When the decorating goal in a home is simply to have fun with each room, spaces tend to develop their own distinct styles. Product designer Leela Ivie Joshi and her husband Ryan Ivie, a doctor, approach each decor challenge like an art project. “It’s not just about the finished product,” she shares, “But about how much fun it can be to do it.” Their 700-square-foot apartment, situated on the corner of a busy and vibrant street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY, feels as bright and vital as its surroundings. Saturated color plays a big part in modernizing a home built in the year 1900. Leela and Ryan also happen to live above a bookstore, which only helps to grow their collection of cherished titles. Books are incorporated into the decor of every room and spread out around the home, lending their wisdom. The specific inspiration for each room varies — for example, the living area and kitchen feel bright, colorful, and full of energy. “There’s something very zen about sitting on top [of] the fridge drawing tiny henna designs on the wall,” Leela says. In fact, she wishes she had more walls just for the fun of creating something on them. In the bedroom, the pair wanted heavy storage to look like the inside of a suitcase. And in the bathroom, inspiration comes from the interior details of North Indian residences, painted a dark and moody tone. Always in a state of outgrowing their one-bedroom apartment, creative solutions for exposed storage compensate for the apparent lack of space.
Before tackling one room at a time, Leela and Ryan changed the wall color from greige to bright white so they could see the space for what it was, and went from there. The couple figured everything they needed to be done could be tackled in a weekend, and instead, projects ended up taking weeks or months. “Naive optimism is important with any home project,” Leela admits, “Otherwise, you wouldn’t do it!” —Annie
Photography by Ryan Ivie
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