Lofty goals: retro colors in a modern building in Williamsburg


Lofty Goals offers interesting and eclectic apartments located in our neighborhood. Check out more from this series here.

When I walked into Mallory and Graeme’s apartment in Williamsburg, one of the first things I noticed was a funky graphic hanging above a large three-paneled window. It depicted a blue airplane flying through a bright yellow sky with purple clouds. After Graeme told me he was a pilot, I assumed the artwork was a long wanted gift from a family member or friend. But, like many other North Brooklyn residents whose homes I’ve featured, Mallory and Graeme got much of their second-hand decor and furniture from friends, Craigslist, or the streets. One day, Mallory spotted airplane art on the sidewalk and took it home.

As Graeme describes the memory, “I came home from a trip and was like, oh, there’s a plane here now.”

The pops of color in the apartment don’t stop there. The floor and walls are embellished with an eclectic and surprising color palette that mixes and matches bright and muted shades. In the living room, the pink, green and orange shag rug – which Graeme was initially skeptical of but has come to appreciate – brings life to the quiet gray and green sofas sitting on it; blue and pink fluorescent light sabers in the corners cast a subtle hue along the white walls; and green and reddish moss wall hangings – designed by Mallory – bring a pleasant warmth to the space.

When I asked what aesthetic they were going for, Mallory told me she just wanted it to be light and bright. While the colorful decor achieves the “light” part, the large windows and open layout adjoining the living room, kitchen and dining room allow natural light to flood the space. It also brings the countless plants in the house to life.

Behind the gray sofa in the living room is the couple’s dining room. Graeme said it was his favorite part of their house because their old apartment — another unit around the corner on the same floor — didn’t have enough space for a proper table. But here there is room for five chairs around the table, two of which (the beige chairs) are from Mallory’s parents, while the others are all street finds. However, not all of them were in very good condition and Mallory took the initiative to re-upholster the cushions with a multicolored striped fabric.

As a dog walker and founder of a pet care business, Mallory often roams the neighborhood, which has honed her ability to spot outdoor treasures. Another neighborhood find, a lamp with a huge solid marble base stands by the dining table. Mallory remembers having to call Graeme to help bring him home because he weighed so much (I can confirm this – I could barely lift him). Behind the lamp is a shelf filled with trinkets from various outings and adventures. Mallory told me most of the little animals and trinkets at the top came from Japan, which the couple have visited four times now.

While the kitchen lacks the diversity of color that characterizes other parts of the house, a teal teapot and muted pink dutch oven add pops of brightness to the neutral-toned modern space. Beyond preparing meals in the kitchen, Mallory and Graeme often cook and host friends outside on their expansive patio using an Ooni pizza oven. Although they unfortunately didn’t offer to quickly bake a pie for me (literally, it bakes in 60 seconds!), I’ve had pizza made at an Ooni before and can’t recommend it highly enough.

The last room I ventured into was the couple’s bedroom, which Mallory said she didn’t find as exciting as the rest of the apartment. While it might not be as remarkable, I was inspired by a unique look: the black and brown cowboy hats hanging above the bed. The couple told me they picked them up last summer when they went to Durango, Colorado for Graeme’s brother’s wedding. After returning from town with the hats, a dozen other wedding attendees returned to town the next day to get their own hats.

I’m going to Texas at the end of this month, and who knows, maybe I’ll pick up a cowboy hat or two to hang on my bedroom wall.

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