The Most Perfect "Undecorated" Home In Brooklyn

This post was previously published on August 13.
Boutique owner Lauren Snyder's dreamy Fort Greene apartment has that certain je ne sais quoi. Her space is at once minimalist, cozy, and bright, and it all manages to work in harmony. As curator of the beloved Boerum Hill shop The Primary Essentials, she has an expert eye for unique pieces (especially ceramics) that really pull a space together.
But, it didn't all come together over night like an HGTV special. Curation takes time. Having lived in the building for 10 years, Synder's done her share of editing and DIY remodeling and the result looks effortless. Yes, we were taking notes. Ahead, a home tour that will leave you swooning. And, of course, all the decor tips we could steal.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
How did you come about opening your own home-goods store?
"I had always really wanted to open a shop and knew that it would be a really good combination of my skill sets. One day, I just decided to take the leap. I love sourcing all of the items but also enjoy taking care of the accounting and running the business side. I studied interior design in college and worked in fashion after — my shop is a weird combination of the two."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
You've lived in this building for 10 years (which is impressive for NY). What are some of the updates and remodeling you've done?
"My boyfriend built me bookshelves for Christmas one year, which was an amazing gift. He also happens to be an architect, so we designed and built our own kitchen a few years ago. We put in new cabinets, wood floors, and a good friend of ours built and designed the glass open shelves."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Rethink Your Knife Storage
This method is a refreshing departure from the typical above-the-stove placement.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Who are some ceramic designers you're admiring these days?
"I love all of the ceramicists who I work with. Suzanne Sullivan, Cody Hoyt, Helen Levi, Clair Catillaz of Clam Lab, Romy Northover of No., Jennie Jieun Lee, and Nicholas Newcomb are just a few..."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Try A White Frame
The effect here just wouldn't be the same if the artwork had a black frame. If you're blessed with superb natural light, opt for a stark contrast between the walls and the furniture.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
A Shibori tablecloth takes a rest in the living room.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Oddly Space Your Artwork
Instead of centering one big piece of art between the two natural-wood bookcases, Snyder played with size and height for a more interesting look.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Your store is a wonderful destination for gifts. What should we buy for a great housewarming, birthday, and "I'm sorry" gift?
"To me, TPE really is a gift shop. For housewarming presents, I recommend a ceramic planter and adding a succulent to it. Also a nice set of napkins, a bunch of great smelling things for a new home — a smudge stick, palo santo wood (with a ceramic dish for it), and a candle. For birthday gifts, jewelry is always a great item. And, for 'I'm sorry' go for something that will make them smile, like a Fredericks & Mae Technicolor tassel."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Use A Whole Credenza To Display Alcohol
Forget the tiny bar cart. Who are we kidding anyway? We love that Lauren arranges rows of bottles by height.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Let One Item Stand Alone
Artwork like this axe demands attention. By itself it creates a chilling vignette on the white wall.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Put An Arrow Above It
Because "put a bird on it" was over eons ago. The combination of framed artwork with tiny Polaroids hung with tape works so perfectly here.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Meet Otis, the ever-smiling star of the shoot.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Place Bowls Of Incense All Around
A subtle, but powerful touch giving an earthy vibe throughout the house.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Cluster Plants On The Ground
Create a mini forest with various potted green things near a window.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
As a shop owner, you must talk to a lot of people who are setting up a home. What dilemmas do you hear over and over again?
"Finding a tablecloth for a circular table! That's always a tough one that I'm trying to help with. Also, it's tough finding art for the wall. The Hopewell Workshop designs we sell have become a great wall hanging for lots of people. Lastly, Doug Johnston's baskets have solved a lot of nesting dilemmas — they're such great organizers.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Don't Fear Mixing Styles
Here in the bedroom, the chandelier is antique, the picture is modern, and the side tables are retro — proving genres can mix if they're simple.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
You'd never hear us complain about walking upstairs in this apartment.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Make A Mirrored Table Top
Even if you can't find gorgeous retro mirrored side tables like Lauren's, adding a reflective glass mirror on a wood table will make beauty essentials come alive.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
You don't see many bathrooms on home-decor sites. The reason? They're not usually cute. Pattern plays a key role here, from the vanity to the subway tile to the shower curtain.
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Do you think there are any decorating rules to always follow?
"A home is really a sacred place, so you should really decorate however makes you feel calm, happy, and inspired when at home."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Do you have any personal home rituals?
"Taking time out to make a proper breakfast is something my boyfriend and I have tried to do more. I also have my seat, and he has his at the dinner table."