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Interiors

An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn

by Annie Werbler

When Dana Arbib of A Peace Treaty offered to take us on personal tours of her friends’ most beautiful homes (after sharing her own stunning apartment), we couldn’t wait to see all the spaces that mean the most to her. The first is that of her “fauna curator” and former roommate Christan Summers, who now lives with partner Ivan Martinez in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dana couldn’t be happier to see her friends — and the brains behind Tula, a mobile plantscaping shop — growing and thriving in a greenhouse of their own. “I’ve always been inspired by Christan’s nurturing spirit,” Dana says. “I love that we share a similar drive to embrace, and modernize the ‘old-meets-new’ process — while never compromising the integrity of ancient techniques, education, and history. Christan’s apartment is a luscious sanctuary, and really showcases her keen eye for design, composition, style, and the beauty of nature.”

The 930-square-foot modern loft offers a mezzanine for Christan and Ivan’s stock of handmade planters, at least until their proper retail showroom space is complete. The pair like to keep things “as minimal as plant and art lovers can,” Christan explains. “No clutter, no unnecessary objects that collect too much dust. If you take away all the plants, this place is pretty empty. We love the feeling of a gallery space — we can always change the arrangement.” Ivan brought the sleek essentials, like a table, chairs, and bookcases, while Christan introduced some beloved vintage furniture from her grandmother and parents. And despite the two-story vertical, the couple has made a point of hanging few pieces of art. “We like the walls left white — we fill the space with green instead.” β€”Annie

Photography by Genevieve Garruppo

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A large all-purpose table serves several functions in the East Williamsburg loft, including eating and working. A rustic Vermont farmhouse bench is tucked beneath, and a large Pothos plant cascades over the mezzanine.
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Ivan Martinez and Christan Summers with wood-fired pots from their Tula capsule collection. "Wherever we stand, our goal is to see green." An ornate vintage mirror assists by reflecting the foliage.
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Several influential titles sit on the living room bookshelves. "Not to mention our first dollar made," Christan explains, "And La Caridad Del Cobre statuette, the Cuban Patron Saint who keeps everyone (including the plants), safe."
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The double-height lofted living room jungle.
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An array of succulents - echeveria, baby toes, lithops, euphorbia, topsy turvy, sempervivums, and more - awaits potting.
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Although they would have fit in the jungle setting, live pet parrots were impractical for this urban environment, so Christan and Ivan happily settled for two ceramic gifts from China brought back by her grandmother. The cacti are potted in Tula wood-fired creations on the all-purpose table.
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Morning light casts patterns of silhouetted leaves and window mullions on the full-height living room wall. A cereus peruvianus cactus blooms white flowers on summer nights.
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A cozy shawl from A Peace Treaty rests on the daybed.
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A Dracaena marginata "Bicolor" plant, native to Madagascar, surrounds the couple in green.
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A vintage quaker chest came from an old farmhouse in Vermont. A 1960s armchair stool is tucked beneath. The charcoal self-portrait is of Christan's Aunt Buzzy, whose influence led to the founding of Tula. "The arm was left unfinished as Buzzy passed away too soon in life," Christan adds.
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On the other side of the bedroom, reflections in a vintage mirror Christan inherited from her grandmother. The lampshade and horse duo is "a classic example of a couple's silent agreement to kitschy statuettes," Christan explains.
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On the upstairs mezzanine, the spring collection of handmade terra cotta pots delivered by Christan and Ivan's ceramicist collaborator, Jordan ColΓ³n. A keepsake shawl from the couple's trip to Budapest covers the wall.
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"Each pot is unique in shape and size, and each season will bring a new collection and theme," say Christan and Ivan.
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"Our home is where we grew Tula & our love." - Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez
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The lofted apartment's 930-square-foot layout.

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