PHOTOGRAPHY: Kenya Bravo
SUBJECT: Feifan Wang
NEIGHBORHOOD: Crown Heights
OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur & Photographer
Lived in Residence: 1 year
Number of Rooms: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Roommates: I live alone
Feifan Wang wanted an apartment to fit his personal aesthetic: equal parts clean and modern, with some industrial accents thrown into the equation. Creating a space that felt uniquely his was something Feifan was not sure he could do with the help of a friend, but in his case, an outsider’s perspective truly paid off. Feifan enlisted the expertise of friend and interior designer, Paula E. Guzman, to create a dreamy oasis above the hustle and bustle of Eastern Parkway. The process itself took nearly a year (and a trip to the Amish country!) but Feifan now has an apartment that feels like home.
What’s your favorite thing about your apartment?
The apartment is something I get to call my own, in a city and neighborhood that I love. It’s the first home I’ve ever owned and it took a lot of hard work to get here. The fact that I get to have complete control over my living situation is pretty special in of itself. Besides that, I love that it’s in a pre-war building with modern interiors and plenty of space for me to both live and work in.
My apartment faces an interior courtyard, which means no real view and lack of light for the majority of the day. Luckily the office room gets plenty of light throughout the day, which is where I spend the majority of my time.
What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
It’s pretty much the perfect neighborhood in my mind. It’s right on Eastern Parkway, next to Brooklyn institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Library, and Prospect Park.
How would you describe your personal style?
Clean and modern with a little industrial edge. This style works really well with my travel photography, which is displayed throughout the apartment. Surrounding myself with these photos reminds me of all the great memories I’ve made during my travels over the years.
What has been the biggest challenge about styling the apartment?
I was fortunate that one of my good friends is an amazing interior designer – Paula E. Guzman. She helped me early on in the process and I decided to trust her vision from day one. Having never worked with an interior designer before, I had to learn to let go and completely trust someone else’s vision. Living space is such a personal matter and it can be difficult at times to give up so much control. That being said, I love what Paula did with my apartment and feel that it’s a space I can truly call home.
About how long did it take to get the apartment to look “complete”? What did the process look like for you?
It took about 8 months to complete the apartment. Paula treated me like any other client, which meant scheduled design meetings every couple of weeks and shopping trips to try out the larger furniture pieces in-person. We also communicated often via email when it came time for placing orders and scheduling deliveries.
Do you have a funny story to tell about the space?
Paula had the idea to make a custom dining table and bench based on something she saw at a Japanese restaurant in SoHo. I loved the idea right away, and we even had dinner there to try the furniture together. She was able to get the furniture maker’s contact from the the restaurant owner, and worked with him to make the table and bench to our exact specifications. This eventually led to a road trip to Amish country in Lancaster, PA to retrieve the pieces and bring them back to Brooklyn. You never know where design will take you!
Any tips for someone who’s new to apartment decoration and furnishing?
My initial plan was to decorate the apartment myself. In hindsight, I’m so glad that I worked with Paula on the design. Working with her to put real intentions behind the design, and buying quality and beautiful furniture pieces, elevated my whole living experience. It inspired me to refine my identity as an adult and appreciate the beauty of a well designed living space.
What does your dream apartment look like?
My current place with a view and more light.
What’s one thing should every apartment have?
A piece of quality handmade furniture, and a spoon rest.