This past summer, in between days filming Independence Day: Resurgence in New Mexico, Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe took a little road trip. With his foot on the pedal of a U-Haul, he drove a set of old movie theatre chairs from Albuquerque, NM to his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn brownstone. He then turned right back around and flew back to continue filming. Needless to say, Gbenga is a man who will do anything for the apartment he loves.
The brownstone those chairs adorn has been Gbenga’s for three years now. Initially, he wasn’t too keen on making the jump from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but once he got a feel for the neighborhood he was hooked. Kids play outside, neighbors actually know one another and there’s a sense of community he hadn’t felt when he lived in Manhattan. It also didn’t hurt that he was able to snag so much space for a price Manhattanites only wish existed on their island. Boasting three floors and six rooms, Gbenga’s home lets him spread out like never before.
With such an abundance of space came a unique challenge: How to decorate it all. “My initial decorating goal was to create a classic home hospitable for guests… I wanted to create a space where friends and family could stay and feel that they had a home away from home,” Gbenga explains. To achieve this, he’s peppered in both modern and vintage touches, mixing the old and the new to create a look all his own. In one room, nods to his Nigerian heritage sit next to a sleek mannequin atop the fireplace mantel. In another, a modern sofa sits in contrast to the restored, original woodwork.
Gbenga tells us the space is a work in progress, but that’s okay. He’s in for the long haul, even if his agent would love it if he moved to LA. See, when you’re an actor, the West Coast is always calling. Gbenga says it’s not in the cards, though. “I am grateful for my neighbors and neighborhood. They make me feel at home, and like someone is always looking out for me. [I’ve] stayed in New York for so many reasons, Bed-Stuy being the best [one].” Click through to see the home that keeps Gbenga a Brooklynite year after year. Enjoy! —Garrett