When we last introduced Porter Hovey, she was sharing a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her sister Hollister. They didn’t expect to live together forever, but the rent wasn’t bad, they got along well, and the loft was spacious enough for two. So they lived happily as roommates for 16 years. But in the summer of 2021, Porter stumbled across her 666-square-foot studio in downtown Brooklyn and decided to move her out. Here, she talks about the power of her immersive paintings, how to find gems at auction, and her first time living alone…
paint: Benjamin Moore’s Mexican Tiles. Lamp: SeraxMarble Console: Purchased at auction. Candlestick: Perla BaltieraPainting: Bought at auction, by Lauren Lindsay. Chair: Purchased at auction.
When finding an apartment: Hollister and I have a staging and interior styling business. hobby designHired to get this downtown Brooklyn apartment ready for sale. Oh my god, this studio is adorable, the layout is great, the location is perfect and you know we did such a cute job to give you a pat on the backI usually go in and out, but I couldn’t let go of this. I finally made an offer and here I am now.
paint: Benjamin Moore’s Mexican TilesArt on the sofa: hollister hobby. Sofa: TRNK. Pillow: May Evelyne InteriorCoffee table: Purchased at auction. White vase on the coffee table: Perla BaltieraBlack Planter: Ponty Planter, HD Buttercup. Desk lamp: Ratio Table Lamp by Kelly Behan for Hudson Valley LightingLounge chair: Percival Lafer, 1960s, purchased at auction. Floor lamp: 101 Copenhagen. Rugs: Benio line, ABC Carpet & Home.
About leftovers: When I moved in, Hollister kept all the furniture we had in our mezzanine apartment. In my studio, it was like, “Let’s do something completely new!” I felt like I was back in college. I bought a coffee pot, coffee grinder and bedding. As a studio, every decision had to be considered especially carefully. We lived a kind of maximalist life, so switching things up was exciting.
Statement light: The chandelier was my first purchase after the offer was accepted. Lighting sets the mood for the entire space. There’s nothing worse than walking into a house with sterile LED lighting and feeling like you’re in a hospital. It’s about being able to make a splurge decision without having to worry about buying two beds or eight dining chairs.
Coffee table: Purchased at auction. Ceramic container: ARC objectHead Sculpture: Doug Rochelle. Black Ceramic Piece: Casa Alfarera.
About souvenir shopping: Our mom always made it a point to buy something special when we travel. Usually that means the work of local artisans.Much of the pottery in my apartment is from Mexico City and we found some insanely beautiful Casa Alfarera Studio at Santo Domingo on Instagram. I have some of their favorite pieces on my coffee table. I hope to one day own one of their amazingly large and spiky planters and table lamps.
paint: Benjamin Moore’s Mexican TilesArt above the bed: hollister hobby.Bedding: bed thread. black vase: 101 CopenhagenCandelabra: MT object. Overhead Pendant: Las Animas. Dining table: urban outfittersDining chairs: Poul Hermann Poulsen from Gangso Mobler, purchased at auction.
Regarding paint selection: When you stage an apartment, 95% of the time you tell the homeowner to paint everything white. To sell a space, people need to be able to step into a blank slate and imagine themselves living there. My studio was the perfect opportunity to do something different. Talked about green, but I kept coming back to pink. i love benjamin moore Their prices are fair and they make really great paints.It’s nice to see how the colors look at different times of the day and on different walls.All the places I put samples I liked, that’s the one! It’s called mexican tile.
About Immersive Painting: Walls, ceilings, pipes, corridors, cupboards, all pink. Never an accent wall! The end result feels cohesive and warm. It’s like entering the womb. The apartment gets very nice light and just glows at sunset.
Art above the bed: hollister hobbyCandelabra: human home“The LA company that makes the coolest plug-in (and hardwired) candelabra”.
Regarding bed placement: There was an interesting wall ridge in the corner, so I asked the person who painted the apartment to extend it further to the right to make room for a queen bed and nightstands. It can be difficult. It’s so intimate and a little weird to have your bed as soon as a guest walks in! By eliminating the headboard and choosing a darker color for the bedspread, we minimized the bedness of the bed, so it was a natural retreat.
lamp: SeraxMarble Console: Purchased at auction. Candlestick: Perla BaltieraPainting: Bought at auction, by Lauren Lindsay. Metal chair: Purchased at auction.
About Treasure Hunting at Auction: Our staging company sources a large number of works from auctions. It’s better for the environment if you don’t buy new. Plus, you might get some backstory and find some great deals. Our strategy is to avoid getting caught up in the bidding frenzy. Know your maximum bid before bidding begins and stick to it. Don’t forget the buyer’s premium. This could be 25% or 30% of the price added to the final bid. We primarily work with local auctions, so we don’t cover shipping costs from LA or Chicago. We will pick up the work by car. It’s this adventure that takes you to a small East Coast town you’ve never heard of.
Kindred spirits: painting of a woman at the front door [above] She’s from an auction and I’ve always loved her. like me!
Lounge Chairs: 1960s Jacaranda Lounge Chairs by Percival Lafer purchased at auction. chair pillow: May Evelyne Interior. Sofa pillows: May Evelyne Interiorseconds. A large white vase on a coffee table: Perla Baltierasmall size available at RW Guild” Ceramic vessel: ARC objectHead Sculpture: Doug Rochelle. Front Left Black Ceramic Piece: Casa AlfareraFloor lamp (gold disc): 101 Copenhagen. Kitchen cabinet hardware: cute pegs.
Raising the cozy factor: These large Brazilian lounge chairs were part of a staging collection and were rarely used. They’re a little beaten up, but that’s what gives them character. I wanted my studio to be very comfortable, so I added rich fabrics like leather, velvet, and linen.
Big pieces in small spaces: There is a complete misconception about small spaces and furniture sizes. Just because you have a small apartment doesn’t mean you need miniature furniture. My sofa is full size, the dining table (which doubles as my desk) is his 4 seater and the coffee table is huge. Instead of having a TV, putting a sofa behind a wall opens up the space in a nice way.I samsung serifEquipped with legs, you can overcome the hassle of arranging your room by hanging your TV on the wall. With a slight rotation, you can watch shows from your sofa or bed.
paint: Benjamin Moore’s Mexican Tiles. Kitchen cabinet hardware: cute pegs. Pitcher: creative cooperation.
About entertainment: Hollister and I were in our twenties when we first moved into our loft in Williamsburg. Host a large party of 100 people. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work! Due to Covid, I now prefer to entertain in a more casual way. It’s so nice to have a few girlfriends come over to drink wine, chat and listen to music.
To reduce: I cut my wardrobe and beauty products a lot to move into the studio.I created a tight uniform and regimen. Fewer things often means fewer decisions to make. I’m not a big organiser, so this lean lifestyle makes it easier to keep everything in place and actually makes my apartment look exactly the way I want it to.
Lag: Everyone. Wall color: benjamin moore pumice stone.
About contrast: My studio is pink, but it doesn’t feel very feminine. I like the contrast between soft and hard, masculine and feminine.Whenever I do staging, I always add a few plants before I am done. In my bathroom I have coconut clusters from caribbean cut Located on 28th Street. They have incredible island foliage that looks so sculptural.
paint: Benjamin Moore’s Mexican Tiles. Rugs: webber barcustom sizes, “Etsy is a great source for rugs, especially.” Baldwin.
About living alone for the first time: Hollister and I lived together in a loft longer than we were kids. (I remember changing all the pictures of the family home to mine when she went off to college!) It’s probably strange for most people to live alone after so many years. But it didn’t feel like a major adjustment. Hollister and I started communicating frequently and still work together. We would wake up at 5am most days and when we lived together she would always make us coffee and get ready for our morning meetings. Now she picks me up at Dunkin’ Donuts and we discuss our daily plans in the car. I have some paintings of her in my apartment as well. When she showed me one for the couch, Hollister said: What do you think? do you like this Are there any changes? i loved it.
Thank you for taking the tour. porter! you can follow her Instagramif you please.
PS More house tours and genius Halloween costumes from Porter and Hollister.
(Photo courtesy: Alpha Smoot for Cup of Joe)