A Harlem Apartment Where Neutral Doesn’t Mean Boring

As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the Harlem home of Kellie Brown, an influencer and branding consultant. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about.


Kellie Brown

Neighborhood, # of rooms:

Sugar Hill, Harlem, two bedrooms

What do you do?

Influencer/Branding Consultant

How long have you lived here?

Five years

Who do you live with, animals included?

Just my plants and me

What do you like about the neighborhood?

It’s lively and colorful but removed from the intensity that is downtown Manhattan. The subway is at the end of my block, and there are loads of amazing restaurants and bars in the area.

What’s the best thing about your home?

Space! I love the high ceilings and large-ish rooms (large for Manhattan).

Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like?

I work from home or on-the-go. I have a separate office, which has been redesigned about five times. For some reason I never want to sit in there. I love working from my living room. I go back and forth from the sofa to the dining table. When that gets old, I head out to a coffee shop.

What did you think about when decorating?

I wanted a clean but inspired space. I film many of my YouTube videos at home, so a white background with pops of color works best.

What was the process like?

I love to decorate and I’m guilty of a few redesigns in the time I’ve lived here, but this one feels right. I think about function (what purpose does the space need to serve?) and how I want to feel in it (relaxed, energized, etc.).

Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating? What was it and where did you get it from?

Minimal but eclectic! I wanted a living space that was both serene and aesthetically pleasing. I tend to see things in full picture, whether it’s an outfit or a room, so I have a clear idea in mind, and I build and edit from there.

What are your favorite home “scores” and where are they from?

My favorite is my bed, which I found at One Kings Lane. My Boll & Branch bedding is the stuff dreams are made of (literally), and I’m also obsessed with my vintage dining chairs that I found on the OfferUp app. I made my best friend drive me to New Jersey to pick them up. All four for $30!

For someone young and trying to nest, what are your top three tips when it comes to finding items for the home?

Don’t rush. No one finds everything for their home in one day. Don’t rely on big box stores. Look for meaningful and thoughtful pieces. If you’re unsure of your aesthetic, get inspired: Pinterest, decor magazines, Instagram, etc.

What are your favorite home decor stores?

I love the hunt, so vintage stores and flea markets when I travel are my favorite way to shop, but hey, I love West Elm, Home Goods and Target like the rest of the planet. Online shopping is also fantastic. I also like browsing secondhand apps or super niche indie stores like Coming Soon in New York.

Most unexpected place to find great things for the home?

Museum gift shops. I always end up wanting to spend as much time in the gift shop as I did in the exhibit.

Where’s your favorite place online to look for apartment inspiration?

I really like Apartment Therapy. I also love looking at boutique hotels around the world via Instagram.

What’s the one thing every home should have?

Ha! A toilet? But also great light fixtures. I’m always looking up.

Photos by Genevieve L. Garruppo; Follow Genevieve on Instagram @garruppo. Kellie is wearing a Premme dress.


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  • GORGEOUS space.

  • Kattigans

    Her and I have a very similar colored bedspread so I already approve. This is so my style!

  • Aleda Johnson

    MUSEUM GIFT SHOPS! I never realized how genius this is.

    • Kiks

      Most of my fave decor pieces are from museum gift shops! A marble mortar & pestle (I’m a pharmacist) from the natural history museum in London that my husband bought me when we were dating…a tree sculpture made of polished amethysts from my hometown…framed prints from Versailles (husband again) and from the Victoria National Gallery in Melbourne.
      Seriously, it’s the best way to avoid having a generic home and every day when I see those things it reminds me of my adventures 🙂

  • This seems like such a chill and relaxing space! I love it.

  • YES to the museum gift shops! I almost want to go in the gift shops before I walk around the museum. Also, I must know where that clear trunk that perfectly houses your record collection is from. I literally googled “acrylic trunk for records” and came across a CB2 one for $500? Is that it????

  • Loooove this and also love that she’s wearing Premme!!

  • Grace

    wow dream home

  • Isabel

    This lady and her home are both so fab! The dress is lush

  • Kat

    Totally agree about stupid coffee tables – shin attackers and dust collectors! Small portable side tables ftw.
    Beautiful home! Loving the relaxed and airy vibe. The dress steals the show though…

  • tuberoseandvetiver

    I feel like most of the apartments featured on here are just very… white. I love it just as much as the next person, but it would be interesting to see something different.

    MoMA has the best gift shop btw. It’s hard not to spend money there.

    • Teresa

      Keep in mind that often landlords don’t let you paint your walls and they have to stay white!

  • claire

    museum gift shops! yes! i ALWAYS love browsing for fun things to decorate my apartment post-exhibit. some of my faves include fun coffee mugs and kids toys like dinosaurs!

  • Cristina


  • gracesface

    Where is the horse print over your couch from? I love it.

  • Paula Rodio

    That bedroom is gorgeous!

  • Beautiful!

  • doublecurl

    this woman and her apartment are fab but HOW does she get by with neither a coffee table nor a kitchen table??

    • eizhowa

      She has a small dining table in her living room.

  • harlem is one of the best neighborhoods in manhattan!
    malinda knowles

  • Selena Delgado

    I brought a vintage-looking black and white map of Versailles from their gift shop several years ago and my guests absolutely love it. Museum gift shops, fleas, Dobbin St. Co-Op, FishEddy’s, stoop sales are good ways to go.

  • Biljana

    Amazing place!!! I love all your curtains, including the bathroom one. In my opinion, their neutralness/wispiness lets everything else shine even more. Museum gift shops are the place to shop, especially those at museums of modern art!

  • Kimberley Boehm

    Beautiful woman in a beautiful dress and living in a beautiful apartment.

  • TinySoprano

    I know this is an apartment post but her yellow dress is the best thing ever.

  • Cookie

    I need every print in that place!!

  • Ciccollina

    Chic af.

  • Now feel like I’ve made a very poor choice in not building my life out of wicker and sheepskin.
    La Femme | Unofficially the best lifestyle blog ever

  • Amelia

    I love literally everything about this.

    Also: Houzz.com is an amazing resource.

  • It’s gorgeous! I’ve always admired Kellie’s home in her videos, excited to see a few more photos of the design elements.

  • Bananadrama

    NICE. I also like neutrals and I think working from home has a lot to do with that, too. (And I work in the living room, also.)

  • Meganh007

    I love love love this apartment. I am not big on the coffee table thing either. Why should we conform?

  • Love her place so much! Like you said, is neutrallbut not boring, not that generic instagram think!

  • Emily Michaelis

    thank you Harling!!