I’ve lived in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with my husband, two teenage boys, and our rescue pit bull for about nine years. My husband, an urban farmer, was always obsessed with the neighborhood, and when he discovered a building for sale—one that literally consisted of nothing more than four brick walls, remnants of a stair case, and floor joists—he was instantly smitten. I was a little apprehensive. I’m a cookbook author, food writer, and baker—and I don't have quite the "vision" or passion that he has for real estate and home design (and, I mean, you could literally see the sky when you walked through the graffitied front door). But in hindsight (i.e. a gut renovation later), I am grateful that we took the plunge.
The 1860s building was built by the Atlantic Dock Co. to house its workers, and we have decorated it with kind of an old-meets-new vibe. The floors are made of salvaged wood—some of it original to the house—the walls are unpainted with a rough, plaster finish; and the radiators are exposed.
We live on three floors of the house, and our bed- and bathrooms are on the second. The house is "upside down," meaning the living and dining rooms and the kitchen are on the top floor. The light and views of the water are the best there.
The "loft-like" top floor of the house is where we do all of our living, eating, hanging, and entertaining. It’s also where I do all of my baking and writing. When I am developing recipes or preparing dinner, and the boys are upstairs, it feels like family time together (despite the fact no one is talking—I mean, they’re teenagers, after all). They are usually parked on the couch, phones in hand, while I bustle around the kitchen trying to put something on the table that everyone will like—not an easy task.
The kitchen, I joke, is where all the magic happens, as sweets and treats do kind of have magical powers. Now, I won't lie, my kids don't like all the magic that I create. In fact, they flat out reject certain things, requesting store-bought cookies or ice cream rather than homemade.
But you know what they do love? My donuts. So there’s always that...
And they’ll usually eat a slice of cake, even when it's not chocolate, so that’s something...and when said cake is from my latest cookbook, well, then all the better.
Shop the Look
We eat at a long, wooden table across from the kitchen—and if people are eating and I’m still fiddling around (frying up donuts or frosting a cake, if they're lucky), I still feel part of the meal.
Because I work from home and spend so much time alone, it always feels like a treat when everyone is home and we’re all upstairs together. Sometimes I miss the peace and quiet, sure, but rarely...
More My House:
Architecture and Interior Design Firm: Hendricks Churchill
Creative Renovations: Builder and General Contractor
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