Palo Santo and Reggae Records Are the Key to Relaxed Vibes in This Brooklyn Home
Plus art that appears on moldings and inside the fireplace.
Published Jun 26, 2023 1:55 AM
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While many New Yorkers flocked to the surrounding suburbs during the pandemic, Hedyeh Parsia went a step—really, a few thousand miles—further. She and her family moved to Costa Rica with the plan to commit to their new life by the sea for at least two years, but homesickness struck sooner than they expected. “Seven months later, we were plotting our move back,” recalls Parsia. During a brief trip to the city in June 2021, Parsia, who runs operations for startups, met with her broker over lunch to discuss looking at rentals (they’d lost hope of buying at that point, given everything was going for way over asking price). By chance, the broker got a call at that very moment alerting her to a to-be-for-sale townhouse in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with four bedrooms—she asked Parsia if she wanted to come along and take a look. “We had an accepted offer a week later,” she says. “It was just a happy, magical accident.”
Luckily the sellers were also willing to leave behind some of their furniture (in the process of moving to Costa Rica, Parsia and her family had sold most of their larger belongings). The IKEA dining table they inherited isn’t anything special, but it is the perfect size. “When I entertain, I just throw a linen tablecloth on top and no one ever knows,” shares Parsia. Meanwhile, it only took one professional cleaning to get the Article sofa looking in tip-top shape again. Parsia tossed on some hand-dyed velvet pillows by Kirsten Hecktermann to elevate the modular piece.
The molding hooks were the previous owner’s touch, but now they hold Parsia’s personal collection of works, which spans pieces by Costa Rican artist Gustavo Jimenez and Sebastiaan Bremer as well as her own children, and fuel her desire to constantly switch things up. She’s also a fan of leaning frames against walls and propping them up on little stools, like the Lucio Puzzi piece situated in the living room fireplace. “My approach to decorating involves a lot of moving things around until it feels right,” says Parsia. She’s equally relaxed about where she sources items. “I’ve found stuff on the streets, on stoops. I don’t really ever go shopping for anything specific,” she adds.
Her collection of perfumes and essential oils is also expansive, but most of the ones that live in her bathroom cabinet rarely get worn. “I just love the stories they evoke,” says Parsia, admitting that she’s still hanging onto Thierry Mugler’s Angel from her early 20s and Obsession from when she was in the eighth grade. “There is so much unrequited love stored in those bottles.”
One of the downsides of moving to Costa Rica was that Parsia’s kids dropped their piano lessons. Now the instrument in the living room only gets played by her—and it’s usually a slow, melancholy song (she finds them easier). “I feel that every time I go to play, there is a lot of eye-rolling happening behind my back,” she says, jokingly. “There goes Mom, off to play her really sad songs.” The nearby turntable is something everyone can get joy out of, though. Her husband has accrued tons of jazz records, while Parsia prefers putting on the reggae albums she acquired from her time working at Trojan Records.
Four days out of the workweek, Parsia can be found posted up at the dining table—her HQ—indulging in her WFH rituals: “I’m always burning incense, either palo santo or esfand (a Persian mix).” Also beside her: a jumbo pot of her “Saffy Is Happy” tea, a homemade saffron-based concoction she’s still tinkering with. “It’s an absolute mood booster,” she says.
The existing kitchen was everything she could have dreamed of. Since settling in, she and a friend from One Love Community Fridge have discussed using the space to invite friends over to co-work and co-cook, and then give back. “My mom always says that if you find yourself idle, then cook,” says Parsia. “And if you find yourself without purpose, then give.”