This French Couple’s Brooklyn Apartment is Vintage Haven
Maud Passini makes cool and affordable Art that we absolutely adore. One look at her Instagram, you can’t help but fall in love with not just what she makes but also with her home, which she shares with her husband Nicolas and her tuxedo cat named Utah!
We chatted with her on how to style a small apartment and here is what she had to say.
On Compromising: Nicolas and I collaborate to choose everything together. We usually don’t buy anything if we don’t both LOVE it. He is a finance director for a marketing and communication agency and has some great ideas when it comes to design. The quilt in the living room is from Caroline Z Hurley; we hung it on a copper pipe from home depot! It was Nico’s idea, and I love it. He’s more willing to choose statement pieces while I’m quite risk-averse, we balance each other well! I also sewed the curtains, and then we block printed them. Very homemade 🙂
On Budget: Let’s face it, the first thing we ask ourselves while taking up a design project is, how much should I budget?
Maud says, “To keep things affordable, I’m in the mindset of taking my time to furnish the whole apartment. It doesn’t have to happen all in one day. I stay away from expensive, trendy stores and would rather invest in a more sustainable vintage piece that I’ll love for a long time. We try to go to big warehouses for vintage finds rather than small stores in Brooklyn that tend to be overpriced. DIY can help too!
On Splurging – What’s your investment piece? I would say the sofa was quite an investment for us at the time, but it’s really nice. We recently refurbished it to keep it looking fresh instead of getting something new, and we love it.
On Finding a Design Style: Most of what we have, from furniture to cutlery is vintage, found in antique stores in Upstate NY and Brooklyn. A lot of our furniture is quite minimalist and mid-century.
We love natural, simple materials, like wood, linen, and metal. Consciously, we try to only bring into our home things that make us feel peaceful and are beautiful to look at.
On European Influence: We’re both French, I’m from Paris, and he’s from Orleans. I guess our European heritage did influence us, in that we like simple, old-feeling things? My parents were super into home decor, too, so I got inspired by them scouring antique stores together all the time. I thought that it was boring, but now I love it. 🙂
On furnishing, keeping our furry friends in mind: We cover the sofa with a nice plaid at all times, other than that we don’t really have furniture that’s attractive to cats. (It’s okay if there are a few scratches, she’s worth it!) We did buy a nice-looking litter box, though.
On Finding Art: . I’m a designer, so not quite an artist but I have a lot of opinions about Art! I can’t have just anything hung up on my walls. I got pieces of Art from my mother (her website), a portrait that my brother made, a vintage nautical chart of the New York harbor gifted by my uncle, and two LOVE prints by Yves Saint Laurent gifted by my dearest friend. My husband also painted a monochromatic green canvas that I love. So simple, and so us. We also have some prints from my shop. Only things that we love and have meaning to us.
On Taking Time to Design:
We wanted to take our time to furnish the apartment thoughtfully, but it happened pretty quickly. We rented a van once we moved to Hudson, and the rental company only had big vans left, so we rented one. When we got to Hudson, we figured the city was FULL of antiques! (And we had an empty van and a full apartment to furnish) We then spent the weekend finding most pieces of furniture we needed. Everything, even the trash can, was chosen super thoughtfully.
On favorite places to find right décor and furniture: Hudson NY has so many great antique places. Porter James and Adaptations in Greenpoint are excellent too. Occasionally we’ll order on Etsy.
Finally, any tips for our readers? Figure out what you actually love. What makes you happy when you look at it? Ignore trends, or the shiny new stuff that looks cool in the store. Take your time to pick every single thing you’re going to bring home carefully. When in doubt, keep things simple and stick to natural materials.