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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