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Interiors

A Warm and Calming Home for Healers

by Annie Werbler

Though working in medicine, Milena Kaufman, a psychiatry resident, and Vic Perkins, an anesthesia resident, sometimes feel like the hospital is where they actually live. With long hours spent assisting patients, the couple set out to create a sanctuary at home in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment filled with pets and memories of travels together. Preferring the aesthetic of an older loft with exposed beams and brick walls, the practicality of their new construction building won Milena and Vic over with its thoughtful interior details – like the decorative iron beams and floor-to-ceiling windows that open from above to keep critters safe – as well as a community of animal lovers all around. With California roots, the pair had recently visited Palm Springs and Joshua Tree locales, where they were inspired by the tranquility and ease of desert vibes. They returned with a midcentury, southwestern aesthetic in mind for their east coast abode.

Pulled together in one month between rigorous career commitments, Milena and Vic sourced the majority of their furniture online and on budget. Even with those constraints, Milena found a way to achieve her design goals. “I sold all of our old furniture on Craigslist, and poured all that money back towards Craigslist finds,” she explains. “Living in Brooklyn, you would be amazed what beautiful pieces of both modern and vintage furniture you can find on there!” Learning to paint walls and stay flexible with her design scheme, Milena made quick decisions in favor of the things that caught her eye. The couple have become adept at freeing up space by donating unused or unwanted items, but even so, resisted the urge to stage an office area that could add any clutter. “I think it’s worked out for us, as our furry babes make it hard to study at home anyway!,” Milena jokes. As many cat people can relate, “Chai is quite the fan of a warm laptop keyboard.” Time at home is invaluable, as right now, Milena and Vic spend most of their hours in the hospital caring for other people. “It feels so good at the end of the day to come together here,” she says. “It has a way of healing us.” —Annie

Photography by Caitlin Cooper

A Warm and Calming Home for Healers, on Design*Sponge
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Baguette the pup breaks in the sofa cushions in his Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment (also inhabited by human parents Milena Kaufman and Vic Perkins).
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Family bonding time for Baguette, Vic Perkins, Chai the cat, and Milena Kaufman. "Nothing beats being all together at home," says Milena sweetly.
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In the living room, a (not currently) hanging chair awaits the perfect spot for its more permanent installation.
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Organic lines in the live edge coffee table and Beni Ourain-style shag rug soften the sleek modern architecture of the home.
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On the Craigslist-sourced bar cart, refreshments are displayed along with Vic's favorite painting found on the street five years ago.
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The couple in the kitchen. "Vic that found that handmade eye mason jar for me, and we planted our first herb," shares Milena. "Look at that mint grow!"
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Another Craiglist item, the kitchen shelf, has become an ideal display for Milena's growing collection of handmade ceramics, including work by Small Spells.
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A bookshelf in the living room wrangles family photos, mementos, and vintage psychiatric books by Anna Freud.
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A photo of the couple amongst their collections.
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In the bedroom, a previous year's "Great Musicians" calendar from NA NIN provides art prints with memorable quotes around the home.
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Calendar page turned art print from NA NIN, with a classic Johnny Cash song lyric written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore.
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On the dresser, a vintage Craigslist mirror pairs well with Milena's grandmother's old copper floral powder case from the early '80s.
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Details of Milena's dresser, including her favorite handmade candle by Hi Wildflower Botanica.
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Milena built the cage light herself with parts from Crest Hardware, which hangs above her beloved Gravel & Gold boob pillow.
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A triangular bedside table makes the most of a tight spot, with just enough space for essential reads and objects.
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Making the most of every corner in their space, Milena and Vic created a practical coat area in their foyer.
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The bathroom's shiny white finishes and large mirror expand the small area visually.
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The bathroom shelf was originally a drawer that found at the Brooklyn Flea. "We are suckers for any vintage medical items we can get our hands on, and after some long Etsy searches one year I found this awesome first aid kit and gifted it to Vic," Milena shares. "He found me the vertebrae in return."
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"The favorite thing about our home is that it has a way of healing us." - Milena Kaufman and Vic Perkins
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Architect's floorplan for the one-bedroom new construction apartment.

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