This Family’s Gorgeous Brownstone Is Full of Calming Textiles
Name: Becca Crawford, husband Shawn, and son Arlo
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 900 square feet
Type of Home: Brownstone apartment
Years lived in: 3 years, renting
We moved into this apartment right before our son was born in 2018. We were already living in the neighborhood, but our previous apartment was located above a bodega on a busy, noisy corner. We also still had a roommate who we had been living with since before we were married. Rather than kick our roommate out, we decided it was finally time for us to go and search for a family-friendly apartment.
I visited an open house for this apartment and immediately fell for the high ceilings and charming pre-war details. It also had a whopping five closets! After looking at spaces that had zero closets, I was sold. While I still love our soaring ceilings and closet space, what I have come to value the most is our apartment’s location. We stumbled upon a pretty special block when we moved here. Not only is it tree-lined and picturesque, there is a real sense of community that I hadn’t experienced in New York before. The pandemic made that even more obvious, when the only social interactions we were having for awhile were with neighbors from our respective stoops. Every Sunday afternoon last summer, a building across the street would begin playing music and everyone would spill out of their apartments. My son would invite himself over to our neighbor’s stoop to eat popsicles and play in the water hose with their daughter. Everyone on the block seems to know his name and stops to tell him hello, to which Arlo waves and loudly responds, “Hello, neighbor!” That, more than any qualities about the apartment itself, has really made this feel like home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I guess I’d call it Scandi-bohemian? Textiles are an obsession of mine, and I’m drawn to wild color and interesting patterns. However, I like to temper it with white walls and lots of neutrals to keep the overall vibe bright and airy. I love the look of a minimalist interior, but there’s part of me that’s a real maximalist, so I think my personal style is a constant effort to find a balance between those two sensibilities.
Nothing is too precious or pristine in our apartment. Since having a kid, I feel like my style has shifted a bit to allow for spills and messes to be made, and it’s important to me that my family feels like they can put their feet up here, because they literally do, all over the furniture. Once my son started running his toy cars across our media console, I swapped it out for an inexpensive IKEA piece. Our living room rug is machine washable (or at least, we throw it in the washing machine). We have children’s books in nearly every room and my son’s artwork taped to the walls. I now care less about what everything looks like in our apartment, and more about the feelings our apartment evokes. I want our home to feel playful, relaxed, and happy.
Inspiration: I’m attracted to a West Coast aesthetic. My husband is from San Diego and I went to school outside of LA, and a more laidback California energy has found its way into our home. My career as a product designer has undoubtedly inspired my personal style. I am surrounded by insane vintage textiles and beautiful handmade objects at work every day, and there are certain projects that I work on that really speak to me and influence my own design aesthetic. I have always worked for brands with a more bohemian, eclectic point of view, and while I have sought out those brands as they seem more aligned with my own personal taste, I do wonder if my home would look the way that it does had I chosen to work for brands with a vastly different aesthetic. Did I choose this style or did it choose me?!
Favorite Element: We’re on the top floor of our building, and we get pretty magical light up here. I remember the first night we slept in this apartment, my husband exclaimed, ‘I hear birds chirping!’ To look out the windows and have treetop views gives us a sense of retreat within NY, and we feel lucky to have that.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge of this apartment is definitely its wonky layout. It’s a railroad, with several doors that open onto one long hallway, and our kitchen and bathroom are detached from the main part of the apartment. However, at the end of the day we decided the charm of the space outweighed the weird layout, and now it’s super normal to us. Doesn’t everyone have to lock three different doors before leaving their apartment? It also makes for a great hide-and-seek house.
Proudest DIY: I wove the wall hanging above our bed if that counts!
Biggest Indulgence: Probably our sofa from ABC Home. I used to work there so I got a great deal, but even then it was an investment buy. I love it but it was purchased pre-kid, and I definitely wouldn’t go with such a touchy velvet fabric again. I have just learned to embrace the imperfections, and throw a sheepskin over them.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our son’s room is teeny-tiny. I’m pretty sure it’s not legally considered a bedroom in NYC. At some point, like if we ever try to put something bigger than a crib in there, he will outgrow it, but for now it works and is one of my favorite rooms in our home. And since COVID our dining room has doubled as my home office. We turned the dining room closet into an arts and crafts closet, so usually there’s an art project happening in there as well.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My rugs. Most of them were purchased during various travels over the years, and some of them were purchased directly from the artisan who wove them. I’m also really obsessed with my cordless Dyson! Best Black Friday impulse purchase I ever made.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I don’t get sentimentally attached to most of my possessions, which has served me well in New York. As soon as I’m over something or it doesn’t work in the space anymore, it’s out. I feel like this is super important as a parent here, since kids accumulate so much and outgrow things so quickly. I always have a donation bag going and I resell the nicer stuff.
I’m also constantly tidying. At the end of the day, I can’t relax until things are somewhat orderly, which keeps things from getting too out of hand. I also got rid of the bedroom chair — you know, the one that you just throw clothes on.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My number one shopping trick for furniture is to buy used. The majority of the furniture in our apartment was purchased secondhand. Especially in a big city, someone is bound to be getting rid of exactly what you’re looking for. I will even buy secondhand IKEA furniture from someone in the neighborhood just to save myself a trip to that store.
PAINT & COLORS
- All rooms — Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace”
- Highline Sofa — ABC Home (no longer available, similar model here)
- Rouge Chevron Kilim throw pillow — St. Frank
- Vintage huipil lumbar pillow — St. Frank (sold out, similar pillows here)
- Vintage throw pillow — ABC Home (no longer available)
- Tan sheepskin — St. Frank
- Ochre baby alpaca throw — St. Frank
- Lagoon woodblock print — Block Shop Textiles
- Hanging textile — Vintage
- Elo coffee table — Akron Street via Craigslist
- Apothecary vase — St. Frank
- Ombré pink coasters — St. Frank
- Kids table and chairs — KidKraft
- PS cabinet — IKEA via Craigslist
- Rug — Purchased from artisan in Oaxaca, Mexico
- Vintage floor cushions — ABC Home, St. Frank (sold out, similar pillows here)
- Toy baskets — Olli Ella, vintage
- Rocking horse — The Wild (sold out, similar products here)
- Common dining table — Akron Street
- Vintage Cesca Chairs — Dream Fishing Tackle
- Rust Cactus Silk rug — St. Frank
- Luster velvet curtains — West Elm
- Fjalkinge shelves — IKEA
- Ochre table linens — St. Frank
- Mixe clay dishes — St. Frank
- Toy kitchen — Hand-me-down from friends
- Wood spoons — St. Frank
- Bed frame — Keetsa via a family in the neighborhood
- Ecru Maze Kuba Cloth bedding — St. Frank
- Honey Diamond Kuba Cloth Euro pillow — St. Frank
- Rouge Herringbone Kilim Euro pillow — St. Frank
- Vintage embroidered pillow — ABC Home (no longer available)
- Terracotta Classic Kuba Cloth lumbar pillow — St. Frank
- Bed runner — Vintage
- Dresser — Vintage via Furnish Green
- Mirror — IKEA (no longer available, similar here)
- Yoruba crown – St. Frank
- Linen curtains — H&M (no longer available, similar here)
- Cart nightstand — Vintage
- White Nightstand — IKEA (no longer available)
- Ripple Ceramic Table Lamp — West Elm via FB Marketplace
- Jaipur Candle — St. Frank
- Sparrow dresser — Oeuf
- Sniglar crib — IKEA via FB Marketplace
- Mossi crib sheet — St. Frank
- Rainbow linen kantha baby quilt — St. Frank
- Flisat bookshelves — IKEA
- Montessori toy shelf — Sprout
- Rug — Vintage, purchased in Istanbul, Turkey
- Ombré curtains — Zara (no longer available)
- Shell Psychedelic Kilim framed print — St. Frank
- Red clay piggy bank — St. Frank
- Raffia animals — St. Frank
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Family-Friendly Brooklyn Brownstone Is a Dreamy Textile-Filled Home