcase was [Stefanie's] grandfather's and still has the old Eastern Airlines label with his name on it."

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  • i love this space! i’m curious about the wood shelf in her office – anyone know where it’s from?

  • I always love hints of the sea or nautical touches in a home. I grew up in California and lived about two hours from the ocean. It was always pure magic to me and I could never get enough of it. Luckily, I now live 5 minutes drive for the Puget sound, which isn’t quite the same but it’s still bringing me happiness!

  • I’m such a sucker for photos of the sea. I would fill my entire home with them if I could. I absolutely love that photo taken by Andy, it has such wild beauty

  • I have been absolutely loving the amount of sneak peek/interiors posts lately. They’ve always been my favorite D*S feature. The one thing I’m not super into is the shift away from first-person captions on the photos. I always really liked reading personal notes and comments from the homeowner(s), it made tours feel intimate. Was there a reason for changing the narration?
    To be completely honest and hopefully not jerk-ish, the writing in this one felt forced — the awkward phrase “the two” was repeated a few too many times, and it had me missing the old posts :(

    • hi jessica

      each post is a little different because of the tone and captions given to us from home owners. some people provide long details, quotations and stories, and others like to provide just details about the home and be a bit more private. but i’ll make sure our team hears that note and works hard to include any first-person text we can.

      that said, the majority of home tours still include quotations and first-person writing to my knowledge. let me know if i’m missing any glaring ones ;)


    • hi laura

      can you tell me what browser and version you’re using? we haven’t had any issues with this one today (We solved last week’s error, which was related to oversized images being uploaded).


  • Great idea to use a branch or driftwood to display jewelry above the dresser– I’d never thought of that!

    Laura– The shelves look like they might be the “Ivar” style from Ikea.

  • I absolutely adore the cozy vibe they’ve created. The open shelving in the kitchen, the fab lights on either side of the bed + the way their personal belongings create such harmony…..really lovely.

  • Hi…lovely photos, as usual, but as your photos get better I begin to feel that the homes themselves are lost. You give a history of the media console but then attach a photo that makes it all but invisible. Please, wider shots for information, even if we pay in less perfectly framed / composed images?


    • Jackie

      We’ll try to make sure things being referenced are clearly in the photos, but we are working with the widest photos we’re given and aren’t cropping anything out on purpose.


  • Is there a way to view all photos at once rather than click through each image? I used to love the ability to scroll through one post quickly to get a full sense of the space right away. It also made it a bit easier for pinning.

    • Rebecca

      I’ve addressed this a lot already, but in short, no, not right now. You can use your arrow keys on your computer to scroll through without any clicking at all. Pinterest drives so much traffic away from blogs and away from crediting of sources (and the traffic that helps us provide all of this content for free), so designing for Pinterest isn’t going to be a priority right now, I’m sorry.


  • Love this-so many beautiful touches. Image 4 – anyone know what kind of plant that is?

  • This apartment is so sweet, beautiful, well thought out details. But how does a shot of incorrectly hung American flag get included?
    The union (blue field of stars) should always be on the left as seen by the observer.