Rebecca Minkoff moved to Brooklyn in September, after 10 years of living in Manhattan, “for a million reasons.” But the biggest one, says the designer best known for her obsession-inducing handbags, was space—the thing that generally drives seasoned city residents across the East River. “I was tired of my son’s playground being a sidewalk,” admits the 33-year-old, who whipped her new two-bedroom into shape in less than a month. The apartment’s loft-like appearance—think high ceilings and big windows—was another simple but significant draw. “It really feels like a home.” Plus, Luca, who just turned two, now gets to play in the expansive Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Minkoff initially hired an interior decorator friend to choose the furnishings—the only major piece brought from her previous, much smaller apartment was a charcoal tweed convertible couch from the interiors boutique Organic Modernism. But after discovering the joys of using Pinterest as an inspiration board for something other than fashion, she quickly decided to take on the project herself. “I went down the Pinterest wormhole,” she confesses. “It was a great way for my husband and me to communicate. It allowed us to really map out what we wanted to do.”
Hundreds of pinned images later—one inspiration was the wood-grain-heavy, midcentury-inspired home of NYC socialite Ferebee Taube—and Minkoff was ready to get started. “My goal was to create a warm space,” she says. “I like color, but nothing overwhelming or something I’d get tired of. I also wanted it to be a bit more grown-up than my last apartment, though not stuffy or overdesigned.”
The result is a fun mix of old and new (and high and low) pieces that nicely complement the designer’s cool-girl fashion aesthetic. “If you’re creative and resourceful, you don’t have to spend a lot of money,” she says. “I didn’t have a huge budget for this, and I didn’t end up spending what people think I spent.”
The real steal was the Danish modern dining room set, which Minkoff’s mom scored at a Florida yard sale for $50 this summer. (And get this: The seller threw in a matching credenza for free.) The only update? A fabric change on the chairs. The choice of topaz blue for the cushions reflects Minkoff’s overall design philosophy: “I like using colors as an accent rather than the main event.”
Minkoff kept on budget by looking to Etsy for gold-finished wall lamps, eBay for offbeat 1960s posters and more traditional outlets for linens and objets d’art; the Japanese ikat-printed sheets are from West Elm, and she got her yellow cups from Kate Spade Saturday.
Minkoff and her husband, the actor Gavin Bellour, 36, decided on slate accent walls in nearly every room, using chalkboard paint in Luca’s bedroom. To keep all that gray from feeling dreary, the designer piled bright John Robshaw and Jayson Home pillows high on the couch and used playful wallpaper in each bathroom: Osborne & Little’s palm leaves in one and Scalamandré’s zebras in the other. Above the color-coordinated bookshelf is a wall-size photo taken by Minkoff’s childhood friend Alex Prager. “The taxicab makes it feel like a Manhattan apartment,” says Minkoff. Even if she is technically (but happily) off the island.