Photography: Ira Yousey
Subject: Abigail Hibbs
Neighborhood: Crown Heights
Occupation: Works in finance at an art gallery
Lived in Residence: 2 years
Number of Rooms: There are five separate rooms, with a small entryway, and the living room/dining room being one large space. I had originally wanted to find an apartment that had a separate dining room, but I’ve ended up loving the combined living room/dining room.
Roomates: Henri Broyard, partner, who is a painter and freelance art handler
Abigail Hibbs and Henri Broyard moved to their apartment in Crown Heights about two years ago after inhabiting a dimly lit first floor apartment on the Lower East Side. Both from the West Coast originally, they wanted a home that would be full of life and remind them of sunny California. Abbie works in finance at an art gallery and Henri is a painter and freelance art handler, so it’s fair to say that the two are well-versed in aesthetics and had the tools to craft a beautiful apartment. They’ve thrifted many of the unique furniture pieces in the apartment, and the majority of the artwork dotting the walls are originals by their friends and colleagues. Two cats, Chip and Jerry, add to the unique personality of the space, greeting visitors and causing trouble.
What’s your favorite thing about your apartment?
There are a lot of things we like about the apartment, but I would say first and foremost, the light. Our old apartment was on the first floor in the back of the building and got zero natural light. Natural light really changes the game.
I don’t love the kitchen cabinets. I’d like to paint them a soft gray, but I’m afraid it might end up being a bigger project than I really want to take on.
What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
There is a strong sense of community here which is what really drew us to the area. Especially in our building, everyone is really friendly and says hi in the elevator and hall. We did not have that at our old place.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would say it’s colorful and eclectic. We love mid-century modern, but we also like to mix in odd vintage pieces. We love to shop in thrift stores.
What has been the biggest challenge about styling the apartment?
I was initially concerned about the column in the center of the living/dining room, but it has ended up being a nice anchor. Bike storage has proven difficult, as our building doesn’t offer any. Also keeping the furniture cat hair-free.
About how long did it take to get the apartment to look “complete”? What did the process look like for you?
It took us about a year to feel like the apartment was how we wanted it to be. Our previous apartment was much smaller so we had to buy a lot of furniture, almost all of which is used. This took a lot of time because we were really looking for specific things at a specific price.
Do you have a funny story to tell about the space?
It’s not really a funny story but we had to build covers for all of the radiators in the apartment because our cat Chip likes to stick his head inside them. Now that he’s bigger he just pulls them away from the wall, so it’s a challenge trying to keep him out of there.
Any tips for someone who’s new to apartment decoration and furnishing?
If you can, take your time and try and find the right thing at a price you’re comfortable with. Something will always come up, and you’ll end up being really sure about what you want and not having to redo a design decision later on. We initially wanted a chair in the bedroom, but couldn’t really find one we loved, and ended up deciding a hutch was a better choice. I’m so happy now that we have the extra storage instead of essentially just another place to pile stuff.
What does your dream apartment look like?
I would have to say not unlike our apartment now. I would however love access to outdoor space.
What’s one thing should every apartment have?
Definitely artwork on the walls. And keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores, you can find some really weird and interesting art.
Is there anything we missed that you’d like to add?
One of our favorite used furniture stores is Furnish Green in Herald Square. You can find amazing deals.
Enjoy Abigail and Henri’s apartment tour below!