Molly Bernard’s Brooklyn Apartment Is an Instant Mood Lifter

Freda A. Nix

Before embarking on a search for her dream New York City apartment, actor Molly Bernard compiled a wish list. Light was a top priority, she decided, as was a one-and-a-half or two-bedroom space with enough room to grow a family. Other items included in-unit laundry, a dishwasher, and the sort of overall warmth and sense of safety that comes only from the experience of feeling truly at home. “What I ended up getting was a one-bedroom apartment with a fantastic view of the city—which was nowhere near my list of things,” she reveals with a laugh. “Laundry’s in the basement and I won’t be able to grow into this space when my partner and I decide to have kids, but for now,” she says, “it’s absolutely perfect.”

<div class="caption"> Statement-making accents in the living room include a custom <a href="https://fave.co/2UJZXvU" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:West Elm sectional" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">West Elm sectional</a>, a <a href="https://www.coldpicnic.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cold Picnic" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cold Picnic</a> rug, and a woven painting by friend <a href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ethan-cooks-home-is-just-as-vibrant-as-his-artwork?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ethan Cook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ethan Cook</a>. “He brought it over the day I moved in,” Molly says, “and that ended up informing the design of the whole room.” </div>
Statement-making accents in the living room include a custom West Elm sectional, a Cold Picnic rug, and a woven painting by friend Ethan Cook. “He brought it over the day I moved in,” Molly says, “and that ended up informing the design of the whole room.”
<div class="caption"> The dining area’s <a href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/cost-effective-built-ins-starrett-ringbom?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:built-in bookshelves" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">built-in bookshelves</a> hold photographs, mementos, and a tidy array of rainbow-colored titles. </div>
The dining area’s built-in bookshelves hold photographs, mementos, and a tidy array of rainbow-colored titles.

Molly, who shares the apartment with fiancée Hannah Lieberman and dog Henry, wasted no time transforming what she calls her “treehouse in the sky” into a bright and welcoming home, implementing changes that ranged from floors—original amber-toned wood was sanded to a neutral honey; patterned Dusen Dusen tile brought life to a once-uninspired kitchen—to living room ceiling. “It used to be blue,” she explains. “But I thought I’d warm it up with a little pink instead. The idea was for the space to feel colorful without overwhelming the senses.”

<div class="caption"> Molly and Henry at home in Brooklyn. </div>

Molly and Henry at home in Brooklyn.

When it came to furnishings and decor, the actor turned to West Elm for cozy-chic pieces that included a compact swivel chair in the bedroom (“perfect for reading scripts,” she says), a midcentury-inspired statement sconce, and a custom chaise-sectional that’s since become a beloved staple. (Catch all the details on West Elm’s site.) “That couch, that beautiful L, it just ties the whole space together,” Molly says. “We love nothing more than inviting friends over for dinner, and then moving to the couch afterward and talking until the late hours. We do that almost every night.” (Ed note: Pre-quarantine, of course!)

<div class="caption"> “Artwork” above the credenza includes a <a href="https://fave.co/3aQDItG" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Samsung TV" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Samsung TV</a> in a wooden frame. “I change the print out weekly,” the actress says. </div>
“Artwork” above the credenza includes a Samsung TV in a wooden frame. “I change the print out weekly,” the actress says.

Completing the look is a selection of accessories—lamps to vases, planters to picture frames, many of them also West Elm—that live alongside treasured books, mementos, and artwork, much of which was gifted or made by family and friends.

<div class="caption"> “A long time ago, a mentor of mine told me a bedroom should be just for sleep,” says the actress, who kept things feeling calm with white bedding and a cotton canvas print from <a href="https://www.whatsupton.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Upton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Upton</a>. “I let the windows be the focus here, above all.” </div>
“A long time ago, a mentor of mine told me a bedroom should be just for sleep,” says the actress, who kept things feeling calm with white bedding and a cotton canvas print from Upton. “I let the windows be the focus here, above all.”

While the apartment may lack a few of the items from Molly’s original wish list, she reports that the most important—that all-encompassing sense of warmth—is ever-present. “Yesterday morning, when Hannah was still half asleep, she said something like, ‘Oh my gosh, this bedroom is so beautiful. We’re so lucky we get to wake up here every morning,’” the actor recalls. “It was such a sweet moment because I’m generally the one who’s obsessed with the house—but also because we are lucky. We really just love living here so much.”

<div class="caption"> <a href="https://www.dusendusen.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dusen Dusen" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dusen Dusen</a> tile and a framed Calder print (once on the wall at Molly’s grandparents’ house) add color to the couple’s newly renovated kitchen. “I like to say that that tile is like the necklace I bought for the apartment,” she says. </div>
Dusen Dusen tile and a framed Calder print (once on the wall at Molly’s grandparents’ house) add color to the couple’s newly renovated kitchen. “I like to say that that tile is like the necklace I bought for the apartment,” she says.

🛠 Do It Yourself

Start with art. In the living room, Molly let a piece of statement artwork (by friend and fellow Clever home tour subject Ethan Cook guide her color palette and furnishing choices. “He brought it over the day I moved in,” Molly says, “and that ended up informing the design of the whole room.”

Get creative with color. Molly stuck to neutral tones when it came to larger pieces like her couch, credenza, and dining table, choosing to incorporate color in subtler doses instead: rainbow-hued books brighten the apartment’s built-in shelving; pink paint on the ceiling adds unexpected warmth overhead.

Look to the past. Meaningful hand-me-downs can help a house feel like home. In Molly’s case, artwork that once belonged to her grandparents—a framed Calder print, for example, and a painting of a boy holding a chicken—has found new life in her Brooklyn abode, adding a layer of personal history to the space, too.

Keep sleep simple. Take a tip from Molly and keep the design of your bedroom as calm and quiet as you can (think subdued colors, white bedding, and simple, unfussy accents). “I wanted to create an environment that was as conducive to sleep as possible,” she says.

<div class="caption"> “This is a hundred-year-old bathroom,” Molly says. “I put in a <a href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/what-to-look-for-in-a-shower-head?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:shower head" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">shower head</a> and bath handle, but other than that, I was charmed by its original details. Some of the tiles are old and broken, but I didn’t buy in a new development for a reason—I wanted some history here.” </div>
“This is a hundred-year-old bathroom,” Molly says. “I put in a shower head and bath handle, but other than that, I was charmed by its original details. Some of the tiles are old and broken, but I didn’t buy in a new development for a reason—I wanted some history here.”
<div class="caption"> Plants and branches help give off a peaceful aura in the bedroom. </div>

Plants and branches help give off a peaceful aura in the bedroom.

🛍 Shop It Out

Zebra flat-weave rug by Cold Picnic, from $110, coldpicnic.com.

LED floor lamp by Bower, $399, westelm.com.

Protea canvas print by Upton, $165, whatsupton.com.

Andes Chaise Sectional by West Elm, from $3,098, westelm.com.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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