Interiorssneak peeks

A Photographer’s Colorful Escape In the Big City

by Maxwell Tielman

Filled with loud noises, mysterious smells, overwhelming crowds of impatient people, and teensie-weensie apartments, life in a city like New York can present numerous challenges—especially to those who are interested in maintaining whatever they have left of their sanity. This is why, when it comes to apartment-dwelling in the so-called concrete jungle, it helps to carve out a little space for yourself—an urban oasis, if you will. This is precisely what photographer Julie Holder and her husband Bo Powell were looking for when they moved into their Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment. Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to feel like it’s in a different world, their neighborhood features charming brownstones, tree-lined streets, and just enough character to remind them that they are, in fact, still in New York. The apartment itself is on the smaller side—and what NYC apartment isn’t—but big on character. “It can be difficult finding a way to bring together items from different places, especially in a small space,” Julie says, “but I like that everything we have tells a story.” Filled with a strangely cohesive assortment of vintage finds, heirlooms, and judiciously-chosen objects, the space is infused with color, character, and life, three things that are often needed after a long day surrounded by grey. —Max

Image above: The living room. Assembled from salvaged wood from an old barn, the large cabinet was purchased at an antique shop in Upstate New York. “The ‘Relax’ sign was a side-of-the-road find outside of Austin, TX,” Julie says. “We carried it on the plane back to NYC, which thankfully was a pretty empty flight. We were afraid people would get annoyed with us, but they mostly just laughed.”

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Image above: “The bar cart is a treasure trove,” Julie says. “We have the coolest animal hunt cups from Bo’s hometown in Mississippi, mixed and matched floral china, silver mint julep cups from our wedding, and vintage ombre’d pink shot glasses mined from an antique store in upstate NY. The ice bucket and silver tray are two of my favorites. They both have the initials ‘HP’ and are special to us because of our last names, Holder and Powell. They are from the Hotel de Paris in Monaco and were used for champagne service in the 20s.” 

See more of this Brooklyn home after the jump!


Image above: The living room. The couch is covered in an assortment of pillows created from Turkish rugs.


Image above: The couple’s dog, Ella, in her favorite spot in the apartment. 

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Image above: “I try to keep my desk as clean and clutter-free as possible,” Julie says. “Some days, that is easier than others. My drives are so full of photos from different jobs and places, it’s nice to have an organized space to start the work day with a clear brain. And I truly believe pink flowers can make all things feel good, even hectic work days.”


Image above: The apartment’s entryway divides the living room and the kitchen. Two paintings from the couple’s friend Abel Macias hang on the wall. “I bought [them] as a birthday present for Bo a couple years ago,” Julie says. “His middle name is Byrd, and the artist was sweet enough to personalize them for him.”


Image above: “The kitchen is open and bright,” Julie says, “and I love that I can cook and have friends hang out at the bar.”


Image above: The small print in the kitchen was created using pressed flowers from Julie’s wedding bouquet. Copper pots, a gift from Julie’s mother, hang above.


Image above: “Okay, we love honey. A lot. Every time we travel, we add a little honey to our sweet collection. We have jars from Provence, Paris, Portugal, Texas, Mexico, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Upstate NY. I think there’s some Austrian honey in there, too, somewhere.”


Image above: The bedroom.


Image above: “It’s fun to wake up to this print,” Julie says. “We took it on a recent trip to the Algarve region of Portugal. This particular photo is from the cliff tops in Sagres. That morning was so foggy and beautiful; I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a nice little reminder in the morning to be adventurous and grateful.”


Image above: On the left side of the bed hangs a photograph that Julie shot during a trip to Rhodes, Greece.


Image above: “On my bedside table, I like to keep a few little treasures,” Julie says. “We recently took a trip to Marrakech, Morocco, and I found this incredible gold plate in one of the souks. The shopkeeper told me he bought it from a family in the Atlas Mountains, and he polished it in the shop with lemon juice and told me to treasure it always. On it, I keep a few of my favorite pieces of jewelry, a couple quartz, some shells we found on the beach in Portugal, and the wax seal stamp we used for our wedding invitations.”


Image above: “On our dresser we have three large jars. One has matchbooks, one holds ticket stubs from concerts, movies, art museums and performances that Bo has collected over the years, and the smaller jar holds shells we’ve found on vacation. I’m basically a five-year-old when it comes to shell-hunting on the beach. I love using things we save and pick up along the way as decoration in our space.”


Image above: “On top of my dresser, I have a print that was a group effort created by sweet people who make me happy. My brother-in-law, Ben Powell, takes photos of cars on the side of the road in Texas, and his girlfriend, Lauren Stone, ‘tints’ the windows. I love this thing.”


Image above: The bathroom. Mirrored buntings were a gift from the artist, Dennis Smith.


Image above: “In any other place, my closet would be considered really small, but by NY standards, it’s sort of big! I can stand inside it. It makes me so happy I color coded it.”

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