Accomplishing what many art aficionados crave but rarely master, Kayla’s Brooklyn abode feels more like a lived-in gallery than an 800-square foot apartment. But don’t be fooled: Her home is not a place for snobbery. “There’s a no-shoes rule but that’s it,” a valid ask for living in a city as vibrant as New York. “You can create warmth and comfort and not sacrifice on great-looking art—the two are not mutually exclusive,” she comments on the approachable nature of the space. She credits her plants for providing such an inviting feel. Sitting comfortably in an array of self-watering pots rest 30-plus plants all contributing to the relaxed air encompassing the space.
So what’s next for the collection specialist? Creating furniture of her own. “I basically dumpster-dive and try and find something that’s on its last leg and then try and upcycle it by sculpting over it with papier-mâché and plaster and finishing it with acrylic paint and resin.” With each room representing a different stage in the researcher’s life, the decor is imbued with a deep sense of thoughtfulness and sustainability. “I think it’s healthy to be the temporary custodian of things, allowing them to go on and have a second life somewhere else,” she says. “We will never be the forever owners of any one thing.”
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“A terrific place to start collecting art online. Creative Growth is a nonprofit gallery and studio serving artists with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities.”
“Every Design Store purchase supports MoMA’s exhibitions and educational programs. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of purchases I’ve made here over the years.”
“Another great online museum store is the Neue Galerie Design Shop. They reissue stunning Wiener Werkstätte design objects, wallpaper, and other paper goods. Expensive, but impossible not to like.”
“The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum has already sold around 5,000 Akari light sculptures during the pandemic.”
“A new home goods concept store from Kai Avent-deLeon, the founder of my favorite neighborhood coffee shop: Sincerely, Tommy.”
“A Native-owned Etsy shop where I buy products like sweetgrass, sage, and palo santo. The owner, Sheyenne Tereshko (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) produces everything on her organic farm in Wisconsin. She includes a little gift and a handwritten note with each order—the type of small gesture that completely changes the course of your day.”