When I first started my apartment hunt, I immediately knew what would make me fall for a place — a vintage feel, white kitchen, and original details. After finding out that nearly all 12 of my potential properties had been rented before I even got to step foot inside, I took a walk around my favorite Chicago neighborhood to clear my head. On that very stroll, like a gift from a stork, my current one-bedroom on Fremont Street fell into my lap. There is was: a “For Rent” sign tied to a wrought-iron gate. What sold me on the place was not only the serendipitous story of finding it, but how the owners had maintained the charm of their building. 100-year-old moldings, built-in cabinetry and that all-white kitchen seemed to have been waiting, preserved, for me all along.
What frequently catches my eye is when homeowners not only preserve, but amplify, the original parts of a space.
Charlie and Megan beautifully did just that after buying this 150-year-old apartment in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Originally, they were intrigued by the increase in square footage they would be getting, but upon closer inspection, the parlor floors, high ceilings, original fireplaces and moldings were what made the place irresistible. Charlie works in real estate and too often finds that new construction doesn’t even make an attempt at protecting the original elements of the “rich history of Brooklyn design and construction.” That being said, maintaining those elements in their home was of the utmost importance. Six weeks of cosmetic changes, including a new doorway, closet rebuilds and rewiring was all it took to bring the century-old place into the present day. Once you take a peek inside, I’m sure you’ll agree that they’ve done a great job crafting a fantastic backdrop for their covetable vintage collection. Enjoy! — Garrett
Photography by Aaron Joseph
A piece of a Philadelphia theater's backdrop drapes the wall behind the television. In its entirety, the backdrop – from
Holler & Squall
– is 20 feet by 10 feet, and slivers of it live all over the couple's apartment. The vintage swivel chairs are a must for the pair. They lend themselves so well to bopping between conversations amongst friends. The television console is from West Elm.
Charlie's mother sold posters for a living in the 70s. Her remaining collection is filled with bold, unique patterns and colors. Megan and Charlie couldn't resist using her
poster to decorate their apartment's bar – also an heirloom from Grandmother.
Residential designer and developer
and his wife, Megan, who handles real estate mediation and litigation. The large sign was picked up from a man who used to sell salvaged artifacts on Houston Street in Manhattan. When Charlie took it home on the subway, every cop thought he had stolen it right off the wall.
Charlie has always wanted to live in a clock tower so he loves how this giant
clock gets him as close to the real deal as possible.
Pocket shutters proved to be the best option for the living room's enormous windows. Finding a rug that was both large and inexpensive was challenging, but
ended up having just the right option for the space. Lighting by
Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co
Charlie and Megan's
Chesterfield is so plush it's hard to resist falling asleep in its folds. The Salvador Dalí lithographs hung in Charlie's grandparents' living room when he was a kid.
"The pew was originally from a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but was more recently used as seating for a burlesque show in DUMBO. The seat still has glitter caught in the grain of the wood from the dancers..." The dining chairs were picked up when a nearby restaurant shuttered. A little reupholstery made them feel brand new. The wall sconces are by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., and the dining table was bought at
Dorset Finds Store
Charlie and Megan love how the
wallpaper constantly tricks their guests into thinking it's real shelving. That's exactly what trompe l'oeil wallpaper was created for – tricking the viewer into thinking a flat object is three dimensional. This nook gets more attention than any other piece in the home.
The living room's office is furnished by West Elm.
The two recently learned that the best deals at the
Brimfield Antique Show
happen just before closing on the final day. This vintage photo is proof.
The couple enjoy how light and uncomplicated their bedroom's design is.
Benjamin Moore "Snowfall"
covers the walls, and the ceiling light is from Restoration Hardware.
Their bedding is from West Elm, the lamp is from
and the antique bedside tables were restored by Megan.
Charlie and Megan got engaged in Paris right before Christmas. Charlie's gift to her that year was this Eiffel Tower ring stand to hold her wedding band. While visiting friends in Amsterdam last year, the couple picked up this
The Wachtels love shoes so much that they had to create ingenious storage solutions for their many pairs. This industrial, medical cabinet from
even has a light that pops on when the door is opened.
Originally, the home had a door connecting the kitchen and front room. The couple tore down the doorway and carved out this stunning archway to let more light in and to help the rooms flow into one another. This room is still a work in progress, and the couple is always on the hunt for seating solutions that properly fill the slightly awkward space. Tips appreciated! Rug by
Anthony Franck Rugs
and vintage wall sconces by
New York Vintage Lighting
Many of the sitting room's accessories were handed down from Charlie's grandparents. Growing up, his family always joked about how their grandparents wouldn't let them leave without taking some trinket from their never-shrinking attic.
desk was found at an antique store in Massachusetts and is decorated with a sketch that Charlie found in a home he was renovating. It's dated 1909. "We can't decipher who the artist is. Until I'm proven wrong, I'll assume it's an early work of a very important artist," he says. The framed auction notice from the 1800s concerns Brooklyn land parcels. Charlie fell in love with it, but when he went to snag it, it had already been sold! It turns out Megan had secretly bought it for him as a birthday gift the day before.
The windowless kitchen is never lacking light due to the large skylight above it. The wall is painted in
Benjamin Moore "White Dove"
flat with high gloss on the molding, and the lighting is by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Finding a wallpaper with "the right amount of whimsy and cheer" was very challenging. This
Schumacher "Birds and Butterflies"
print was the obvious choice once the two stumbled upon it.
Charlie loves how the charcoal grout gives their bathroom a "great washroom feel, but the marble floor and countertop give it a little more richness." Megan's favorite part of the room is the feeling she has while getting ready inside. She says it's nothing short of primping in a luxury hotel's bathroom. More Benjamin Moore "White Dove" is used here, and the medicine cabinet is from Restoration Hardware.
designed the frameless shower door, and the wall sconces are from
The home's floorplan.