My 1,000sqft: Tour a Newly Transplanted Couple’s Bushwick Apartment Filled With Craigslist Finds
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends, family and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the Bushwick apartment of Adam and Cami, a couple who spent the last few years living minimally abroad. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
Most of us moved to New York City with nothing more than a couple suitcases, only very slowly accumulating objects to fill our bedroom—definitely not thinking about tackling our living spaces. But here’s a couple that had no interest in sleeping on a mattress on a floor while they figured out how to decorate their home.
After spending several years in London and bouncing from friends’ places to sublets, Adam Dudd and Cami Raben (he’s a graphic designer and she works in hospitality consulting) moved into their Bushwick apartment wanting to create a home to call their own as soon as possible. While IKEA seems like the no-brainer quick-fix for those on a budget with any design sensibility, Adam and Cami weren’t interested in the mass-produced but instead wanted unique and quality pieces. So where did they turn without thousands of dollars to spend? Craigslist! Believe it or not, in just four months the pair managed to turn a blank slate into a perfectly outfitted apartment that’s both minimal and functional and full of color and character.
How did you two meet and how did you end up in New York together?
Adam: We met in London towards the end of 2008. Cami needed a break from living in New York City at the time, and switched her apartment with a couple in London who happened to live beneath me for three months. We met in passing one day and spent the rest of those three months falling in love.
Cami: Adam was very much in to art, design and music when we met in London. He showed me all of his favorite places and really swept me off my feet! We spent one very long year being long-distance, then I made the move to London. We lived there together until 2014, when I hauled Adam back overseas with me. I missed my family too much, and New York!
Why did you choose to live in Bushwick?
Cami: I had always lived in the East Village, but while I was living abroad almost all of my friends relocated to Brooklyn. When we first moved back here we had no sense of Brooklyn at all. The only place I had spent much time in was Williamsburg, which had become a COMPLETELY different animal.
Adam: We were limited to certain areas that we could afford based on the amount of space we wanted and Bushwick was highly recommended. We have some good friends out here who showed us around the neighborhood one day and it felt like a place we would enjoy living.
Cami: We also kind of chose Bushwick based on this apartment. After just one week of pounding pavement looking at places across Brooklyn, we knew this was the one. The fact that I could fit a full-sized dining table in the kitchen had my heart skipping! The neighborhood has been a huge bonus.
How would you describe your own design style and your partner’s? Do you ever clash?
Adam: I would describe my design style as minimal and functional, but with a fun twist. I like clean, simple things that are made well and unusual. Cami has a more maximalist, decorative and crafty style. She loves French Nouveau, Art Deco, Mexican folk art… And yes we do clash—often! But we always work it out. If one of us feels very strongly about something then we find a way to incorporate it.
Cami: It’s true, I am attracted to anything inherently foreign or expressive of other cultures—which might explain my British husband! I like bright colors and am always working on some kind of art project. But I do try to keep it clean and simple. Neither of us can handle clutter, so we tend to display only the things that make us happiest to look at. Adam has a great sense of style and strong ideas about what he does or doesn’t care for. He is great at reigning us both in!
You’ve only been in your apartment for a few months but your place looks well settled into—what tips do you have for people still trying to fill out their space?
Adam: We turned the apartment around so quickly because we’d been moving around a lot and were eager to settle down. Before we moved in here, we put all of our things in storage and spent three months staying between friends’ places and a long string of short-term sublets.
Cami: We had been planning our move from London to New York for a long time, so we’d purposefully pared down our belongings. We moved in to this space without one piece of furniture.
Adam: I think because we’d been living in a kind of transient limbo for so long, we were excited to build a “home” for ourselves ASAP. Plus we had the added catalyst of Cami’s parents coming to visit over the holidays and wanted to show them a place we were proud of.
Anyway, tips on pulling an apartment together quickly: Build a functional, comfortable, low-cost space first and then upgrade to more special pieces as and when you find them. Don’t wait a long time to find that “perfect” piece and have nothing until you do.
Cami: Also, be willing to spend A LOT of time sifting through Craigslist and sites like AptDeco. This was how I spent many, many hours…
Adam: So basically, patience. There really are a lot of unique pieces out there though. And a lot of interesting people who are selling them!
What are some of your favorite features in the apartment?
Adam: We love our apartment. We love the two exposed brick fireplaces, high ceilings and cherrywood detailing throughout. Hands down, our favorite space is the kitchen. Cami loves to cook and I love to eat! It’s by far where we spend most of our time. We also love our huge bedroom and especially the relaxing reading corner we put in next to the window.
Cami: Yes, and the abundance of light we get from the windows at both ends of the apartment is really special. It makes me endlessly happy that we have enough light to keep plants alive and thriving. Being on the top floor is special to me as well. I loved looking out over the street throughout winter whenever there was snowfall.
Adam: In terms of objects that are important to us, it’s mostly our books, records and artwork. They’re the few things we did ship over from the U.K.
Cami: I’ve been hauling my records and books around with me everywhere I’ve moved throughout the years. They will always be my favorite things in any home we have.
What are some of your favorite places in the neighborhood? Any gripes?
Adam: In terms of our favorite places in the neighborhood, we’re spoilt for choice. We have so many great places, so close by. We love both Miles and The Bodega for an after-work drink and a cheeseboard. We also love catching happy hour at Mominette, sitting at the bar, sharing wine and oysters. And the same at Archie’s except with beer and pizza.
Cami: In terms of bars, we hang out at Birdy’s the most. It’s our favorite local, no contest. I also like hanging out with a drink at Pearl’s Social & Billy Club, any time of day. Our latest restaurant discovery is Amaranto, which is super fresh, modern and inventive Mexican food. Dear Bushwick is another special place that is very close by.
I tend to cook almost every day, so having a grocery store on our corner is probably what I love the most about our exact location. We also have Maria Hernandez Park right across the street, which we can already tell is going to be bursting with locals come spring and summer.
Adam: Yes, and the diversity of our neighborhood and the sense of community around here is incredible. Everyone is friendly and seemingly content to live together in one big melting pot.
Cami: You can’t get more “New York” than that! I don’t think we’d change a thing.
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