Who: Michelle Shekari and Chad Miller
Where: Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York
Style: Simple, functional modern
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When Michelle Shekari and Chad Miller left uber-hip Williamsburg, Brooklyn, they headed north to nearby Greenpoint. And not just for the tree-lined streets and low-key vibe — specifically, they came for this apartment.
"The market is saturated with quick-build 'white box' renovations," says Shekari, a creative producer for The Wing, a women's co-working space. "It's rare to find an apartment with this kind of personality."
It was also rare to find a single space that met both of their needs and tastes. Shekari had a penchant for Philadelphia row houses, with their low-slung brick exteriors and three or four-room units. Miller, an art director, was used to living in broad, open industrial warehouse spaces. This particular apartment in Greenpoint had, in many ways, the best of both — a three-story building, with a neighborly feel; new construction where there once was a garage, with remnants of the concrete floors and exposed brick; plus a loft that's not too loft-like. "It's not like you have to climb up a ladder," says Shekari.
Once you're in the loft, there's the other great perk — real outdoor space, with a view of the Manhattan skyline. It's Shekari's favorite place in the home, weather-permitting. They've even grown blueberries there.
Bringing their two points of view together, they've been able to edit out lower-quality, non-essentials and re-curate the things they love — art, books, plants. Says Shekari, "We've found our flow, working together toward a vision, in small and larger ways."
The light fixtures came with the apartment, but Shekari and Miller made a point to swap out the harsh fluorescents for warmer hues, and some Edison bulbs, to make the place feel cozier, especially at night.
Shekari loves how centralized everything is downstairs — and yet each space has its own function. "We like having a space that has solid basics, a great desk, a couch we're comfortable in, and little items that shift based on how we're feeling creatively."
The desk was custom built for Shekari and Miller, who often work at home. They had it custom-made in Brooklyn several years ago. "That desk is so heavy but we're committed," Shekari says. The prints, by Dan Kent, are a key focal point along the brick wall.
Many of the industrial elements came with the apartment.
The couple chose a warm-wood dresser to help soften the darker, industrial elements of the space.
Light pours in through the skylight, on your way up the stairs.
The outdoor space was a huge draw for the couple. "We've just begun in terms of making it what we want," says Shekari.
Locals Know Best
Favorite piece of design or architecture in your neighborhood, town or city: In the Greenpoint area, there are so many old facades and old signs that get preserved even while new businesses move in. Those are always super inspirational to be around — you see how much history there is where we live.
On a more modern side, the street art is ever-changing. There's a muralist I love — Tony Sjöman, or Ruben415. He has a piece of work by the L-stop. It's super geometric but also has some warmth and color in it.
Best places for thrift store finds, antiques, or flea markets: There's always Awoke Vintage, it's a cult favorite. But nothing compares to upstate New York.
Best Farmers' market: McCarren Park or McGolrick Park — we bounce back and forth.
Best happy hour: My boyfriend doesn't drink, he's straight edge. So it's usually just an occasional bottle of wine at home.
Best cheap and cheerful restaurant: 'Cheap' is a relative term, right? We're fans of Pheasant on Grand. It's a hidden gem.
Best place to experience art and culture: McCarren Park and Bedford Avenue, really. Just walking around that area, you could people-watch forever.
Best coffee shop:
The Blue Stove