Today, Laura Breneman, the Head Stylist at American Eagle Outfitters and owner of BU-KIN Booties, is showing us around her adorable abode in Brooklyn, New York. Laura is one of the sweetest, hospitable and generous, people I have met as she opened up her home to me and a friend this summer, taking us to sensational spots in the neighborhood. Stylist, designer, entrepreneur, wife and homemaker, I was stunned by her ability to do everything with such skill and passion. Her style feels well-curated and intentional, yet after observing how she creates... I think beauty just flows from her fingertips.
All photos by Emily Weaver.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I am originally from Lancaster PA… I now live in Brooklyn NY. I work in the Fashion industry in NYC previously a women's apparel designer, now Head of Styling at American Eagle Outfitters. I live here with my husband (also from Lancaster) and chihuahua, Apple. In my free time i like to cook and craft! I always have several projects going on at once.
How would you describe your decorating style?
NYC apartment living is tricky, apartments are very hard to get to come by so searching for the perfect apartment doesn't really exist .. you kind of need to jump on it if you think you might like it. So the apartment we have now is more spacious than we've ever had but on the flip side the bathroom hasn't been redone since the 50's and is floor to ceiling, tub, sink and toilet....PINK.
Since we have 12 foot ceilings, large windows and these interesting archways i wanted to keep everything light colored to make it feel more spacious. I stuck with white curtains, light colored couch and I keep my artwork pretty white based as well. Mark and I have different styles so we always try to blend what we like at first it was tricky but now I think we got the hang of it ha. We have a blend of mid century modern and heritage modern but if you keep all the colors in the same scheme it seems to work. I don't really have many accent colors in the house i try to stick with a narrowed down palate. When you live in a small place with out any real closets or storage there is always something that doesn't have a home (like our green vacuum that sits in the kitchen) so keeping a clean palate makes things like that not seem so bad.
What are some key elements that make a space feel like home to you?
We have a lot of family pieces that we really love. An old ceramic crock from Mark's family and a tobacco sizer on the wall from my Dad. We also have a collection of deer antlers from my family. My bedroom suit is from my Great Grandma and its a very dark dark intricate wood so I kept the colors in the bedroom all white and grey as well to keep it light. I also have some artwork framed that pieces of work done my my Grandmother and my Great Grandfather when they were children. We also have a TON of plants which Mark and I both enjoy... our main window in our family room looks out to a lush green garden (The area we live in is called Carroll Gardens and all the houses have large gardens in the back) and big trees so it makes it feel like we are bringing the outside in, which is refreshing when we both work in grey Manhattan.
Is there an area of your apartment that is you especially love?
There are two… Our couch is pretty comfortable and it is a perfect place to take an Saturday nap in the summer... the light comes in from the back garden and you can lay and listen to the birds outside and see all the greenery out the window it really doesn't feel like you are in the city.
Also, we don't have access to the garden below but we have a somewhat decent size fire escape so we put out ikea flooring and got a little table and chairs along with window boxes filled with plants hanging from the banisters. So even though you have to climb out our kitchen window its a perfect place to have breakfast or dinner and you are sitting up high in the trees looking out over all the lush gardens .. we really enjoy our "deck" in the summer.
What is some styling advice you would give to someone moving into an empty apartment?
Keep it simple at first, stay with a basic color palate… you can always change or add accents or decorating pieces as you go but your bones will be able to stay classic. We have had our main pieces of furniture in almost all of our apartments adding along as we go but when you find pieces that are quality and you love you can have them for a long time, but you can always switch up the rugs or change the pillows.
What are your favorite scents to have filling your home?
I'm obsessed with P.F. Candle Co's No. 11 Amber and Moss and in the winter every year i need my classic Ralph Lauren Holiday candle. Also this isn't really a "scent" but on cleaning day I clean my entire house with Fabuloso lavender scented cleaning spay and let me tell you… it is the freshest most beautiful cleaning solution you will ever come across… it actually makes me look forward to cleaning haha!
Where do you like to find pieces for your apartment?
We have an AMAZING furniture place here in Brooklyn called Horeseman antiques and its is about 5 floors of mid-century modern furniture jammed packed from floor to ceiling. More expensive pieces at the bottom and less expensive as you go up in floors. We also love antiquing and finding interesting places whenever we travel we love stopping along the road when we see antique signs , we are always searching for interesting pieces. We don't really have one place that we buy everything from again, if you keep your palate simple if gives you freedom of where you can find things!