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Name: Grace Zhang and boyfriend Donald Ho
Location: Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Size: 650 square feet
Type of Home: Condo
Years lived in: 2 years, owned
Grace Zhang was fortunate enough to land her Brooklyn condo in January 2020 — right before the global pandemic erupted. Notes Zhang, “My quarantine hobby ended up being decorating and personalizing my space so that it feels truly like home!”
As an avid DIYer, Zhang truly has been able to make quite an impact in her space in just two years. “I’ve worked on a ton of projects, ranging from building an entertainment center around my TV — this was my first power tool project — flipping a vintage dresser, painting art for the walls, crocheting pillows, and nursing a growing houseplant collection,” she shares. Zhang chronicles her many home improvement efforts on her Instagram account, @mybrooklynapartment. “Personalizing a boring new construction,” reads her bio. Keep reading to learn more about just how Zhang has brought her stunning space to life!
My Style: It’s very hard to label, since I don’t follow any particular design styles and instead just collect pieces that I think will look good together! I have elements of contemporary, mid-century, Scandi, Parisian, boho, and more scattered around my apartment, and room-to-room it feels different as well. Some unifying stylistic elements across my home are natural materials, pops of warm color, and houseplants. If I had to pick a design style, I’d probably go with “Scandi boho.”
Favorite Element: My houseplants! I never used to have a green thumb, but I’ve really gotten into caring for plants. I think they breathe life into a space and are such beautiful decor accents.
Biggest Challenge: The size of my apartment is definitely my biggest challenge. Working with only 650 square feet, I need to be super efficient with space and storage. I’m big into multi-purpose furniture (like a storage coffee table, ottomans that can travel between the dining table and living room, etc.) and vertical storage. I really take advantage of wall space for storage and design.
Proudest DIY: I’m really proud of the entertainment center I built around my television. This was my first power-tool project, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off. I ended up researching a few IKEA hacks and was able to make it look fully custom.
Biggest Indulgence: Most of my apartment is furnished relatively affordably; I love shopping secondhand where I can. So things like my dresser, nightstand, and coffee table I purchased used. My Article sofa is probably the most expensive item in my home, and it’s totally worth it since we use it so much every day.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My boyfriend and I both work from home, so we have to be creative about our work spaces. We opted out of getting traditional desks since our space is limited. Instead, usually one of us works from the dining table, and the other works from the couch with our “pull-up” coffee table that doubles as a desk!
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Some of the products I recommend most to my friends and family are: my bedding (my sheets are from Brooklinen and my quilt is from Parachute, and I swear by both!) and my couch (I love that my sofa is a light color, but because of the fabric material, it basically hides any wear or discoloration).
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Look for slimmer versions of furniture. For my living room shelves, I saved a lot of space by finding shelves with two legs that can be secured to the wall. Look for “multi-purpose” furniture, too. I opted to only get three dining chairs around my small dining table, and instead I use ottomans for seating when we have more people over. These ottomans usually live in the living room and in the bedroom as a catch-all for clothes I still need to hang up. We also have a pull-up coffee table that functions as a desk, storage, and dining table, too. And finally, utilize wall space. I use all of my walls for storage, decor, or both. This was one of the big reasons why I built the entertainment center around my television: to build vertical storage around an empty wall for books and art.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? It’s your home, decorate however it makes you happy!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.