Modernized Brooklyn brownstone, rich with personal history

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Drew and Jackson in the living room.The offbeat occupant: Wendy Atterberry, Relationship Advice Blogger

Other occupants: My husband, Drew, our 1-year-old son, Jackson, and out two cats, Miles and Simone.

Approximate square footage: 650-1000 sq. feet

How many bedrooms? 2

Lives in: Brooklyn

When did you move into this home? Two years, four months

Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live?
IMG_7445We live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, where you can’t throw a paper plane without hitting a baby or a pregnant woman. As new parents ourselves, we don’t mind too much being a cliché (although the playground gets a bit crowded) since many of the local businesses cater to young families enjoying a night out — which makes things convenient for us.

A fairly new addition to the neighborhood is an artisanal mayonnaise shop, which should tell you a lot about the area. But though it’s a bit yuppie and definitely family-friendly, the neighborhood is not too sickeningly precious (there’s still an occasional street brawl to keep things interesting). It’s a gentrified neighborhood, but some families have lived here for generations, so it remains diverse, both racially and economically, and everyone seems to live in harmony together (the occasional street brawl notwithstanding).


What makes your home offbeat? Almost nothing in our home was purchased brand new. Much of our decor was passed down from parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even great-great-grandparents, giving this recently refurbished Brooklyn brownstone, with all its modern amenities, a rich sense of personal history.

IMG_7522Our personal history is further reflected in our original artwork, photography, and collections from our travels (we’ve collected postcards from all the trips we’ve taken together and framed them above our bed as a sort of travelogue headboard, for example).


What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? The limited space is a real challenge, especially since having a baby last October. I work from home, so I had to find a new spot for my home office when we turned our second bedroom into a nursery.

IMG_7458IMG_7466It took some rearranging and a lot of measuring, but I was able to carve a corner for my desk and chair in a spot that doesn’t interrupt the aesthetic of the apartment.

We don’t have a lot of storage, so the rule is that when new stuff comes into the apartment, I have to box up some stuff to either give away or take to storage.

IMG_7543What’s your favorite feature of your home? I’m a sucker for some beautiful hardwood floors. The walk-in closet is a close second.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? Everything has a place. It may not be the most obvious place, but if you look hard enough, keep an open mind, and are willing to let go of the unnecessary, you will find it.

Kitchen.Kitchen looking into living room.

What’s your grandest plan for the space? Filling it with more laughter than the walls can stand. Also, maybe a new book case.

Wendy in the kitchen.What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? Once a season, take an inventory of your possessions and make sure your home is filled only with what you find beautiful, useful, or particularly sentimental. Once something has run its course and no longer fits your style or meets your needs, pass it along so you have room for something new to be loved and enhance your space.

Any stuff or services you want to recommend? In my area, I love an antique store called Repop, filled with cool and curious items you might find in the basement of a 73-year-old artist who drinks too much whiskey.

I also love the Brooklyn Flea, as well as another little thrift store called Trailer Park.

Show me the decor porn!

We want to see YOUR house (…or even just one room). Submit your home tour this weekend!

Comments on Modernized Brooklyn brownstone, rich with personal history

  1. It’s Dear Wendy! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home–I love how you wrote about blending an updated space with old stuff. I also love that postcard headboard!

  2. Thanks, everyone! The postcard display is one of the rare examples of an original design idea on my part (i.e. not “borrowed” from a blog or magazine). Drew and I had been collecting postcards from our travels and I knew I wanted to display them somehow. We also had this big blank space above our bed (no headboard) that I wanted to do something with. And we had a couple hundred bucks in gift cards to Crate and Barrel left over from our wedding. Voila! My idea was born.

      • It’s super easy! Just buy frames that are the same size as the postcards — I like the “versa frames” from Crate and Barrel, but I’m sure you could find similar lots of places — then do some measuring before you hammer and hang (I spaced and measured on the floor). If you can hang a framed poster on the wall, you can do this.

    • Thanks! I got the red bench — which was baby blue when I bought it — at a neighborhood thrift store called Trailer Park. The artwork — fake silkscreens — I found at a garage sale in Chicago for cheap.

  3. I really love this place- the diner booth is SO cool! It looks like an awesome way to save some space. I’m definitely going to steal some of your ideas, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Ha, i know! I actually just in the last few days replaced the bar cart with an antique closed cabinet that we can hide the liquor away from little grabby hands. I was so sad to let go of the bar cart, which I sold on Craigslist, but I like the antique cabinet I found (also on Craigslist) even better … and my son isn’t constantly fighting me to get at the bottle of vodka, so it’s a win win.

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