My 350sqft: A Modern Bachelor Opens Up His Creative and Clever Brooklyn Heights Studio
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 Brooklyn Heights. Want your home to be featured here? Get in touch!
When we typically think of bachelor pads, we imagine dark rooms, garbage bags full of empty beer cans, and heaping piles of clothes that aren’t discernibly clean or dirty. But today’s generation of single man is out to dispel the frat-guy stereotype. Take for example investor relations associate Owen Boyle, whose colorful Brooklyn Heights studio is perfectly curated and ridiculously organized. Though the first-floor pad on Pineapple Street is only 350 square feet, the mix of creative decor and clever design make for a home that is sure to entice any interior design-loving lady.
Owen worked with a good friend and designer to transform his first solo apartment into a funky mix of Jersey Shore nostalgia (where he grew up), Brooklyn hip (there’s a record player), and laid-back professionalism (see his impressive tie collection). He recently let us in his home, where everything from his shoehorn to the American flag has personal meaning.
Every piece on the gallery wall has personal meaning to Owen. He painted the Roy Lichtenstein replica in 4th grade. “It’s the only good piece of art I’ve ever done,” he said. One of his favorite bars near Georgetown (where he went to undergrad and ran cross country) was called Rhino’s, hence the rhino head. The gold frame on the bottom left holds a drawing of the Parker House, his favorite bar down the Shore. The Bruce Springsteen album cover “Greetings from Asbury Park” was his mom’s; the town of Asbury Park isn’t far from where Owen grew up. Real Estate is his favorite band.
What brought you to Brooklyn Heights?
My froommate (friend + roommate) had moved to San Francisco and the lease was up at our West Village apartment, which meant it was time to find new digs. I’d always heard good things about Brooklyn Heights and it’s close to the water, which I like because I grew up on the beach. The spaces I looked at all gave me better bang for my buck than staying in the West Village, so I decided to give the Heights a shot.
How do you feel the neighborhood compares to the West Village? Are there things you miss about Manhattan?
The neighborhood is lovely, as is the West Village. Brooklyn Heights has more of a suburban feel to it, despite being right across the water from lower Manhattan. Going over the bridge changes the atmosphere. Some of the stores, gyms and restaurants aren’t open as late, which is something I miss about being in Manhattan – the 24/7 nature of the city.
What are some of your favorite spots in the area?
While there are numerous fine dining spots (Sociale, Noodle Pudding, Colonie), my favorite meal is the L.I. burger from Long Island Bar on Atlantic Avenue. For my money, it’s the best cheeseburger in the five boroughs, especially when paired with a Long Island Gimlet. A few other neighborhood hotspots: karaoke at Montero’s; skee-ball at the Roebling Inn; and indoor bocce ball at Floyd. Last but not least, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the promenade are awesome.
Framed to the right of the bed is a piece by Geoffrey Raymond that’s part of his “Annotated Wall Street Paintings.” Raymond paints people on large canvases and then brings them to Wall Street where he lets the public write on them. This one was done during the financial crisis and is of Alan Greenspan. The cowboy hat is from a Western store on Bleecker Street in the Village.
Your good friend, artist and designer Julie Angelicola, helped you decorate the apartment. Tell us a little about that process. Did you give her free rein, or was it more of a collaborative process?
Julie works for Herman Miller and was born creative. She helped decorate my place in the West Village, which turned out great. The concept of the apartment is pastiche–drawing from various design and artistic elements. The process was collaborative, though Julie usually gets what she wants. There were a few things, such as the couch and the color of the wall, that I was initially skeptical of, but am happy with now. While I retained veto power, she’s generally spot on with her ideas and we have similar tastes. I already had a good amount of artwork, so the bulk of the work was apartment layout and picking up a few items to enhance the space. Adding texture, color, and incorporating the high ceilings were important goals.
The American flag hung outside Owen’s parents’ house until it needed to be replaced after Hurricane Sandy.
Above the desk is a poster for the movie “Chinatown.” Not only is it one of Owen’s favorites, but he loved the poster’s bright design. He thought this 1960s yellow desk lamp matched it perfectly. The shoehorn and the bowl are from a trip his parents took to Morocco.
Do you have any favorite spots to shop for furnishings and artwork?
I’m a big fan of Housing Works, both for its ever-changing selection and mission to end AIDS and homelessness. The two bird prints near the door are from there. Flea markets and other second-hand stores tend to have gems and are worth rummaging through.
Was it important to you to incorporate your Jersey Shore roots into the design scheme?
It was important, and I want to get more Jersey-related pieces. I’m proud to be from NJ and try to pay homage to the Garden State where I can.
We have to say, you’re a lot neater than the average bachelor. Have you always been this way?
I wish I had something witty to say here, but I don’t; I’ve always been neat and organized.
You have quite the record collection. How long have you been gathering them? Are they organized in a specific way?
Why thank you. I’ve been collecting records going on three years now. It’s funny because I bought my first records before I had a turntable. The unit I have now is my grandparents, which they got when they moved from North Jersey to Sea Girt [a small shore town]. It also has an 8-track and is older than I am. I have almost 200 records and they are organized by genre, era, and artist locale. One day, I’d love to have a wall filled with vinyl.
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or art?
It’s damn near impossible to pick one, so I’ll give you five in no particular order:
- Flower painting – Pat Grady, a dear old friend from home and current Brooklyn-based artist, made this and it’s simply lovely. It’s the anchor of the gallery wall. I heart flowers.
- Black and white sailboat photo – This was the first piece of art I purchased. It was taken in the Glimmer Glass [a creek that runs alongside the town], around the corner from my childhood home in Manasquan. It’s eerily beautiful. Also, Julie’s brother Anthony Angelicola made the wooden frame and got the burnt black color through a natural oxidation process that uses a vinegar/iron solution.
- Sandy self-titled cassette tape – My good friends’ band, Sandy, released their first recordings last year, and I got a shout out in the insert!
- Ram horns – These are cool and less common than deer antlers. They remind me of the Paul McCartney album “Ram,” which I’m quite fond of.
- Pineapple jar – My sister made this years ago, and it’s perfect for Pineapple Street!
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