A Medical Resident’s Modern & Budget-Friendly Brownstone

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Second-year NYU resident and Philadelphia-born Annie Honart has traveled all over the world studying to become a doctor. A brief stint at Oxford here, a few inspiring, medical-exchange programs in West Africa there — her passport has earned many stamps. At the end of all of these trips, however enlightening, she always comes back to where she feels safest and the most at-ease, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Annie settled into this neighborhood two years ago after realizing it would allow her to bike to work while also maximizing what precious, little time she has for fun. With friends living nearby, Boerum Hill was the perfect option.

Immediately upon walking inside the apartment for the first time, she knew it was the perfect option for her. The 117-year-old home’s exposed brick, hardwood floors and old-world charm paired so fantastically with the updated kitchen, Annie couldn’t resist. With a heavy workload, Annie knew she wouldn’t have the time to decorate the space with the care it deserved. So before the ink on the rental contract was even dry, she enlisted the help of friend and interior designer, Alex Kalita. Annie knew Alex’s shared aversion to clutter and love of clean, modern style would make them the perfect match for the project at hand. Plus, she trusted Alex’s taste implicitly — an invaluable trait when you don’t have time to review every one of your designer’s decisions.

When it came time to kick-off the project, Alex had her work cut out for her. Armed with a $7,000 budget, a tiny living area and almost no storage, the designer was tasked with filling the entire home with new furnishings. “Stylistically, I like modern, I like minimalist, I like clean,” Annie shares. “I wanted my home to reflect my aesthetic, but I was equally committed to feeling a sense of history (and saving money) by selectively incorporating family heirlooms.” Alex kept all of this in mind as she went about crafting a refuge for the medical resident. All-in-all, Alex has done a fabulous job putting together a space that’s perfect for Annie; a comfy home where she can plop down and unwind after a 24-hour shift. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Biz Jones

  1. Gorgeous space! I’d love to know more about the print above the farm table in the kitchen—from the corner we can see it looks stunning.

  2. Alex says:

    Hi Kate! The photograph above the farm table is by Brooklyn-based photographer (and all around lovely person) Tommy Kwak. It’s from his Iceland series, available through this website: http://tommykwak.com/iceland/

  3. Ainee Beland says:

    Well done and simply stylish; I like the living-room couch lots. Nice that you can bike to work. The furnishing is chic and simple. Lovely!

  4. Mary Beth says:

    Congratulations to both of you – Annie for having such lovely taste and Alex for having the vision and expertise to actualize it! This is a simple, quiet and well designed space.

  5. Emily says:

    This is so lovely! Such a great use of space and quite charming.

  6. Roz Block says:

    What a lovely space you have designed, Alex. In keeping with your good taste and impeccable eye, you selected pieces that compliment other pieces. You’ve kept the space minimal yet warmed it up with some good looking wood pieces, vintage kitchen table and striking upholstery and bed covers. Congratulations and well done!

  7. Lou says:

    Hi! Lovely place. I wanted to pin some of the photos but the description is too long… (+2k against 500 car., wich is the max for Pinterest). Could you edit the description of the photos so we can pin? Thanks!

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      Just click on the actual picture- that should work. Or just delete the caption and add your own :)

      I pin all of our posts all day, so I’m 100% sure Pinterest will let you pin them with their captions (or again, you can remove them).


      1. Lou says:

        Thanks, Grace! I pinned on the actual picture and could make it. I don’t know why but I was clicking in Share it and couldn’t remove the text.
        Thanks for the patience!


  8. Great article! Amazing how the space was transformed with this budget.

  9. Rita says:

    hi. I cannot view your pictures on my laptop, only on my phone. What do I need to do?

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      hi rita

      can you tell me what type of computer and what browser (and version) you’re using?


  10. Jane says:

    This is really lovely, but as family treasures were included, I can not imagine where $7,000 went. I look for consignment and thrift stores and fine my goodies for much less.

    1. c says:

      I was wondering this as well. How is $7000 to spend on an interior decorator ‘budget friendly’ or a student budget?

  11. lynne says:

    love everything!

    Was the brick wall changed in any way? I have one and am not sure what to do with it. Was the “grouting” added?

    1. Alex Kalita says:

      Hi Lynne – Thanks so much. The exposed brick wall is original to the space. We didn’t touch it, although it’s possible Annie’s landlords may have treated it while renovating the building a few years ago. It does have a sealant (in a matte finish) on it. My guess is that it was applied during the renovation. Hope this helps!

  12. Alex Kalita says:

    Thanks all for the kind words on the project!

    Jane and C – Yes, I agree that although any discussion of budget is inherently subjective, $7,000 is not an insignificant sum. In Annie’s case, the objective was not necessarily to furnish as inexpensively as possible, but rather to stretch the set amount she had designated in order to incorporate a few high-end pieces, like the DWR sofa and Room & Board bed. So, in that respect, perhaps “budget conscious” would be a better characterization than “budget friendly.”

    After spending the last decade bouncing between student housing arrangements, one of our guiding principles for the design process was that her home should symbolize the beginning of her career, and thus, of a more stable, traditional adult life; of putting down roots. Investing in quality pieces that she could keep with her for many decades to come was an important piece of that.

    For additional photographs, more of the story and a source list / budget breakdown, check out our blog post on the project: http://bit.ly/1W3mHhV

  13. Laura says:

    I’m very late to this post, but who makes that cute floral pillow pictured on the bed?

    1. Alexandra says:

      Hi Laura, I made the floral pillow from a ream of fabric I inherited from my grandmother, but you can find similar vintage motifs on Etsy and eBay!


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