Brooklyn Waterfront Loft

Unsaturated and unpredictable.

By Jenn Rose Smith

Connecticut-based interior designer Becca Casey has developed an incredible eye for creating richly layered, neutral spaces. We’re big fans of her monochromatic style, so when we heard she was designing a space for a-listed blogger Alyssa Surrett and her fiancé we couldn’t wait to see what she created. Alyssa is the Digital Content Director at Magrino PR by day, and blogger by night. “I love sharing my styling insights, travel diaries and entertaining tips there,” says Alyssa of her blog. “It’s truly my creative outlet.” Her fiancé, Chris Duffy, is a partner at a London-based executive search firm. The couple fell in love with an old factory building overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, and hired Becca to help them turn it into the first home of their dreams. Read on to see how Becca and Alyssa worked together to create a serene and glamorous space inside a rugged industrial building.

photographed by rikki snyder

Alyssa, tell us a little about the space. Where is your apartment located and how old is the building? What did you love about the space to begin with?

Alyssa: We moved to Dumbo last fall from Nolita into an old factory building that overlooks Brooklyn Bridge Park. The building is over 100 years old, and has definitely maintained some of it’s pre-war charm. The exposed beams, the incredible views of the city and the small balcony space off of our bedroom were the major selling points for us when we first saw the space.

What do you like about the Dumbo neighborhood?

Alyssa: From the first time we visited the neighborhood, we felt so much more relaxed than Soho. We came here, and we could suddenly hear ourselves think. It’s also really growing quickly with new stores, restaurants and café’s. I love Cecconi’s on the waterfront, the matcha latte at Unami, hanging out at Brooklyn Bridge Park and laptop dates at the 1 Hotel to name a few neighborhood attractions.

Did you know from the start that you wanted to work with an interior designer? How did you choose Becca for the job?

Alyssa: Chris has a very neutral and simplistic aesthetic, while I have a more glamorous, over-the-top design sensibility. Where he wants a simple, natural wood coffee table, I prefer one with a pink quartz top and a gold base, and so on and so forth. We needed an interior designer that could marry our styles and help us to meet in the middle. Becca was the perfect designer for us, because she has a bit of both of our styles woven throughout all of her spaces.

Tell us a bit about your process working together. What did you each bring to the table in terms of direction and vision? 

Becca: Alyssa’s background and love of fashion was what really grounded the overall vision for me. Though I would say most of my interiors typically have an earthier approach, I like to mix in a bit of sumptuous glamour when possible. This space has ease, which I feel can easily be the best form of glamour!

Alyssa: Chris and I looked forward to every meeting we had with Becca, because she always had a solution up her sleeve for whatever issue we were having at the moment. Many of these said issues revolved around finding chic yet practical storage options for all of our stuff within the confinements of New York square footage. The console in our living room and the window seat in the bedroom are both filled with our clothes, and the armoire in the living space is filled with my shoes. She really worked her magic.

Let’s talk about your super restrained color palette. How did you decide upon the color scheme for the space?

Becca: Characteristically, I like to start with a neutral color palette and subtly layer in texture and color. Chris had outlined that he wanted to have a very monochromatic zen space, whilst Alyssa had always maintained a more fashion forward approach by wanting to incorporate color, brass, and marble. The challenge in marrying the two styles actually created something refreshing and authentic to the couple.

Alyssa: We wanted to select a color scheme that highlighted all of the natural light in our new space. The large windows were definitely a change of pace from our previous apartment, so Becca helped steer us towards a more simplistic color palette that left our place feeling like a true escape from the chaos of Manhattan.

You’ve incorporated so many beautiful objects throughout the home. What are some of your favorite sources for decorative objects?

Becca: I generally have a very organic approach to styling. I spend my time attending anything from a flea market to antique stores to discover the most special finds. On the other hand, over the years I have also been lucky enough to build up a wealth of great online sources that I order from time and again. Some of my favorites are Juxtaposition Home, MQuan Ceramics out of Brooklyn, Nickey Kehoe, and Aero to name a few. That last layer of accessories is so critical and I always find that it completely evolves a space.

Becca, finish the sentence: “A well designed space should _____________.”

Becca: Be well curated.

Alyssa, what did you want in your dream bedroom space and how was Becca able to achieve that?

Alyssa: I’m one of those people who can’t relax in a space that feels overly cluttered, so my ideal bedroom space is crisp and clean. Becca also did a great job of adding special touches throughout the room that played to my dramatic side too—like the statement-making light fixture and the textured shagreen bedside tables. Swoon!

Becca, what was your approach for the living room space? 

Becca: Working off of the magnificent steel windows and lofty ceilings I wanted to maintain a sparseness throughout to avoid overwhelming the area. By creating a fresh color palette it made room for impactful moments like the light fixture and teal velvet chairs. Thoughtful editing also played a key role, moving away from an overly cluttered space and allowing for a more minimalist approach.

We’re a big fan of decorating with books here at Camille Styles. Tell us about how you used them in this space:

Becca: To me, books play a key role in design. Not only do they make great accessories, they are also representative of the client’s personality. Upon entering Chris and Alyssa’s apartment you would be quick to notice that someone with great style lives there.

Tell us about the statement light fixture above the bed. So cool. Is it a custom piece?

Becca: Isn’t it great! The light fixture is a Serge Mouille style and has recently made a comeback since its induction in the 1950’s! This piece was definitely a pivotal point in the overall design and I did a small happy dance when I heard how Chris and Alyssa were just as keen to include it!

Alyssa, how do you use your desk area? We totally love that view, btw.

Alyssa: You can’t really beat that view, right? Chris actually gets way more use out of the desk space than I do, because he works from home. On the weekend though, there’s nothing better than spending the day working on my blog over an iced coffee with almond milk and with a dash of ginger and clove infused simple syrup that I’ve recently become addicted to making.

So your space is totally neutral — but how about your wardrobe? Does your love of neutrals extend to that area as well? 

I would say that my wardrobe is the complete opposite. While I love the clean color palette in our apartment, I also have a serious love for color and accessories when it comes to my closet. Think: bold shoes, embellished clutches, and oversized earrings on rotation.

Becca, what were your biggest challenges working on this project?

Becca: As with a lot of design in NYC, storage presented a bit of a problem. With no walk in closet we had to get crafty with alternative solutions. By selecting a skirted bed with a built-in storage component, and a window seat that doubles as a storage box, we were able to form areas where Alyssa and Chris could stow away seasonal clothing to keep from over cluttering the space.

Describe how the space came together in five words or fewer:

Alyssa: Compromise and cocktails.

Becca: Over a few great cocktails!

Alyssa, a little birdie told us that you and your fiancé Chris have set a date! Can we expect an all neutral wedding? Or will you be surprising us?

Alyssa: Yes! We are getting married in just a few short weeks at The Bowery Hotel. We have been working with our florist at L’Atelier Rouge to create the most beautiful tablescape for our day. Our color palette is black, white and gold with some pops of color in the florals. It feels like the perfect balance of Chris and my style, much like the space that Becca has created for us at home.

Best wishes, you two! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us.


Follow Alyssa and Becca on Instagram!