My 330sqft: A Greenpoint photographer does ‘grandpa cool’ in his earthy pad

Posted On Fri, March 23, 2018 By

Posted On Fri, March 23, 2018 By In Features, Greenpoint, Interiors, My SQFT House Tours

6sqft’s series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the Greenpoint apartment of photographer Brett Wood. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!

After studying photography in Massachusetts, Brett Wood moved to New York in 2001. At the time, all he knew is that he wanted to be close to the artists he admired, but nearly two decades later, he’s made a home for himself in Brooklyn and a career that sends him around the world. Though he’s usually capturing other New Yorkers’ home for 6sqft, Brett has now stepped out from the behind the lens to show off his own Greenpoint pad. A mix of earthy colors and textiles, eclectic finds from his travels, and an aesthetic that he endearingly describes as “cool grandad,” Brett’s home is certainly the making of someone with an eye for style.

The photographs are by Martin Parr.

“I like miniature things,” explains Brett. “I’ve got a small collection of miniature cowboy hats.

How did you get into photography?

I was always into art when I was a kid. I’d spend a lot of time in my room drawing. Later in high school, I learned how to process film and print and I was hooked. I’d spend most of my free periods in the dark room. I was lucky enough to have an art teacher who never really kept track of how much film or paper I was using.

What are your favorite things to photograph?

I love photographing people’s living spaces, crumbling buildings, and curious objects.

This is where Brett works from home. Underneath the Eames chair is a rug is from Marrakech. “It’s an intense experience haggling for rugs in Morocco,” he says. 

“I’m a sucker for anything cycling related,” says Brett. “I also love thumbing through old photos, especially when traveling and will buy anything with a bike in it.”

What brought you to NYC and specifically Greenpoint?

When I graduated from photography school I really wanted to shoot for magazines. Pretty much all the photographers who I was into were in New York so it was the obvious choice. Growing up in the country I fully expected to hate it. I had only been to New York twice before and really didn’t know it at all. After about a year I was surprised to realize that I really loved it. I’ve lived in Brooklyn the whole time I’ve been here. I moved around quite a bit for the first few years to try different neighborhoods. I learned that I loathe moving and every time I’d move the rent seemed to go up. I got kind of lucky with my place so I’m in no hurry to move.

Above the door frame is an old military battalion photo. To the right is an old Citroen poster from Paris.

The print to the left is by Naomi Sarah Clark; to the right is an old concert poster from a friend’s band. Brett’s mom made him the quilt. 

What is it about your place that you love?

One of my favorite things about the apartment is that when I lay down to go to sleep every night I have a great view of the Empire State building from my pillow. I like to look up what the colors represent online. It could be anything from world kidney day to Beyonce releasing a new album.

I also live right next door to my landlord, which I normally would consider a huge negative. I think I happen to have the nicest landlord in Brooklyn, though, and it’s like having a family member next door.

Favorite spots in the neighborhood?

The neighborhood is mostly industrial warehouses and is somewhat busy during the day but really quiet at night–unless a show at Brooklyn Steel just ended.

Crest Hardware is one of the most feel-good businesses around. McGolrick Park is one of my favorite places in the neighborhood to relax. It’s got some of the best trees in the city. The Drift is my preferred place to grab a beer. Ringolevio’s great for outdoor drinks in the summertime and Nha Minh is delicious.

A wooden textile stamp from India sits next to a shark model.

How would you describe your personal design style?

I think maybe something like a cool Grandad? I’m not super deliberate when it comes to my style so it always feels kind of accidental. I tend to travel quite a bit for work and for myself. I love picking up things from the places I go so they have memories attached to them. It all kind of comes together piecemeal though.

The coffee table is a vintage Danish piece. Brett bought the left pillow while in Marrakech; the far right pillow is from Hay and the smaller right pillow is from Christian Rathbone. The blanket is from Woolrich, the lamp from FontanaArte, the couch CB2, and the print is an old lottery poster Brett picked up in Paris.

Has photographing other apartments around NYC inspired you in your own place?

Absolutely. I get really inspired by seeing the way other people treat their spaces. I’ve definitely gone and found things on eBay that I’ve seen in people homes I’ve photographed. I even bought some pillows when I was shooting Christian Rathbone’s apartment-studio for 6sqft.

The kitchen chairs are a Craigslist find, and the table is a piece of Ikea countertop with hairpin legs that Brett attached to save some space. He made the lamp out of paper mache. The vase is from the MoMA Design Store, and the coat rack is an Eames hang-it-all.

Brett’s dad’s old arrowhead collection. “I always pick up old photos of girls on ponies when I see them,” he adds.

What project in your apartment are you most proud of?

My father gave me his collection of Native American arrowheads when I was too young to appreciate them. I lost track of them for a while but my mom came across them in her basement. I found a tramp art frame on eBay and mounted them in there. I like seeing them every day now.

“I love being able to hang pots and pans to get them out of the way,” says Brett. “Plus, I like the way it looks.”

Brett really likes the typography that Jade Schulz created (top left), along with some old mug shots on the bottom right.

How did you go about deciding on the wall colors?

I was always a fan of terra cotta pots so I started with that color in the kitchen. From there I chose a blue that would go with it for the trim. Because I sometimes photograph things in the living room and retouch at my desk in the bedroom I felt like I had to stay pretty neutral. I wanted the bedroom to feel sunny and upbeat, though, so I went with white and yellow trim.

Brett got the backgammon boards (center top) in Istanbul. On the top right are Eames House cards and the spikey balls on the bottom are by Laura Serman.

You seem to have a bit of a south-western theme–was this intentional?

A couple people have said this to me. While I do love most things southwestern, it wasn’t intentional. I think the only thing southwestern in my apartment is a wool blanket I have. My rugs I got when I was in Morocco but they almost pass as southwestern.

You also have a lot of plants. Any tips for those of us without a green thumb?

I really love having plants around. Because I travel so much, though, I can’t really keep most plants alive. I’m pretty much limited to cacti and succulents. My oldest cactus is about 16 years old. It’s looked like it’s about to die the entire time, so maybe I’m not the best person to get advice from. I love getting my cacti from the guy at the McCarren Park farmers market. He can tell you the Latin name of all of his cacti and how best to take care of them.

Favorite places to shop for home decor?

I like to buy used and vintage things when possible so I get a lot of things off of Craigslist or Ebay. I’m always checking out junk stores and flea markets when traveling. But also I always like checking in on whats at Home of the Brave, Adaptations, John Derian.

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All photos taken by Brett Wood exclusively for 6sqft. Photos are not to be reproduced without written permission from 6sqft.

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Neighborhoods : Greenpoint

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