Designer Michelle Zacks completely transforms a pre-war Brooklyn apartment into an artful blend of modern, regency, vintage, and boho styles.
Photos by Heidi's Bridge
If someone were to bottle up Brooklyn’s impossibly cool energy and channel it into an apartment, it would probably look a lot like the oneoverhauled for fashion editor Taylor Harris. Situated just beyond the parameters of Prospect Park, the one-bedroom digs mimic what its creatively inclined neighborhood does best: blend a slew of disparate sensibilities in a way that looks and feels artfully eclectic. It helped that Taylor wasn’t partial to one design style in particular.
“Taylor’s style is a mix of different influences—a little bit regency, a little modern, mixed with rustic and vintage accents and a dash of boho,” Michelle says.
The designer thoughtfully threaded each distinct style into the apartment, but not before giving the space a major facelift first.
“At our first meeting, I could see that her apartment had really great bones, but the kitchen and bathroom were very dated and the decor seemed to reflect a different version of the person I met that day,” Michelle explains. “The decor needed to be updated to reflect her current vibe and lifestyle.”
The kitchen, for instance, had been living in the ‘80s until Michelle worked her magic. She gave the dated, primarily white laminate space a vintage-inspired, modern rustic look that includes shaker-style cabinets, custom-made reclaimed wood shelves, and new appliances that lend the room a retro vibe. To give the illusion of a patina effect, she clad some of the kitchen walls, as well as the dining area, with a dusty grey wallpaper from Tres Tintas.
The bathroom demanded a similarly extensive transformation. Michelle opted for a black-and-white palette with rustic wood touches—think a custom-made vanity inspired by an image of a vintage apothecary cabinet. To tie the room together, she chose a graphic, black and white tile and added splashes of brass—a common theme throughout the apartment.
Michelle selected a baby blue patterned wallpaper for the entryway to keep the space airy and light. She also focused on establishing a similarly light ambiance in Taylor’s bedroom. In addition to sticking to a pale color scheme, she drenched the room in light through carefully selected fixtures.
“The bedroom itself has two windows but it doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so we knew we want to keep the space airy and light,” she reveals. “I wanted to choose a chandelier that had multiple light bulbs but that didn’t feel overly heavy.”
She also chose a custom-made headboard made with a patterned textile that manages to be both serene and statement-making and layers perfectly with vintage throw pillows and rug, sourced by Taylor herself. The theme of layering textiles and patterns spills into the living room, where organic materials, a Moroccan rug, and a custom indigo pillow that nods to the neighborhood mingle harmoniously within the pre-war setting.
“One of my favorite corners of the apartment is a seating area in the living room,” she says. “There’s a gorgeous leather Paulistano chair with a large-scale artwork behind it.”
Just like in the neighborhood this apartment belongs to, it’s the unexpected corners that give it so much character.
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