Home & Design

A Brooklyn Apartment Where Everything Serves a Purpose

casey zhang apartment tour man repeller

As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the Brooklyn home of freelance creative consultant Casey Zhang. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about.

Neighborhood, # of rooms:

I’m in a one-bedroom apartment on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.

How long have you lived here?

A little over two years.

What do you like about the neighborhood? Has the neighborhood influenced the aesthetic of your home in any way?

I’ve been in New York for over six years and I’ve lived in the same half-mile radius the entire time. I love it here! You get the real Brooklyn experience with residential brownstones but you also have a lot of fun restaurants/cafes/bars that don’t feel too stuffy or too cool. It’s very diverse and it’s unpretentious. You don’t need to look cute to get your coffee in the morning here.

Who do you live with (animals included)?

Myself, but a lot of my neighbors have dogs, so sometimes I pretend they’re mine.

What did you think about when decorating?

I moved around a lot when I was younger, so when I buy a new piece of furniture now, I try to consider how it could adapt to future homes. I like the flexibility of modular furniture for that reason. My couch is actually three separate pieces; in my old apartment, it was in an L-shape formation, and now it’s one very long unit (also convenient for sleeping extra-tall guests). When I moved into my current apartment, I had this idea for a low modular bookshelf, so my friend (the founder of Studio Snng) concepted a custom unit (it’s call the Casey Console!) that exactly fit the length of my wall (but also reconfigures to be two separate pieces or a stacked unit if I moved or ever wanted a change).

At what point in your life did you really start to come into your own in terms of your decorating style?

As a kid, I watched a lot of Clarissa Explains It All, and I dreamed about having her room. I remember sketching out the layout so I could model my own room to be more like it. I also had a phase growing up where I thought IKEA catalogs were the coolest thing ever and I would cut out and save favorite pages. I’ve always been a geek about interiors but my style has evolved and continues to evolve.

What do you do for work?

I recently went freelance doing creative consulting, which is a vague way of saying I do a mix of art direction, content strategy and photography. Prior to this, I managed social media at brands like Etsy, Glossier and Urban Outfitters.

What do you think your home says about you? And how do you want visitors to feel when they walk into it?

I’m pretty modest in the way I live. I don’t indulge in lot of decorative stuff and most of the items in my home have some type of functional purpose. I don’t like things to be too perfect or too precious but it’s definitely easier to be tidy when you don’t have a ton of extra “stuff.”

Where is your favorite place in your home and why?

By the window in the early morning when the light starts coming in and you can see the glow across the Manhattan skyline.

What are your favorite home “scores”?

My favorite items are the things made by friends. The custom console, coffee table and nightstand were made by my friend at Studio Snng, and those are really special to me. I also have a bookstand, planters and coasters made by friends over at Chen and Kai.

What’s something about your home you want to change and why?

All the original light fixtures. I replaced the one in the living room with a Noguchi paper lamp, but I haven’t gotten to any of the other ones yet.

What’s something you’ve been looking for forever but still have yet to find?

A good desk chair (ideally vintage)! Now that I work from home more, I want something that is both attractive and somewhat ergonomic. My current one is neither.

Where do you look for decorating inspiration?

I like spending time in the interior design section of bookstores. I also do a lot of Pinterest boarding to catalog and save home inspiration.

What’s the best piece of decorating wisdom you’ve ever heard?

When you first move, resist the urge to go out and buy everything from one place (ahem, IKEA). Take your time finding pieces that are meaningful to you.

Photos by Heidi’s Bridge.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

More from Home & Design