Enter Zoe Cohen’s Brooklyn apartment, and you’ll find a curated collection of midcentury classics blended with contemporary quirk. After living in a Chinatown apartment with three roommates, the born-and-bred New Yorker needed space to breathe and—like most Manhattanites looking for more square footage—decamped to Brooklyn. Zoe’s new home in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood, which she has shared with her boyfriend Levi Shaw-Faber for the past year, gives her room to experiment with her own interior style in a way she wasn’t able to before. The result is a decidedly “not boring” mix of new and old, calm and fun.
Zoe, who spent five years running social media and influencer marketing at Marc Jacobs, now heads brand marketing for the ultra-cool underwear brand Parade, which is known for its brightly colored, sustainable fabrics. “I have super loud and colorful taste when it comes to fashion,” says Zoe, “so I intentionally wanted my home to feel a bit more calm and peaceful, with colorful elements.”
Levi, a master’s candidate at the Yale School of Architecture, introduced Zoe to midcentury and Scandinavian design, both of which she says blend well with her love of eclectic vintage. While the couple’s home includes quirky pieces throughout—like the face vessels she picked up at Coming Soon—Zoe thinks the living room is “the vibiest.” Indeed, it’s a room filled with storied pieces.
Take the sofa, which Zoe discovered at New Jersey–based vintage shop Tri-State Modern. The modular sectional wouldn’t fit in the couple’s small car, so they made multiple trips back and forth from Brooklyn. “When we finally carried the many pieces up the stairs, we put [them] in our living room, feeling especially pleased with ourselves, sat down, and immediately fell in between two of the ‘bread’ cushions that separated under us,” Zoe shares with a laugh. They’ve since connected the modular pieces together at the bottom, so sitting on the sofa is no longer hazardous. She adds, “It’s always a journey!”
The living room and dining space each boast prototypes of the couples’ latest joint venture: Wiggle Room. Born out of frustration with shopping for an affordable and interesting dining table for their own apartment, Zoe and Levi launched the furniture company, which offers “wiggly” made-to-order side, coffee, and dining tables. Crafted from Baltic birch with a laminate top in a variety of colorful pastels, Wiggle Room tables are professionally manufactured in Brooklyn, but the first prototype—a dining table with a strawberry pink top—was handmade by Levi in a woodshop. According to Wiggle Room’s website, that first model “took way too long and was a little wobbly, but it looked like nothing we’d seen before.”
In the couple’s living room, you’ll find Wiggle Room side tables in pistachio and lavender, as well as a prototype of a coffee table with a wood top, which is slated for release later this fall. Though Zoe and Levi didn’t expect to be working from home this year, one bright side of quarantine has been the time and focus to launch their new company. And we have to say, the design world is grateful.
Do It Yourself
Widen your search If you’re on the lookout for a specific vintage piece, Zoe suggests looking into unconventional shipping options so you can search outside of your immediate area. They found their dining chairs from a seller based in New Mexico, and Levi’s mom shipped them to New York via bus.
Fake it till you make it The charming ’50s-style checkerboard floor in Zoe’s kitchen is actually a DIY using vinyl stick-on tiles.
Find space for things you love If she sees something she loves, Zoe’s rule is to buy it and find a place for it in her home. “There have been so many times I’ve bought something for a certain spot and it just didn’t work,” she says. “If you’re collecting things you love, it will find a space.”
Shop It Out
Tower 3-tiered storage rack by Yamazaki Home, $160, westelm.com
Face vessel by Degen, $44, comingsoonnewyork.com
Botkyrka wall shelf by IKEA, $35, ikea.com
12-inch vinyl tile by Achim Home Furnishings, $14, amazon.com
Via Architectural Digest