Jewelry designer Martha Moore Porter creates colorful charms that make us smile, so it’s only natural her home has the same effect. The 870-square-foot apartment in Bed-Stuy, New York, falls under the new wave of minimalism-meets-maximalism. Subtle-but-strong pops of color come in through stools, rugs, textiles, and artwork—most of it original by Porter’s partner, Jason Sho Green, who has his own studio in Bushwick.
“I know I am colorful and attracted to color, but I can’t imagine any other way of being,” says Porter, the founder of the wildly vibrant Buried Diamond jewelry brand. “I grew up in a family that loves a huge floral wallpaper with chintz drapes, Persian rugs, and patterned upholstery. In a way, this is the most minimal space I’ve ever lived in.”
Porter wasn’t always designing accessories from her sunlit Brooklyn apartment. Before making her side hustle a full-time job in 2014, she was a textile designer for various fashion companies. Now that business is thriving, she’s become inspired to turn charms into velvet pillows—an idea that came to her when her mom sent her a small stuffed animal cat that she crafted at age 11. “It’s teal velvet and has rhinestone eyes,” she says. She hopes to make this an addition to her shop soon.
An envy-inducing amount of natural light and soft gray walls (“white, but not stark”) in the rental apartment create the perfect backdrop for a home filled with personal style. When the couple moved in last fall, they arrived with plenty of furniture, rugs, personal mementos, and what’s now over 40 (and counting) plants.
In fact, barely anything new was purchased, save a few necessary furniture pieces. Objects handcrafted by the pair and finds from small shops and travels make up the majority of the home decor.
Designing the space was a collaborative effort in blending the couples’ two styles together. Green previously lived with a more muted palette, while Porter’s decor style was just as bold as it is now but in a darker unit with less light and more exposed wood.
Her approach to home design is the same as her approach to fashion: “I like functional, simple garments and furniture. You can add whatever decoration you want on top of that—jewelry or heaps of pillows. Jason and I decorated the apartment together, and I think it really reflects both of us.”
Once the couple settled their big furniture pieces, next came the adding of accessories, which according to Porter, “move around with a certain frequency.” Plants, side tables, and objects switch places with ease. Another important staple in the home: art.
When two artists live under the same roof, there’s inevitably going to be a well-curated and personal collection on display. Green’s paintings are in every single room (yes, even the bathroom). He let Porter choose her favorites for the living room.
“There are only a couple pieces where I don’t know the artist personally,” says Porter. The hallway gallery wall is a can’t-miss moment—and it’s only the beginning. Sights are set on covering the hallway walls with art from floor to ceiling.
Finding a beautiful, open, and functional kitchen like the one Porter and Green scored in their rental is like spotting a unicorn in the middle of Times Square. It was important for the pair to find a kitchen where two people could comfortably cook (their favorite meals are mezze, Japanese breakfasts, and anything on the grill) and also entertain.
Of course, the couple added their own colorful flair to the room. “This space is so neutral and well-lit with pale gray walls, white trim, and wood floors that bright colors stand out in a way I love,” says Porter. “Adding yellow and red in the kitchen brought a lot of warmth to the otherwise neutral space.”
The living room is another highlight. Porter notes, “We wanted the apartment to feel comfortable and open, and I think it is: It feels cozy and spacious at the same time. Our home is definitely a calm, quiet space for us. It’s fun having guests here and it’s an inviting space.”
The living room is Porter’s favorite room. Whether the couple wants to bask in the natural light through the wall of windows, escape to one of two balconies, cuddle up solo with a book, or entertain friends, it’s always the place they want to be. It’s also the location of a particularly colorful bookshelf topped with plants and personal objects.
“All our decorative objects are meaningful to us—that’s how they make the cut,” says Porter. The antique glove form is a prized possession of mine. We spent last Christmas in Paris, and for gifts, we went to the flea market two days before and bought something for each other. Jason got me that hand. I’ve always wanted one, and it’s so perfect. It’s blue! He brought it home in his carry-on, and I was terrified it would be confiscated for some reason.”
She adds, “I also love my Staffordshire dogs. I inherited them from my grandmother, who had an extensive collection. This set is pretty plain, but they are meaningful to me. When we first got the keys, they were the first thing I brought to the apartment.”
Porter, who works from home, also has a sweet workspace setup—and tips to making working from home work for you. A routine is key, as is creating a space you can be productive in. She always gets dressed and takes a walk in the morning. Freelancing as a textile designer means she also spends an occasional day working from a client’s office.
This story was originally published in April 2018 and has since been updated.
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