SUBJECT: Yegang Yoo
OCCUPATION: Handbag Designer
LIVED IN RESIDENCE: About 4 Years
NUMBER OF ROOMS: It’s an open layout, but we have french doors for the bedroom. We have a finished basement which is also basically one big open space.
ROOMMATES: A husband and a cat
What’s your favorite thing about your apartment?
The backyard, spacious bathroom and the beautiful gray hardwood flooring.
It’s a really old building, and the layout is a bit of a challenge to make it cozy.
What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
We’re at the northern tip of Greenpoint, which is basically right across the creek from Long Island City, Queens. I love being by the water (East River and the canal between Queens and Brooklyn). We’re so close to the city yet so much more laid back than Manhattan and the neighboring Williamsburg area. There are so many cute restaurants, bars, and store options, and fun music and dance venues. Greenpoint is not as low-key as it used to be, though, and it’s been changing fast since the huge waterfront developments started. However it is also really close to everything – we can explore the rest of Brooklyn on a bike or hop on the train or even the ferry. Also we can walk over the Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City and explore the huge borough of Queens!
How would you describe your personal style?
Minimal and masculine. I like to layer different colors and textures, and accent with statement earrings and more feminine shoes.
What has been the biggest challenge about styling the apartment?
I have a home studio area in the front side of the apartment and it’s been slowly taking up more and more space. Since there is no wall to divide the studio and the rest of the apartment, it has been challenging to visually separate the spaces. We also have a basement space under our apartment which we use as music studio and a nice movie-watching area. It works perfectly for our daily use and needs, but it’s a pretty unconventional layout.
About how long did it take to get the apartment to look “complete”? What did the process look like for you?
We’ve always been using the space for both living and working, so it’s constantly evolving. It’s a unique situation but it works. I think you just have to prioritize what you value more in your lifestyle and make the your space functional for your needs.
Do you have a funny story to tell about the space?
When we were renovating the space we found this small red budda made out of clay deep in one of the walls. We thought it must be very old, from how deep it was buried, and we joked about getting it evaluated and finding out it is worth millions! (We never did. It just sits on our shelf.)
Any tips for someone who’s new to apartment decoration and furnishing?
In cities like New York, space is often very limited – thinking about how you like to utilize most of your time in the apartment helps prioritize your activity and plan the space accordingly. For decorating and furnishing, researching and collecting inspiration images can help streamline your vision – even if you can’t make it happen all at once, you can slowly build on it as long as you have a clear plan.
What does your dream apartment look like?
My dream apartment looks very minimal with great lighting – big windows to let lots of sun in during the day, a few great lamps that create cozy lighting at night. It’s open, airy, and bright, with just the right amount of furniture that’s practical and harmonious to the space. I love hardwood floors and beautiful area rugs – and a great sound system and ceiling fans are a must! The focal point of the apartment is in and around a beautiful, spacious kitchen with a big eat-in table that is part of the cooking station – just a great place to have friends over and cook, eat, drink, listen to music, and play games. Also, a backyard garden for outdoor cooking and get-togethers.
What’s one thing should every apartment have?
Celing fans! They’re so helpful in warmer months and let you use less AC, which feels horrible and stale after too much use.