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A Food Editor’s Edgy Apartment Overlooking New York City

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Food Editor's Edgy Apartment Overlooking New York City | Design*Sponge

When it comes to anything related to the culinary arts, Nicole Taylor is unquestionably your go-to expert. She has worked as a freelance food writer for over 10 years, covering everything from restaurant openings in Brooklyn to what do with maple sugar. In between freelance jobs for numerous publications, she has written two cookbooks that celebrate Southern cooking. She also lends her time to organizations focused on equity for people of color and LGBTQ food folks. Nicole was recently appointed executive food editor at Thrillist, a website covering all the good things in food, drink, travel, and entertainment.

Nicole’s husband, Adrian Franks, is an artist and creative director at a tech company. Eight months ago, just before the birth of their son Garvey Crown Franks, the couple moved to their current rental apartment in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. Their two-floor apartment in a recently completed building complex offers breathtaking views over both Brooklyn and Manhattan. “Some of the best memories are on the terrace hosting people during the holidays. People soak in the views,” Nicole explains. In addition to the priceless cityscape, the family’s home is also located just a stone’s throw from Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, some of the area’s best outdoor spaces. Nicole also loves her neighborhood’s diversity and Caribbean diaspora: “Some businesses have been around forever and a day, food businesses in particular. I walk down Nostrand Avenue and go to Allan’s Bakery for guava pastries and Daleview Biscuits and Beer for wine,” she says.

When it came to decorating her family’s home, Nicole swiftly learned to make quick decisions and to say yes to help. A slew of friends helped the couple to unpack their collection over 600 art books, while Naika Andre, a designer from Homepolish, provided tips on how to turn Garvey’s nursery into an inviting space. The room now features glamorous removable wallpaper and midnight blue hues that contrast the rough concrete walls, a main characteristic of the apartment. The large windows and unobstructed views from each room in the apartment always make Nicole feel light and free when she comes home after a long day. She explains, “My home still keeps me dreaming. It keeps me grateful. It keeps me humble about what a privilege it is living in the city.” —Sofia

Photography by Quinton Cameron / @qcam

Image above: When Nicole and Adrian began looking for a new home for their growing family, there were a few must-haves on their checklist. “We were looking for a rental that had all the modern conveniences. We needed a lot of light and a space to hold over 600 art books and cookbooks. A place that still had a touch of old Brooklyn was a must,” Nicole tells us. 

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The family lives in a new high-rise that offers unobstructed views of the city. “One side of the building has views of South Brooklyn’s Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. The other aspect is Manhattan; I can stare at the art-deco Chrysler building all day and night,” Nicole shares. 

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Nicole and Adrian’s record collection creates the soundtrack for the family’s home life.

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Adrian and Nicole with their eight-month-old son, Garvey. 

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Polaroids of friends and family on the living room credenza.

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Nicole and Adrian have collected over 600 books, which all have a prominent spot in their home.

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The dining area features high-quality classics, such as Eames chairs and a Saarinen tulip table. Adrian’s artwork in the dining area is a meditation on the Charleston Nine Massacre. 

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Nicole hung indigo fabric above the bed to add more art to the space. “Those lamps are from my childhood home. I got [them] when I moved into my first apartment in 1998. I’ve changed the lampshades a million times,” she adds. 

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The main bedroom doesn’t have a closet, so Nicole had to come up with creative ways to store clothes. Sportswear is stored in a basket, while the family’s linens are hidden in the vintage trunk at the end of the bed.

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Garvey’s nursery offers a view of the Manhattan skyline and Prospect Park’s tree canopy.

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Nicole wanted to add color to the nursery, but wasn’t sure how to achieve her vision. Naika Andre, a designer from Homepolish helped her, and immediately suggested removable wallpaper. “It took Adrian and a friend two days to complete the project,” Nicole adds.

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Garvey has just as many books as his parents, but it is not all our fault!” Nicole jokes. “So many people gifted us books when he was born. It is very fitting because [this one] is named Crown, which is Garvey’s middle name and about a kid visiting the barbershop for the first time.”

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Silhouettes of each family member hang above Garvey’s crib. “The illustrations of Adrian and I were created years ago as a part of his series called Fearless. Once [Garvey] was born, Adrian created [his] portrait and put it on canvas,” Nicole tells us. 

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This lighting was a great way to tie together the golden theme,” Nicole describes the brass chandelier in Garvey’s room. 

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I knew the one thing I wanted in this space was a Rayo and Honey sign. It’s incredible to be changing him, and he’s smiling at the felt lion and laying under a Black Boy Joy sign,” Nicole shares. 

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Three individual bookshelves from Target hold Nicole and Adrian’s vast book collection, copies of everything from art books and cookbooks to culture and travel volumes. Just like the dining area, the office features timeless design pieces that don’t depreciate. Artwork that Adrian has created for two films are displayed above the bookshelves, while Jean Michele Basquiat’s Skateboard Demons is hung above the sliding doors to the terrace. 

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I am obsessed with collecting things, but when I moved here, I had to decide what was most important,” Nicole shares. Her collection of pins is a fun detail in the couple’s office. 

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
Rosanna Ceravolo West Elm Media Console
Hand Painted Ethiopian Guinea Hens & Handwoven Pillow Cases – St. George of Ethiopia
Sunflower Artwork By Adrian Franks
Black Gotham Artwork by Adrian Franks and Kamau Ware

Garvey’s Room
Babyletto Lolly Crib
Babyletto Madison Swivel Chair
Babyletto Lolly Dresser
Babyletto Lolly Changing Table
Gold Moroccan Pouf  – Peace & Riot Brooklyn
Red Foxx doll – Blk Market Vintage
Mark Grattan designed round glass table – Vidivixi
Concrete wall artwork by Adrian Franks
Chasing Paper Wallpaper
Black Boy Joy sign – Rayo & Honey
Felt Lion – Fiona Walker
Modern Mobile – Flensted Mobile Gallery
“Crown” Book by Derrick Barnes

Bedroom
Courey Alston Sweetgrass baskets
Calvill clothes bar
Macy’s Heart of Haiti baskets
Chandelier – Anthropologie

Studio/Office
Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks Spikes Joint

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Comments

  • I love how the entire house has such a soulful, 70’s aesthetic, with the sunflower painting, the yellow table, the work space and the vintage decorations etcetera. I feel more empowered just by looking at the pictures of their house.

  • This is lovely and there’s so many great little pieces of inspiration.
    I’m going to drop all of my pins in a good bowl right now!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • I love the energy of this home. So many great ideas. The silhouettes are brilliant! They look good and for Garvey to look up and see himself safely between his parents is priceless.

  • Great space. I love that they have an image of a Hilma af Klint painting on the TV screen, I think? No idea how they did that but it’s brilliant.

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