interior designInteriorsNew York

A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights

by Lauren Chorpening Day

It’s easy for me to keep things because they’ve been useful or good enough in the past. Or because it feels like a waste to buy something new (that I like) to replace something that I already have (that I probably was given secondhand in college). Just this week I got rid of a bookshelf that tilts to the right, which I’ve been moving from place to place for the last eight years. I honestly should have let it go a while ago. There’s nothing wrong with being selective when it comes to big pieces and purchases, but it’s also okay to pull the trigger and to make it a priority to be intentional with a space. For me, an intentionally designed home – even on the cheap – just feels inspiring, refreshed and mature. This Brooklyn Heights brownstone apartment wasn’t just moved into – the new tenants made it a place that reflects their taste and spirit by starting fresh with furniture and hiring a designer.

Ebonie and Dave, both attorneys, wanted to be closer to friends and better transportation to and from work. When they moved from Sunnyside to Brooklyn Heights, they decided to really settle in and make their new apartment into a home. The dingy paint, rough walls and older kitchen were worth the natural light and layout in this 850-square-foot brownstone. “We love our jobs, but we spend a ton of time in sterile office environments. We wanted a home that felt the opposite of that environment – interesting, expressive, calming, and casual,” Ebonie says. Designed by Jill Danyelle and executed by Ebonie and Dave, this home is the inspired, layered and sophisticated apartment that can take them away from the office completely. There are bits of mid-century, coastal and global elements coordinated perfectly throughout the space.

With Jill’s design and direction, Ebonie and Dave have created a refined space they love. “It took quite a bit of work to turn this apartment into a place that felt like home. We moved in during the summer and spent many a weekend painting when we would have rather been hanging in the park. Working with Jill was amazing and I really learned a ton about how to put a room together and the importance of measuring and planning before making any purchases,” Ebonie says. “I really wanted this apartment to feel like home. I think we really accomplished that. I think something about turning 30 makes you want to get it together and get a coffee table! This is our first apartment that has felt grown-up and complete.” —Lauren


Living Area
brass birds – eBay
ceiling light fixture – eBay
kilim rug – eBay
brass coffee table – eBay
small Indian table – eBay
smaller artwork – eBay
bentwood chairs – eBay
leather pouf – eBay
hanging quilt – eBay
credenza – Craigslist
large mirror – Craigslist
task lamp (painted gold) – IKEA
shelves (painted gold) – IKEA
sisal rug – IKEA
18″ blue pillows – West Elm
tablecloth – shawl bought in Mexico
Carved wood side table – World Market
Paint – Half Moon Crest by Benjamin Moore
Jens Risom Walnut Green Vinyl Lounge Chair – Modern Montage

headboard – West Elm
dresser – Craigslist
nightstands – eBay
rattan stools – eBay
mirror – eBay
lamp – eBay
painting – eBay
sconces – IKEA
curtains – IKEA
ceiling fixture – Crate & Barrel
linen bedding – CB2
throw at end of bed – West Elm
Wall paint – Whitestone by Benjamin Moore
nightstand paint – Island Getaway by Benjamin Moore
Rug – Land of Nod

desks – IKEA
wall cabinets – IKEA
cabinet – IKEA
shelves – IKEA
Rug – Land of Nod
Lighting – Crate & Barrel
Painting – flea market
chairs – Craigslist
desk lamp – Etsy
Wall Paint – Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore

A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
Ebonie and Dave's living room has a perfect layered, lived-in look. The mix of styles, textures and finishes makes the space look like a collector's home.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"I never would have thought of Jill’s idea to put bookshelves in this spot, or to buy black bookshelves and paint them gold," says Ebonie. "They look great against the brick wall."
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"That fiddle leaf fig has grown a ton since we decorated the apartment. I DO NOT have a green thumb, but it’s surprisingly easy to keep alive," says Ebonie. It's no wonder. That light flooding into the space is a fiddle leaf fig's dream.
When funds were running low in the budget for art, Jill suggested they find a quilt or tapestry to stretch over a canvas. Ebonie found this one on eBay that looks like modern fiber art.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"Being able to invite our friends over for dinner and have them be in a nice environment brings us a lot of joy," says Ebonie.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
The Craigslist credenza and the eBay birds fit so well on that wall and with the overall feel of the space.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
The kitchen was one of the spaces that they weren't able to do much with, especially being renters. They painted the cabinets and added some styled touches, like a rug, to make the space feel more cohesive within the house.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"We cook a ton," says Ebonie. "I wish I could say our spice shelf always looked that neat but it definitely does not!"
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"I really wanted us to have a place [where] we could work together. This is such a happy room, which is important when you have to work evenings or weekends," Ebonie says.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
Designer Jill's guidance and thrifty shopping made for elevated style on Ebonie and Dave's budget. This moment in their office is almost completely thrifted.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
The office had the smallest budget of the apartment, but Jill wanted to make sure it was functional and cheery for the couple since they work from home often. IKEA and spray paint are the foundations of this beautiful space.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
The colorful styling on natural wood is a beautiful, sophisticated combination.
Ebonie's roots from Jamaica and Florida called for a master bedroom with island energy while still maintaining a peaceful environment.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"This is the first time we’ve owned a headboard and had light sconces in the bedroom. Life-changing," says Ebonie.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
The calm, collected vibe in this bedroom is spot-on. It's just enough serenity with a bit of edge and personality to make it a relaxing and interesting space. The vintage light fixture in the hall was Ebonie's find on Etsy.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"This dresser was Dave’s favorite item. I think I got him to help paint one more room he liked it so much," Ebonie says.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
Jill sourced this dresser for the couple on Craigslist, but the listing was taken down pretty quickly. When it showed up again, Ebonie and Dave made sure to grab it. It's Dave's favorite piece in the house.
A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge
"We’ve had to get rid of some of these plants after getting our cat (Nonie). Thankfully, we could keep several of them. She’s never been interested in the fiddle figs – I was glad we got to keep them," says Ebonie.

Suggested For You


  • This home is lovely and beautifully designed, and I hope that my commenting here does not take away from that as it relates more to the editing/writing. I am noticing a serious overuse of the term “intentional” on this site in recent months, and I find there is something very pretentious and holier-than-thou about such terminology. Of all the beautiful homes featured here, how is one more “intentional” than another? If a home isn’t described as such, does it mean that the design is not “intentional” and thus unintentional? It comes across as condescending.

    If you are using this terminology to state that the homeowners have been thoughtful about and carefully considered how they’ve decorated their space, then I think this label applies to all of the homes featured on this site and as such it becomes superfluous to mention this every single time. Anybody who cares about their homes and loves design (the way most Design*Sponge readers could be described) is being “intentional”, and so I don’t think you need to try to one-up everyone by saying, sure maybe you’ve worked hard on making your home beautiful, but is it, you know, INTENTIONAL?

    (I would say the same also applies to the word “sourcing” and “moment”… very unnecessary and pretentious.)

  • This apartment looks and feels like it has evolved over time, slowly and thoughtfully. Beautiful work.

  • This is absolutely lovely. So many warm and welcoming details. It looks like a great home for a dinner party!

  • Beautiful home! I especially love the office. Anybody knows who designed the amazing desk lamp?

  • Thanks everyone for all of the nice comments! I am the interior designer who worked with Ebonie and Dave on their home.

    Diane, the cabinets are the IKEA cabinets made for IVAR shelving, but we just had them mounted directly to the wall.

    Annie, the desk lamp is a vintage piece I found on eBay.

    Lauren, I understand your point. I can’t speak for DS, but maybe “intentional” was used here because we came up with a design plan for the almost empty space – the clients had the sofa and dining table – and followed it pretty closely while pulling the apartment together in a few months. I feel there can be beauty in both planned interiors and those that are more randomly pulled together over time.


    • Lauren

      Jill just answered with what I was going to say but to echo her remark- yes, “intentional” here referred to this couple’s plan to design their house (with the help of Jill) from the get-go. That’s not something we post a lot here (designer-planned homes) so we chose to highlight that fact. I’m sorry if that sounds pretentious to you, that was not our intention.


  • I love your place it looks beautiful and so original. I am trying to find some shelves like the pair that you painted gold in your living room. I love that they are open. Can I ask are they FJÄLKINGE? Also, what paint did you use to paint them gold?

  • Hi C.

    The IKEA shelves that were painted gold are the VITTSJÖ. I apologize that I cannot remember what gold paint was used, but if you google these shelves and “hack” or “gold” some tutorials will probably come up with paint recommendations. I was a bit skeptical, but they ended up looking really good. Good luck!

  • Such a beautiful bedroom! Do you mind sharing what type of material was on the headboard?

  • Hi Joslyn,

    I am pretty sure the headboard is made from seagrass. I came across this one on Craigslist and recommended that Ebonie and Dave grab it. Of course, there are other seagrass headboards out there, but I wasn’t finding what I wanted in our price range and, unfortunately, West Elm no longer makes this item. If you live in Chicago and need it in a full size – today is your lucky day.


    Good luck!

  • The sofa, if I’m not mistaken, is the Henry from West Elm. Would love to know which fabric is on this one. I am considering buying a Henry.

  • Amazing apartment – the brick wall gives a special industrial touch. Also like the fact, that you mention, where we can get the furniture from! :-)

  • I’d love to know how you mounted the IVAR cabinets to the wall. I had the same idea, and came across this inviting space in searching for instructions to do exactly what you’ve done in the office. Thanks!

  • Is the source correct on the bedside sconces? I scoured Ikea’s website and am not seeing those. Love them and would like to be able to locate them. Thanks!