We are always interested in discovering the living spaces of the designers we work with. Curious to see the apartment of one of our favorite creative couples, Jessica Barensfeld and Simon Howell, we paid a visit to their bright, airy, and art-filled loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Photos by Emily Johnston
Jessica is a jewelry designer and Simon's background is in photography. Together, they have also started Lynn & Lawrence, a collaborative line of hand-knit alpaca and wool hats hand-knit in Yorkshire, England by a team of knitters headed up by Simon's mom
Both Barensfeld's jewelry and Lynn & Lawrence's hats are available at Space Ninety 8 in Williamsburg.
Jessica moved into the apartment first, in 2006, living with a friend from RISD. "So many people have lived here," she explains. "So many parties have happened here, so many trash cans have been owned here!"
Originally the bottom floor was one big open space — "It used to be very raw and totally open," she says. "It was crazy, we used to throw knives at the wall and spray paint, we would never lock our door and some crazy kid walked in and drew all over the walls once."
When Jessica and Simon started dating and took over the apartment lease, they got serious about transforming the open warehouse into the warm and comfortable living space it is today by breaking up the open floorplan, painting everything a crisp white, and bringing in color from art and plenty of plants. As Simon puts it, "We became the apartment's parents. We all grew up."
In the back of the apartment, Simon constructed a space that they now use as a shared office and studio. They kept the living area totally open, which makes it feel like a courtyard that the other rooms are centered around.
Surfboard storage going up the stairs — together, Jessica and Simon own five surfboards: "a Fineline Avenger 9'2", Alex Knost Twin Keel 5'5", Fineline Egg 8', 9'2" Walden epoxy beater, and Annabelle, an old fixer upper who is basically art against the wall," Jessica explains.
A lofted library on the second floor, which they use for reading, drawing, painting, and getting away from the computer.
A friend gave Jessica and Simon the giant paper bulb lanterns that hang from the ceiling. "At night they look like two big moons and once a month the real moon shines through the window and we have 3 full moons," Jessica says. "It's a pretty picture."
Kooks the cat chilling on the bed.
A good afternoon always involves stopping for a cup of tea — especially at the wooden farm table Jessica built!