This Beachy Brooklyn Loft Is Inspiring Our Next Apartment Overhaul

Two words: ocean view.

By: Tara Gonzalez
Photography: Alec Kugler

Kee Edwards’s Loup Charmant line reminds us of a summer vacation, which makes sense considering that she envisioned it while honeymooning in Portugal—her inspiration board covered in photos of hot, humid spots. The designer’s loose, wispy pieces are the physical embodiment of summer, and her oceanside loft in Red Hook Brooklyn is just as much a nod to surf, sand, and sun. Coincidentally, when I spoke with Edwards on the phone, she was on vacation—the ocean breeze providing a soundtrack for our conversation.

When Edwards and her husband moved back to New York after living in Miami, her only requirement for their next home was a view of the water. They quickly found this apartment in Red Hook, but didn’t decorate for months; the views of the water were so good that all they needed was a simple couch to enjoy them on. Today the home is filled with books and artwork and tchotchkes, but Edwards’s favorite detail will always be the light spilling into the windows as the sun sets over the city.

Click through to see how she decorates with plants she finds on the street, hear her case for visiting Red Hook, and learn where she gets all her dreamy furniture.

“I love everything about Red Hook. I’ve lived all over the city in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, and Red Hook is my favorite. When we lived in Miami we also lived on the water and saw the sunset over the water every day. When we found this place in Red Hook, it felt like home because it felt so much like that.”

“For this apartment that I live in day to day, it’s more a mix of ‘Okay, what does my husband want? What do I want? And how do we put those two together?’ And also using what we already have.”

“For going out I like Fort Defiance—it’s a great little neighborhood spot. The Hometown Bar-B-Que is also pretty good. I’d say those are my favorites! Saipua [is] a great little spot. Everybody knows them for the flowers that they do for different events, but their store is so beautiful to walk by or pick up a plant or that sort of thing.”

“I do love my couch! I mean, I really do. There’s just nothing like a comfortable couch in front of that view”

“[Those] are mostly all books that I really love. I keep trying to edit and get rid of more books, but there are a lot of art books that I just love. Some are mine and some are my husband’s. We also have a lot of work things there, which I look forward to moving out of there a little bit.”

“I do buy a lot of books on Amazon these days because I’m so busy with work, but I love a good bookstore. The Dia bookstore in Chelsea is awesome. These days though it’s mostly Amazon and a lot of them are older books. I have books that I bought from an old library that was closing. There’s a lot of random things but there’s a huge wellness section that I’ve had and collected favorite things from for 25 years.”

“I love plants. I used to do interior landscaping. When we left our last place I [gave] all my plants away because I was like ‘we’re not going to have that many plants here.’ But slowly they just start coming in. A lot of them are rescues. I seen people throw them out and I pulled them out of the trash. To me it’s like seeing a puppy on the side of the road; I couldn’t leave it there. Some of them are being nursed back to health, so they’re a little scraggly but I kind of like that, too. They look a little Dr. Seuss-y.”

“I don’t really think there’s a set design aesthetic. It’s a little a mix of my stuff [and] my husband’s stuff. There are things that I would change if it weren’t a rental, but at the same time, we’re really just starting to pick the things that we think are good for the space. It’s still very much a work in progress.”

“My parents were antique dealers, so I love finding some vintage pieces, either through Craigslist or eBay. And then ABC Home—I always love them. For something like a couch where you want it really well made and to last for a long time, they’re great for those things. We have different art from friends [and] those are the things I always want to keep no matter where I am. [They] make a place feel like a home. Another store [we shopped at] is Matter. We really like that store.”

“In my entryway there’s a shot of a group of young guys standing in the desert in Namibia, and they are wearing red cardboard hats and cuffs and ankle bands. That’s from a photographer named Jim Naughten. [It’s] probably my favorite piece—it’s from his [collection of] photographs that he took of the Herrera tribe in Namibia, and that was an inspiration for one of my collections one year. His work is beautiful and it’s so interesting. In his books, you’ll see that [the tribe] used to dress in a much more primitive way, and then when they were colonized by the Germans, they started adapting to that military style of dress. The men and the women used to wrap their hair in clay to mimic the horns of the cattle that they raised, and the longer the women’s horns were the more fertile they were. When they stopped dressing in the more tribal way and started dressing more Western, they did the same thing but with fabric.”

“I got a beautiful piece of art from a woman named Isca Greenfield Sanders. I love her watercolors, and I love to do watercolors myself, so that’s a new piece that I’m really excited about.”

“We had the couch facing the TV for a minute and then we were like, ‘What are we doing? That’s not what we want to be watching; [the ocean] is what we want to be watching.’”

“My favorite part of my home is probably my bedroom, or anywhere in front of the windows because all we see is water. We didn’t think we were going to stay long… We didn’t even think about decorating the space because it was just so pleasant—it was all about the views. It feels like you’re on vacation!”

“We have so many friends that come over and [say] ‘I’ve always wanted to see this building!’ It was built in the 1850s and I think that it was redone really beautifully. It’s a great place to live. There’s nothing like it around New York where you can have that sort of view.”

“[The] Neil Krug photograph in the dining room, that was a present from my husband that I love.”

“There’s a really great nursery upstate that I go to, and I’ve gotten plants from Saipua. I have neighbors that we sometimes exchange plants with. We’ll do cuttings for each other.”

“These days you can Google anything, [but] I’d say the number one helpful thing is writing down when you water things because I always forget, especially in the summer when I’m traveling. I would say that’s really helpful when you’re first starting, because then you start to get to know your plants and what they like.”

“I always tell people ‘This is as close as you can get to the beach while still being in the city.’”

“I love just getting lobsters steamed downstairs, taking them straight up to my roof, and watching the sunset up there with friends. That’s a great summertime thing.”

“If you’re a beachy person then you should go to Red Hook. If you have kids you should go do the free kayaking on the water—there’s free kayaking every Thursday and Saturday. My husband volunteered and helped with that when we first moved [here] and it was super fun. We kayaked over [to Governors Island] and camped there. It was really cool and it was so... weird. It was crazy!”

“I’m currently looking for new pieces for my bedroom furniture right now. Our bed is really big so I’m trying to find the right side table.”

“Every full moon comes into my window when I’m sleeping. A lot of times it’ll wake me up, but it’s such a beautiful moment—I just love it! I feel so much more connected to nature being there because I see the sunset almost every day and I see the changing of the moon in a way that isn’t easy to do in New York. I feel super lucky to have that.”

“I have [a] china cabinet [that] was my grandmother’s, so it has sentimental value. It’s different than pieces of art—it’s my grandmother’s china cabinet.”

“For decor advice, I think it’s a combination of have fun with it and make it a little project. Think ideal colors and all of that. For me, that makes it fun. But also take your time. With this place, it’s a work in progress. I’ve never felt like I’ve got to rush and make it a piece of perfection, but I think that’s the fun of it—finding the right piece here and there. Taking your time is really important.”

You can visit Loup Charmant’s Southhampton pop-up through September 6th. 42-A Jobs Lane. Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 10am - 6pm and Sunday 11am - 5pm.