amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: alison feldmann & jeff bergstrom

by Amy Azzarito

This Williamsburg, Brooklyn, railroad apartment is home to Alison Feldmann, Jeff Bergstrom, and their two cats, Dagmar and Bug. They moved into the 1931 building about a year ago and immediately settled into making it a home. Alison is the writer and editor for the Etsy Blog, so she has a finely tuned eye for handmade and vintage. In addition to working for a major museum as head of film and video, Jeff is a (primarily comedy) contributor for BrooklynVegan. The couple can’t resist a thrift store, so they aimed to create a space that showcased their collections while evoking a feel reminiscent of old-time salons, men’s clubs like the Odd Fellows or the Masons and secret libraries. Thanks, Alison & Jeff! — Amy A.

Image above: Frames/dresser area behind the couch in the living room. We really love the salon-style wall in our living room. We combined our mutual collections of portrait paintings, folk art and group photos (many military in nature) to create a cohesive collection.

Image above: Doorway between bedroom and desk/office.

CLICK HERE for more of Alison & Jeff’s Williamsburg apartment!

Image above: Our kitchen table is actually a hand-me-down from Jeff’s great-aunt and uncle. After some futile attempts to locate a table, Jeff’s parents realized this beauty had been sitting in their basement for 20  years. Best of all, the original receipt from 1930 was taped to the bottom of the table when we got it.

Image above: We knew, moving in, that railroad apartments were not typical fare, so we made a point be consistent in our approach throughout our apartment. Since there are no doors, everything needed to flow together, so we chose a color scheme of blues, grays and whites. Almost everything in our place was found on Craigslist, Etsy, eBay or thrift stores. Everything. Not only were we on a budget, we also love the thrill of the hunt (and supporting independent businesses).

Image above: Jeff gave Alison this anatomical cat poster for her birthday last year. It’s a reprint of classic German educational posters originally designed in the 1920s.

Image above: We found these antique chemical bottles on a recent trip to Cape Cod, where Jeff is from. This collection of bottles originated at A.D. Makepeace, the world’s largest cranberry grower, and a famous company in Jeff’s hometown. Many of the bottles have handwritten labels identifying the toxic chemicals that once lived inside.

Image above: The blanket was a recent splurge: a Pendleton. The design originated in the 1920s (it’s called Silver Bark), and the colors really fit our bedroom.

Image above: Our living room mantel is the focal point of our main living space. Complete with ceramic miner skull from Mud Puppy, antique mantel clock, artwork by Caroline Gaedechens and a mustachioed portrait found on eBay (ten bucks!), it creates a morbid, antique tableau that we love.

Image above: We keep our antique books on our faux fireplace mantel (found at a stoop sale a few years back). The little pieces in front of it include a holy water vessel from Alison’s great-uncle, who was a priest in the 1920s, a Masonic engraved gold mirror and a few tintypes. The hat to the right is used in Odd Fellows initiation ceremonies, and the bookends — silhouettes of criminal mugshots from the 1920s and 1930s — were made by Peg and Awl.

Image above: Desk/guitars/bookcase. Jeff’s quite a musician, as you can see from the guitars. We use the “middle room” in our railroad as a library of sorts. We built in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to make a dent in our massive book collections. The Persian rug is from eBay, and the overstuffed leather chair was a recent Craigslist acquisition (after a very, very long hunt).

Image above: This is our cat Dagmar, affectionately called Little Dag. We adopted her and her sister Bug, a calico, almost a year ago. We love them beyond belief!

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  • Beautiful. Love the pops of bronze/gold against the white, blue and grey. They have some amazing finds, and so well arranged! Perfect :-)

  • Beautiful eclectic home. I especially love the antique books and the Persian rug, and the way they arranged their study. Thanks for sharing!

  • Love this place. It has such a cosy and personal feel, with beautiful arranged curiosities and vintage finds – just great!

  • It’s so hard to believe you’ve only lived there a year, Alison. It looks like a place where the pieces were amassed over years of editing and refining; a tribute to your thoughtful style. You both have quite an eye for off-beat, folksy pieces. What a hospitable, beautiful home!

  • OMG. I LOVE the hardwood floors. They are absolutely gorgeous, along with the cat that lives here !

  • Love that handsome (and stern!) military fella in the top pic.
    And how you manage to perfectly pull together such varying eclectic touches in such a small space.
    Very impressive, and inspiring!

  • Adore Adore Adore this place.
    You can feel the creativity, love and life these two have created in their home.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  • I genuinely think that Alison is one of the most interesting bloggers out there and I love that her (and her bf’s) home reflects that. One of my favorite sneak peeks ever!

  • I love this apartment! I especially love the color on the walls in the bedroom. Would you mind sharing the color?

  • Thanks so much for your kind and lovely comments! It’s such a pleasure to finally be able to spread out and unbox our collections. And it seems Dagmar has a lot of fans!

    Holly, the paint color in the bedroom is Benjamin Moore in Storm Cloud.

  • One of my favorite sneak peeks ever!

    This is so close to what I’ve been trying to put together in my place for years & years…. I’m both envious yet full of admiration because I know the Craigslist/eBay/etc hunt is such slow going.

    Especially LOVE the armoire/chifforobe in the living room. It’s the exact piece I’ve been looking for and never find. Kudos!

    Overall, a great use of what, in lesser hands, could be an awkward space.

  • I love how regal (grandpa chic) their small space feels. Great rugs and colors throughout. I also love the dining room table and the well styled mantle. Very, very nice!

  • Alison has amazing taste, and I see it runs through her apartment too. I look forward to her posts on The Storque…it’s nice to have some eye candy on a Tuesday as well!

  • This particular look is done very well here. But to me it seems a little too paint-by-numbers (like so much in Williamsburg). I’d rather see clumsy, personal originality than the apotheosis of the fad which the NY Times characterized as the “New Antiquarians”. Just thought I’d offer a lone dissent in the wake of all the fawning.

    • pete

      you’re more than welcome to offer a voice of dissent, but i’m curious about what aspects of this home feel “paint by numbers”. this house, while neatened up for the shoot, feels very real and personal to me. i’d understand if it was full of some overdone details and trends, but to me it has a very relatable and not to “styled” look.


  • Hi. Not trying to knock anyone’s home but from a design perspective, you have to admit that it looks a bit too much like the “pastiches of the past” featured in http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/garden/30prewar.html. No coincidence that most of those featured were in Williamsburg.

    To be fair, any style can come off as formulaic. But this stuff just smacks of some fake nostalgia that has only a passing and superficial connection to the people who use it for decor.

    But I understand if DS would rather keep the comments all hearts and flowers.

    • Pete

      I’m not sure where your ‘tude is coming from, but to reply, we have plenty of non-flowery comments and I’m not denying your right (or anyone else’s) to leave comments that aren’t hearts and flowers.

      What I’m confused about is what about this home feels formulaic to you. Yes, there are similarities between that article and this home, but I don’t think that means there is a formula or less personal approach here (rather a group of people whose personal styles are similar and have inspired a home trend). We’ve run far more “styled” homes so I was genuinely surprised to see you call this impersonal and formulaic.


  • There are well over a billion twentysomething year olds in the world. If a couple hundred or even a few thousand of them have apartments with colored walls and white trim, animal sculls, mismatched picture frames, it means a small percentage of the world has similar taste or something in common, not that they are insincere or inauthentic. It follows that these people be drawn to live in communities of like minded people (and be drawn to the same blogs––Hi Pete!). To me what would make a home impersonal, would be focusing on making sure it never looks like anything you’ve ever seen.

  • This doesn’t have the “New Antiquarians” feel at all. Yes, they have some older items, often from family members, but jeez, the walls are cornflower blue. New Antiquarian is a sombre steampunk meets Holmes style. I don’t feel that here at all. I think you confused a few glass apothecary jars and a ceramic skull for a trend template, Pete.

  • This house is lovely. You two have a good eye for old/vintage things. I like the couches and the blue color. Thank you for showing us how to decorate with a short budget. You have a created a cozy ambience. Regards from Spain

  • Alison never fails to have the most amazing articles and features. It’s so great to see it follows thru to her home. This interesting and wonderful sneak peek was truly enjoyed!

  • I really love your apartment, Alison. I’m about to move into a new place myself, and I want those blue walls! What is the paint you used in the living room?