interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: kelli anderson + daniel dunnam

by anne

Independent graphic designer Kelli Anderson and her user-experience/user-interface designer partner, Daniel Dunnam, both work from home, so their space is under constant scrutiny. The one-room loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was a knitting factory in a past life before being converted to apartments in the 1990s, and it provides them with great light and open space. At times, Kelli feels like the open space could turn back into a factory, given all her tools and the wide range of materials she works with on a regular basis. However, by filling the space with meaningful objects related to their interests, and by defining different zones for living and working, Kelli and Daniel make the space feel legitimately domestic. Thanks so much, Kelli! — Anne

Image above: The imagery used in the vinyl mural behind the bed was adapted from a scan of a rare book engraving. I wanted something dramatic and abstract for this wall. Daniel wanted something peaceful and representational, so oversized lines were a good compromise. The blanket is a traditional Maasai pattern that we acquired while vacationing in Kenya.

Image above: My crumbling antique flat file arrived with an extra piece of handsome wood that I waxed and turned into this table (thanks for the legs, Ikea!) The painting on the wall is my own from grad school — an abstraction of a discarded McDonald’s hamburger wrapper.

Kelli and Daniel’s studio continues after the jump!

Image above: The shelf is filled with visual-memory aids of notable times past, along with a few burgeoning collections of things. The travel baubles, art, books and music are meaningful to one or both of us. From top, clockwise: Nick Dewar print, Kelli’s photography from Iceland, a surreal photograph by Matthew Nighswander, Holland, 1945 7” by Neutral Milk Hotel, Into the Groove(y) 7” by Ciccone Youth, globes, a sculpted bird from Cape Town, a One Hundred Trillion Dollar Bill (!) from Zimbabwe, and an out-of-print catalogue of Ad Reinhardt’s art cartoons.

Image above: A beautiful chair designed by Jasper Morrison accompanied by the decidedly low-brow “Joy of Cycling” poster by Jamie Wieck. It’s the most racy, hilarious and pink biking poster on record.

Image above: Daniel’s desk is an object of wonder that he created using old books (and a clever optical illusion). He records his bi-weekly music podcast, The Sounds in My Head, here using one of his prized possessions: a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic.

Image above: I hoard far too many books due to a fear of forgetting. However, I’ve learned that another good way to forget books is by putting too many of them together on a shelf, so I occasionally set one or two out. This is H.A. Rey’s The Stars: A New Way to See Them, wherein the Curious George author reinvented star charts.

Image above: This sofa is called Raleigh from Design within Reach. We occasionally buy things new, usually begrudgingly and after much deliberation. These new things balance out the homeless flotsam that we (okay, I) drag in from the street.

Image above: I do most of my letterpress printing in this home studio on a Pearl Jobber press from 1919 that Daniel and I motorized. In the apartment, we built out a small sound-proofed studio space in the corner with homasote walls and shredded blue-jean sound baffling material (lest Daniel’s co-workers think he’s conferencing-in from a 19th-century sweatshop).

Image above: Our very masculine boy cat of many names (“Pet”/”Mister Softee”/”Luxembourg”/”White Cat”).

Suggested For You


  • Love that couch! Unfortunately it’s not my idea of “design within reach”!! :) I’m currently couch shopping….do you all have any rec’s or tips of purchasing a couch?

  • I really like the bedroom wall and it makes me wonder what thought processes would suggest this as the wall feature. Did you happen to have a large scale image of the engraving available and thought hmmm this would work? It’s beautiful especially in contrast with the fantastically vibrant bed cover.

  • Yes, I’d like to hear more about the thought and production process for the wall’s line art.

  • Can someone please explain to me how to make table legs out of the stacks of books lovingly cluttering my life???? Because that looks amazing…

  • Daniel here to answer some questions. But first, thanks everyone for saying such nice things!

    The chairs at the table are called Toledo Chairs. We got them on ebay, and there are some for sale now: http://goo.gl/YPt8v

    Regarding the desk legs, making something similar out of your own books may not be very appealing as my process involved destroying the books! I know, awful! But on the bright side, most of the books are not ones anyone will ever miss. (It’s crap like The 1987 Guide to Michelin Tires or Frodors Switzerland 1980.) What I did was buy standard round desk legs of the correct height and just over a hundred $1 hardcover books from Strand. Then, using a doorknob drill bit, I made a hole in each book at a designated spot. It was insanely messy, getting powered book dust everywhere, so wear a mask. But the end result was just as I had envisioned, so it was worth it! People often legitimately assume that my desk is really held up by books, and inquire about how precarious it is.

    I have seen a desk that achieves a similar effect without ruining the books, essentially replacing the shish kebab’d books/legs with “invisible bookshelves” like these: http://www.dwr.com/product/sapien-bookcase-short.do The one I saw was a nice compromise between destroying the books and creating the illusion, but ultimately it did seem pretty obvious that they weren’t really holding the desk up. Also, I think that desk cost like $7,000.

  • Your home is wonderful, I especially love the dining chairs – what a cool feature! As a fellow cat lover, Mr Softee is too cute! His eyes are beautiful and unique : )

  • I love your home. It is so unique and beautiful. What a treat to finally see it.

  • I ALSO love your space! It is amazing to be able to get a finished home tour of a spot I have seen evolving….livable and lovely! The dining table and chairs are inviting and different, and I think that Daniel’s desk is stunning. I wish I could see Kelli’s workspace as well. Fascinating backdrop behind the bed; drives me crazy just thinking what must have gone into its creation!

  • The book desk is amazing! I may have to shamelessly copy that project. So cool!!!!

  • great and creative the idea about the books for the bureau desk, you can store then and it is practical sorry for my english but i m french

  • Looks like there’s a quite a bit of Crate & Barrel here. Isn’t the slanted bookshelf also from Crate & Barrel? I think about getting this sometimes.

  • i really like the headboard/table behind the bed. is it vintage? ikea? craigslist find?!

  • I love looking at the sneak peaks here and totally I finally realized why some of them make me smile and feel like I am a guest in their home… it is the bedding in the master bedrooms. I love bedding – like the one above – that is tasteful, simple and beautiful but says – we live here – we have a normal life…we actually do SLEEP in this room and on this bed. The sheets may not be crisp and perfect – the blankets a little lopsided and worn- but it says “home” and that is the most important design element. Thank you for featuring real life beautiful homes!

  • lovely! how cool that you have a working printing press in your home. That’s awesome. Also, the JM chair is great!

  • Love your home! Globes and lightbulbs- 2 of my favs and obviously yours as well. Do you have other ways you have displayed vintage bulbs? I am always fascinating with bookshelf/shelf spaces and the arrangement and variety of objects on them!

  • Thanks guys.
    @MB@YARNUIPHONEAPPV1.5 Not sure of the manufacturer, got it off of Craigslist

    @Jane Thanks! It is actually a radiometer with the globes (but a vintage bulb collection sounds like a cool exhibition-problem to crack!)

  • I love the idea of graphic wall art behind the bed. It has a transporting effect. Which makes sense in a place where dreams are made.

  • Your home is a visual testimony to the power of a shared creative life lived beautifully and the way you describe it with such great warmth is lovely.