While the ‘House of Mirrors’ is an apt description of Vanessa and Matt’s house – adorned with 14 carefully placed mirrors throughout the ground floor apartment – all similarity to a park fun house from attractions stop there.
Located just north of McGolrick Park, the married couple’s apartment is a welcoming and comfortable 1,000 square foot space, comprising two bedrooms (one of which is converted into an office), a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, a patio and a 600-square foot backyard. Vanessa has taken the lead in decorating since moving into the building 4 years ago from Florida, but Matt’s opinion and approval is a crucial part of the process.
The living room
“Everything has a story,” Vanessa told me, using the word “nostalgic” when I asked the couple to describe their space.
In the center of the living room, atop a Persian-style red carpet is a large white footstool the couple found on the sidewalk just before New York City closed for COVID-19 – almost as if it universe knew that they would soon be spending most of their time at home. Another gem found on the street, an ornate mantle giving the impression of an old fireplace, sits against a wall. Vanessa refurbished and painted the room white with gold hardware (it was originally dark cherry wood) and mounted a gold thrift store mirror Reuse America Above. In fact, the couple scavenged many of their unique furnishings and decorations through clever avenues such as stooping or saving money, effectively turning a man’s junk into their own treasures.
Right next to the living room is an office where Vanessa and Matt work from home as communications professionals and digital marketers, respectively. Local art lines the walls, including several pieces by Greenpoint’s own artists. A detailed map of the neighborhood made by artist Alex Russell hangs on the wall next to the desk. Perpendicular wall displays a drawing of a Greenpoint house by the illustrator Amy Marin, a miniature metal fire escape and an old photo of Studio 54, among other works.
The bedroom also has a wall mirror and a desk chair. Dobbin St. Vintage Cooperative. Sitting behind the desk, a pale blue sofa and orange pillow add a pop of color to the otherwise neutral space.
“Historic” was another word the couple used to describe their home. The spacious, sunny bedroom – accessible by walking like a railroad from the living room to the study – has a decorative wooden screen with an ornate boat wheel detail still intact. The couple assume they are linked to the booming shipbuilding industry that once made Greenpoint their home. While the apartment building was constructed in 1899 – when the heyday of shipbuilding in the neighborhood had passed – nautical links have persisted.
The bedroom also features a huge picture window, as you would expect in San Francisco, and the floors are adorned with red and blue rugs, one from a real estate sale and the other from the popular Greenpoint ‘Buy‘ group. Nothing ”on Facebook.
The kitchen is a medium-sized minimalist space in which the couple cooks frequently, often incorporating food grown in their garden. In fact, sitting on the table when I walked in was a bowl full of freshly picked green tomatoes that had grown late in this unusually hot November for the season. But the most eye-catching detail in the kitchen is an engraved Hollywood regency-style gilded mirror that Vanessa found on one of her many trips to Reuse America.
While it’s hard to compete with the welcoming interior of Vanessa and Matt’s home, the backyard is as close as it gets. When the weather permits, the couple drink their morning coffee and have breakfast on the small marble table on the ivy-covered back patio. Going down a few steps into the courtyard, the lush green space is covered with grass, vines, plants, changing leaves and a vast array of string lights that surround the courtyard and extend to the bridge, illuminating space in the evening. A raised bed in the center of the courtyard houses a tomato garden during the warmer months.
Milking the yard to its fullest value, the couple often set up a plan to have outdoor movie nights and blow up an inflatable pool for friends to cool off in the hot summer months.
When friends and visitors come to their apartment, Vanessa and Matt want everyone to feel at home. “Mi casa es su casa,” said Vanessa.
Interested in getting your home featured in Greenpointers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, side streets and some preview images of your home.
Photo editing by Maya Friedman