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 falls under the new wave of minimalism-meets-maximalism. Subtle, yet strong, pops of color come through in stools, rugs, textiles, and artwork, most original by Porter’s partner Jason Sho Green who has his own studio in Bushwick.
Porter, founder of Buried Diamond jewelry brand says, “I know I am colorful and attracted to color, but I can’t imagine any other way of being! 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 hasn’t always been designing accessories from her sunlit Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, apartment. Before making her side hustle a full-time job in 2014, Porter was a textile designer for various fashion companies. After her mom sent her a small stuffed animal cat crafted at age 11—“It’s teal velvet and has rhinestone eyes”—Porter became inspired to turn charms into velvet pillows… coming to the shop (hopefully!) soon.
An envy-inducing amount of natural light and soft gray walls (“like white, but not stark”) that came with the rental create the perfect backdrop for a home filled with personal style. When the couple moved in last fall, they arrived with more than enough furniture, rugs, what’s now over 40 (and counting) plants, and personal mementos to go around.
In fact, barely anything new was purchased, save a few necessary furniture pieces. Finds from small shops, travels, and objects made by the two make up the majority of the home decor.
Designing the space was a collaborative effort, blending the couples’ two styles together. Green previously lived with a more muted palette, and Porter’s was just as bold as it is now, but in 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, and then 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.
Let’s talk about the kitchen. 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 to the pair to find a kitchen where two people could comfortably cook (their favorite meals to prepare are mezze, a Japanese breakfast, and anything on the grill) and and also entertain at the same time. Of course, the couple added their own colorful flair to the room.
“This space is so neutral and well lit—pale gray walls, white trim, 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, it’s an inviting space.”
Naturally, it’s Porter’s favorite room of the home to hang. Whether they want 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 of our decorative objects are meaningful to us—that’s how they make the cut. 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,” Porter says.
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 this apartment.”
Porter, who works from home, also has a sweet 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.
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