Interiorssneak peeks

Creating a Serene Home in Brooklyn

by Amy Azzarito

When Kristen Cesiro, an interactive designer at Gilt, moved into this prewar Brooklyn Heights apartment, her then-boyfriend (now husband) and film producer Andrew Goldman had already been living in the space for four years. Naturally, the couple’s first challenge was to find a way to revamp the apartment so it felt like it belonged equally to the two of them. They tried to be discerning with what they kept and what they sold, until the home felt like it told their story. Prior to Andrew moving in, the previous tenants were the owners/founders of Twenty2 Wallpaper, and while they left behind beautiful and useful touches such as the giant cabinet units in the bedroom and light fixtures in the entryway, the home was a bit of a wallpaper laboratory. The two walls in the living room were covered in different paper that competed with the wallpaper in the entryway. This was the first thing Kristen insisted on changing and she spent two days peeling off that wallpaper and repainting the walls. It was not an easy task, but it completely changed the feel of the space and created the type of calm, quiet home that they both were looking for.  –Amy

Photography by Isabelle Selby

Image above: “Our bedroom gets arguably the best light in our apartment,” says Kristen. “It’s so bright in the morning that we had to buy blackout curtains so we could sleep in on the weekends. Of all the rooms in our home, this is the one I felt most strongly about keeping calm and serene.”

Image above: “We have a little reading chair that’s not pictured here, and we use this brass lamp to light it up at night when we’re sitting in it. The deer statues were purchased from an antique shop in Vermont one weekend while we were on vacation with my sister and her boyfriend, and we like to think they are good company for our record player. The eye poster is the Eye Eye print by Fine Little Day, and I love it tremendously. The poster behind it is from the Pencil to Pixel exhibit I went to last year by Monotype.”


See more of this Brooklyn home after the jump!

Image above: “Our couch was the best knee-jerk purchase we ever made. We wandered into the Room & Board in SoHo on a whim one day, sat down on it, and knew we had to have it. It is so cozy and perfect for movie-watching or having long conversations with friends. The two boxers on the wall are folk art paintings given to Andrew by a friend of his. The larger piece of artwork in the middle is a print by one of Andrew’s favorite artists, Alex Katz. We found it leaning against a wall in the Housing Works on our street and scooped it up right away. All the kilim pillows are lucky eBay scores. The coffee table was a hand-me-down from Andrew’s parents. The rug is the notorious Kite Kilim Rug from West Elm, the little stool is Design by Conran.”

Image above: “These three bookcases are the focal point of our apartment. We bought them in white because we knew they were dramatic pieces, and we wanted them to blend in with the wall as much as possible. I have the books organized by color, and they are interspersed with photographs or objects that have meaning to us. My dad used to be a DJ, and he gave me most of his vinyl collection, so we store that in the bookcases as well.”

Image above: “We have a second bedroom that we really wanted to double as a guest room and an office. This was the last room we worked on, and it’s still somewhat in progress, but I’m really happy with where it’s at right now. I personally love mixing different types of wood, and I tried to pair that mixture with whites and a pop of indigo. As you can see, the previous tenant left a cabinet unit in this room, which is great for storing linens and office supplies, but it was a challenge to arrange furniture around. We toyed with multiple layouts, but found this one to be the best.”

Image above: “The gallery wall next to the guest bed is a mixture of old family photos, artwork we like, and hand-lettering projects by me. The pillow is from West Elm, and the lamp, which I truly adore, is the Brass Swing Lamp by One Forty Three.”

Image above: “I try to keep this desk as clean and clutter-free as possible since my computer, keyboard and Wacom tablet occupy so much of its real estate. I’m a pretty big fan of the cosmos and space, so when McNally Jackson put their moon phase calendars on sale, I had to buy a couple (one in black, and one in copper ink) and hang them above. The large collage is an ever-changing moodboard of images or type treatments that catch my attention, portraits of people who inspire me, or branding that I admire. The chair is an Eames replica, and I bought the desk on Gilt. The gold ampersand is from Etsy.”

Image above: “Here’s a close-up of my moodboard and a handful of the things that are currently inspiring me (I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Joni).”

Image above: “Our bathroom is so tiny, it’s impossible to get ready at the same time in the morning, so I was determined to set up a little vanity for myself in the bedroom. The table was custom built by a shop on Etsy. The mirror is from Anthropologie – on one side of it I hang my necklaces, and on the other is where I rotate photographs and ephemera that put my mind in a good place before I start my day. The glass pyramid where I keep my rings is by ABJ Glassworks.”

Image above: “The previous tenants in our apartment were the owners/founders of Twenty2 Wallpaper. Among a few other gems, they left this cabinet unit that I believe stored some of their samples and smaller inventory. It frames our bed perfectly, and it has two small tables attached to either side that serve nicely as nightstands. On that wall is also their white grasscloth wallpaper, so between that and the cabinets, we had no need for a headboard. The rug is my favorite piece in the whole apartment – it is wool and has different animals woven into it. It used to be in the living room when I first moved in, but I was too worried about the high foot traffic and potential spilled glasses of wine to keep it there. It was another hand-me-down from Andrew’s parents. The bed frame and the basket are from West Elm, the lamp is from IKEA, the hoop art on the wall is by Sonadora In Love, and the beige kilim pillowcase is from eBay.”

Image above: “Let’s talk about this wallpaper! As I mentioned earlier, the previous tenants in our apartment are the owners/founders of Twenty2 Wallpaper. They left our entryway wallpapered with their Montague Terrace print, and the design was inspired by the ginko leaves that litter the streets of Brooklyn Heights in the fall. What’s hard to picture here is that the base color is a gold foil, so it shimmers slightly. I think it’s beautiful and works as a nice accent in our place. The light fixtures were left behind by them as well – they were designed by a man who used to live in our building.”

Image above: “The universe print was letterpressed by a very talented friend of mine, Amanda Morante. It’s a quote by one of my heros and favorite humans, Carl Sagan, and it talks about two of my favorite things: the universe and pie. I thought the kitchen was an appropriate place for it!”

Image above: “We like to keep this spot in the entryway clean and calm, as it’s the last thing we see before we leave and the first thing we see when we come home.”


Source List

Living Room
Couch: Room and Board
Kilim pillows: eBay
Rug: West Elm
Stool: Design by Conran (No longer for sale)
Ceramic planter: West Elm (No longer for sale)
Basket planter: Ikea
Wall clock: Etsy
Fiber wall hanging: DIY
Brass lamp: eBay
Eye Eye print: Fine Little Day
Bookcases: IKEA

Bed frame: West Elm
Hoop wall hanging: Sonadora In Love
Basket: West Elm
Kilim pillowcase: eBay
Table lamp: IKEA (not listed online)
Vanity table: Etsy
Mirror: Anthropologie
Glass pyramid: ABJ Glassworks

Guest Room/Office
Desk: Gilt/Savafieh
Chair: Baxton Studio
Rug: Gilt/Momeni
Blanket: West Elm
Pillow: West Elm
Lamp: One Forty Three
Moon Phase Calendars: McNally Jackson Goods for the Study
Gold ampersand: Edie’s Lab

Wallpaper: Twenty2

Suggested For You


  • Wow! The place looks great Kristen and Andrew!! We actually designed the cabinets in the bedroom with built in nightstands for strategic clothing storage that would perfectly surround our bed. So glad to see you are still using it as we intended! And the hanging light fixture in the entry is a very unique piece by David Weeks Studio. He was a long-time tenant in the building. Enjoy the wonderful space and neighborhood! xo Kyra (twenty2 wallpaper)

  • Beautiful! A place for everything and everything in its place! A very calming design style.

  • Lovely, breathable design and elegant touches combined with the well traveled stories of precious accessories – it’s really a special home. Enjoy every moment and see the 11 11? Make a wish !

  • Hi Lisa! The teakettle is the Hario V60 Buono Kettle–perfect for a good slow pour.

  • What a beautiful space from a beautiful lady — its difficult to balance minimalism with a still “lived in” and collected feel, and she has done this so well — clean and calm without at all feeling sterile. Wonderful!

  • This home looks so beautiful and calming. I love the touches of indigo scattered about. I’m not usually a wallpaper gal but those gold foil ginkgo leaves are incredible.

  • Beautiful home! I’m curious–what color is the paint on the walls in the bedroom? It’s just gorgeous. Thanks!

  • Great blog you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  • I love your style and your bookshelves. Where did you get them? I’ve been looking everywhere!