The oft’ snickered about move from the isle of Manhattan, to the largest borough of NYC, is usually “caused” by the ticking of one’s biological clock. Babies mean Brooklyn, and in one particular area, it means stroller wars, marsupial moms and single-drip coffee cafes. “The Slope” is the antidote to many Manhattanites’ who are sick of squeezing into too-small rental apartments. The North Slope, which takes its name from its location on the western slope of the park, is filled with charming brownstones and historic architecture. Let’s explore a hidden gem on Sterling Place in The Vermeil, a mortar and brick building attached to a pre-existing brownstone, steps away from Maggie Gyllenhaal’s townhouse:
The area is nestled adjacent to Prospect Park and the neighborhood is relatively affordable: case in point a swanky cocktail which runs me $16 in the city, is $10 on Flatbush Avenue. Known for its preponderance of families, serious couples, aging hippies, LGBTQ hotspots, writers and other humanities driven types, the streets have a communal vibe. The location was even named one of the “Greatest Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association in 2007, “for its architectural and historical features and its diverse mix of residents and businesses, all of which are supported and preserved by its active and involved citizenry.”
The natural light coming in from the large windows lends itself to shadow play. A sun drenched living room is perfect for lazy afternoon reading.
The details of an angled globe, chinoiserie chair, moroccan tuft, midcentury credenza, B & W Photo and paper lantern give the space a simple, east-meets-west vibe.
Fort Greene is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a New York City-designated Historic District. The neighborhood is named after an American Revolutionary War era fort that was built in 1776 under the supervision of General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. Poet Walt Whitman, who was influential in the creation of Fort Greene Park in 1843. The viscinity contains many examples of mid-19th century Italianate and Eastlake architecture, most of which is well preserved. It is known for its many tree-lined streets and elegant low-rise housing. Fort Greene is also known for its many shout outs and mentions in songs and lyrics by RZA, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Notorious BIG, Raekwon, Fabolous. Artistic types from all walks graviate to the cool community, check out past notable residents HERE.
Let’s take a sneak into the secret world of a quirky yet classic brownstone townhouse!
An American flag, corduroy couch, cow-skin rug rug, marble fireplace, dark credenza, thrifted gold frame and wooden crate coffee table all intermingle easily thanks to the calming white walls.
A vintage Canon TL (released in 1968) in front of vintage mod photographs? How meta!
Vaguely color coordinated books help to keep this cluttered bookshelf from looking messy.
Small details, such as an asian inspired jewelry box, tone down the cabin-style deer head mount. Who needs to hang prints when they can just as easily be leaned against a wall?
Postcards are not just for sending, use each one collected as a mini print, art-piece and relic.
The butcher, baker and candlestick maker would all get along on this dresser because of the varied accouterments.
Teach your children well.
Wax, rusted iron, bowling pins, tackle boxes, bird cages, house plants, exposed brick and Aztec printed doggy beds, oh my! A kitchen straight out of an “I SPY” book definitely feels eclectic yet comfortable.
Pez dispensers are candy, candy is a food, so they belong on the kitchen, right?
Essential oils and vintage Erlenmeyer Flasks and clamps elevate a space from a monotonous ecru room to a cool chemistry vibe.
The historic townhouse pays homage to its vintage past with small knickknacks, antiques and first editions.
Collect and display! Embrace disparate flea market finds and unite each by time period, color, style or any defining characteristic to give your house a unified but assorted sensation. Above all, surround yourself with things you love.
Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn, New York City, stretching 10.2 miles and 132 blocks from Greenpoint south to Sheepshead Bay. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, immediately off the L subway line, the Bedford Avenue stop features a bevy of walkable, quaint, quirky, and small boutiques that will sell you (almost) anything. Since it ’tis the season to be shopping, here’s a peek into two of my favorite Williamsburg based jewelers and knickknack shops.
Catbird, located online and at 219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211, is a mecca for all things sparkly and exciting. Our favorite things include non-traditional wedding rings, stacking rings, knuckle rings and a wide range of gifts such as terrariums, perfume, glassware, candlesticks, cards, water bottles, tooth fairy boxes, candles. Anything that someone in the board game CLUE employs, one will most likely find here. When I say “find”, I mean it. The store is setup like a pirate’s booty and treasure chest filled with trinkets interwoven with strange artifacts, forcing you to play detective. The layout is haphazard yet delicate and organic. The small space specializes in local designers (although they also carry items from designers all over the globe). The tiny space is a bit of quirky and feminine dreamscape.
Step into the space that is equal parts Downton Abbey meets farmhouse shabby chic meets 1950’s diner. Peruse the sliding drawers, the glass displays, and the shelves – everywhere you turn in this postage-stamp-sized storefront is brimming with a hidden find.
Tocca Perfume reigns supreme as an easy way to evoke any distinct character trait. Discover your favorite scents by trying the samples in the store such as Cleopatra, Stella, Florence, Brigitte, Graciella and Violette. My personal favorite is Brigitte, which is inspired by the playful and sensual beauty of French film siren Brigitte Bardot, Tocca’s fragrance evokes the intoxicating scent of a stroll through the spice markets of Provence. Tres chic! The little brass birds, wrapped in ribbon, would also make a perfection addition to a mantle-place or bookshelf.
Rodin by Recine creates tonics, lip balms, hair oils, face oils and candles with the seriousness of an ancient apothecary. The products are whipped up and infused with essential oils from apricot kernels, calendula, sunflower seed, sweet almond, neroli, jojoba, rosemary and juniper. It doesn’t get more natural and aromatic than that.
If only my wallet allowed, I would buy all the knuckle ringed, chain linked, hammered metals, animal skull inspired, black diamond flecked pieces that my little heart desired – but, alas! The paycheck of a not-for-profit employee is a wee bit limiting. There are many steals using brass, crystal and silver for under $100 but the best bargain and bang for your buck, in my humble opinion, is the Lanolin-Agg-Tval Swedish Eggwhite Soap. This $5 bar of soap has been a part of healthy skincare in Sweden for generations. Originally prepared at home by Swedish women, an egg white facial was a weekly tradition to maintain pure, radiant skin. Go get this bar and make your skin glow!
Flotsam and Jetsam is created by Rebekah Harris in New York City. Harris apprenticed under a silversmith and creates rock and roll silver jewelry. Many of her designs stem from a love of the ocean (hence the name) and a curiosity for the mysteries of the watery unknown. Flotsam and Jetsam speaks of the spoils cast over board and washed ashore, sculptural narratives whose stories invoke the desperate journeys of abandoned souls that dared to step aboard and sail into the realms of monsters, sudden squalls and shallow shoals. Whatever the company’s folklore may be, the pieces always pay homage to the artisan craftsmanship of the past with a modern edge.
Another jewelry favorite, that has much more of a DIY vibe, is Brooklyn Charm. Located at 145 Bedford Ave (between 10th St & 9th St) Brooklyn, NY 11211, the funky shop is filled to the brim with gold chains, strange overstock, wholesale beads, and pre-made creations. After building up a small-but-loyal fanbase through her flea market sales and Etsy store, jewelry designer Tracie Howarth opened this storefront on Bedford Avenue in March 2010.
The space also hosts metalworking, wire wrapping and other beading and jewelry making courses. No previous experience necessary! There is a large selection of letter charms, state charms, skulls, and all the supplies to create a one-of-a kind pieces. If you are not feeling so crafty and creatively inclined, bring your favorite parts to the cash register and the staff will assemble jewelry for you on the spot at the counter!
Arrows, spoons, globes, acorns, beetles, knives, alligators, and wood – oh my! You would be hard pressed to find something missing the eclectic array of charms that the shop offers.
Now, combining finds from the two lovely, aforementioned places, I bring you the Brooklyn holiday gift guide, where all items are $50 and under! Buy something for your teacher, lover, milkman, boss, distant cousin and fellow commuter. At prices like these, buy yourself a gift too!