A Heaven-Sent Brooklyn Kitchen Redesign

A Heaven-Sent Brooklyn Kitchen Redesign

A Heaven-Sent Brooklyn Kitchen Redesign


Marly Ellis, Global Head of Brand Marketing and Creative Partnerships at YouTube


In the top floor of a renovated church in Fort Greene, Homepolish's Michelle Zacks redesigned a dark kitchen into a bright slice of bohemia.

Photos by Claire Esparros.

Walking into the Fort Greene apartment of Marly Ellis, you would be forgiven for gawking. Beams seem to jut out from strange angles, the woodwork has unusual ornamentation and curves, and the ceiling rises in a sweeping peak. There’s even some original stained glass! And that’s when it dawns on you. Marly’s bi-level space is a reclaimed church, turned into a residence.

Homepolish designer Michelle Zacks does little to hide her enthusiasm, as she says, “This is still one of the coolest and most unique spaces I’ve been lucky enough to work on. Just getting to work in such a place is super inspiring!” The problem, however, was that Marly’s kitchen was a little less than inspiring for her tastes. Looking around the apartment, which Marly has lived in since 2008, Michelle noted white and bright décor, centering on midcentury modernism and bohemia. The kitchen was anything but that. As Marly notes, “The kitchen is the heart of my home. We cook with friends, eat and drink around the marble bar… but for eight years, it was so at odds with the rest of the space.”

Luckily, no renovation work was need. This was more of a “space lift.” Cabinet fronts, previously dark mahogany were swapped out for white, and white followed through for the backsplash tile. Dated cabinetry with frosted glass fronts over the kitchen sink was replaced with custom reclaimed wood shelving. To bring that sense of comfort and character to the space, Marly filled it up with succulents, cacti, and a gorgeous collection of colorful ceramics. The light and bright vibe makes her happy to simply “putter around” in the space every day, as she puts it. It’s simply… well, divine.


Michelle is wonderful–calm, thoughtful, resourceful, just the right balance for my sometimes frenetic energy.

- Marly Ellis, Homepolish client


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