Step Inside A 1stdibs Editor's "Normcore" Home

Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Midcentury design has developed an aura of rarity over the last five years, evolving from beloved American design epoch to the defining aesthetic of the blogosphere. Whit and Becca Bull live firmly outside the world of design blogs and Instagram lifestyle porn, despite the fact that their home seems tailor-made for some serious social media love.

That's because the couple, who married in 2011, have the design gods on their side: Whit's grandfather is the iconic midcentury Danish designer Jens Risom, and much of their now classic furniture was passed down through the family. "Luckily we both love it, but it’s not hard to love. It’s very sexy furniture," says Becca. But, the couple's Park Slope home is by no means an austere shrine to a specific movement.

Situated in an 1880s brownstone building, the Bulls' recently redone condo was a fortuitous find. They'd seen the space for all of 10 minutes before putting in their bid, which eventually won out with a little help from good old-fashioned neighborliness — almost unheard of in New York real estate. 

“It’s a fevered process to begin with,” says Whit, a director for a mid-sized investment firm, of the horrors of apartment hunting in the city. “The broker got like 15 bids, so we quickly had to come back with the best and final offer.”

Becca, the Senior Editor at 1stdibs, an online antiques marketplace, used her unique position as leverage in the fight for the apartment. How? The couple wrote a letter to the sellers. "Given the job that I do, I could appreciate all the work she’d done [renovating] the space. [I knew] this furniture we’d inherited would finally get the home it deserved. It was very genuine."

The couple's earnest appeal paid off, and they're now perfectly situated in their new home — and expecting their first child. Click through to find out more about their new neighborhood, planning for a family, and living with furniture history.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
"A lot of people have walked into our place now and said, Where did all of this furniture come from?’" says Becca. "We’re like, we’ve had it for the past seven years! You just never noticed it because it looks so much better here."

Chair, sofa, table, and side table, Jens Risom at 1stDibs; rug, Darya Rugs.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
"I kind of joke that it’s very, like, normcore," says Becca of the couple's new neighborhood. "We go to these restaurants and there’s no wait. We go to the bagel shop and it doesn’t have the best bagels in the city, it just has normal bagels...they’re not from Montreal."

Whit agrees, "There’s an element of calm. I guess you’re trading some sort of cultural appeal for mellowness. It’s incredibly relaxed and we appreciate that.”
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Richard Avedon's In The American West peeks out from a covetable Jens Risom magazine table.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The painting atop the fireplace is by the South Korean artist Jae-heon Lee, from Shin Gallery on the Lower East Side.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The apartment was expertly remodeled by its former owners, one of whom was an interior designer, and came with built-in bookcases the couple was worried they wouldn't be able to fill up. (They eventually did.)
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
During the shoot, Whit played English punk band The Television Personalities and jazz.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
"I consider myself probably too laid back," admits Whit, "[but] if I see someone put a drink down on a wooden table...I do find myself being yanked into that vortex of anxiety!"

With a child on the way, "You have to get rid of that [feeling]," says Becca. "You get a drink ring on your table and life goes on. It’s going to be hard though. Are we going to have to put bumper corners on the coffee table?"

Pendant cluster, Peter Bowles for Original BTC.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The drawings above the bar are by Whit's great-grandfather, Sven Risom, who worked as an architect in Copenhagen at the turn of the century.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The fully renovated kitchen is another unexpected bonus in this 1880s brownstone.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
"I was always interested in furniture," says Becca, who cites her editorial experience at 1stdibs as crucial to her education on the subject. "I grew up in a really old house and I like old things in general...really good furniture never goes out of style." Of the staple pieces in the couple's bedroom, only the bed is new — from West Elm.

"Both of us [put a lot] of our disposable income to furniture because it matters a lot," adds Whit. "I think a lot of people discount that. Really long-lasting furniture should be celebrated."
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The master bedroom is painted Benjamin Moore's Mt. Rainier Gray in homage to Becca's hometown, Seattle. The Josef Frank pillow is from Etsy.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
The blue Eero Saarinen chair was Whit's graduation gift.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
A picture of Whit with his grandfather, the designer Jens Risom. "Becca found these old Risom ads online and one of them says, 'The conversation on form versus function can be settled in one sitting,' and the picture is of him sitting on one of his couches. But, I think that’s [his message]. Things should be comfortable and simple — and they should work."
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