A Dancer-Turned-Designer’s Modern, Handcrafted Brooklyn Home — House Tour
Name: John Sorensen-Jolink and Fabien Dubuet
Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Size: 900 square feet
Years Lived In: 3 years, renting
He once performed with contemporary choreographers like Twyla Tharp. Today, modern-dancer-turned furniture designer John Sorensen-Jolink is the founder and owner of Coil + Drift, a Brooklyn-based design studio that creates elegant, contemporary furniture, lighting, and accessories. And the cozy apartment he shares with his husband features a mix of Coil + Drift prototypes, vintage finds, original artwork and more.
We actually got a look at John and Fabien’s last Brooklyn abode, which was 650 square feet. They upgraded a bit in size with this apartment they’ve been renting for three years, but the same simple elegance that characterized their last place together exists in this home. too.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: American modernism, European glamour, and the texture, color, and ambiance of the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Inspiration: I’m inspired by a home you enter where it is clear that every piece is intentional, grounded, and meant to be exactly where it is.
Favorite Element: I love that this flat is on the ground floor of a brownstone so it stays cool in the summer and we can easily access the garden, where my husband and I often eat dinner when it’s nice out. We thought it might be too dark, but we get much more sunlight than we expected.
Biggest Challenge: We only have two walls with windows on them so plants must go close to them or they don’t get enough light.
What Friends Say: We probably get the most comments about the plethora of worldly statues and figurines we have around the flat. My husband and I both travel a lot and we are known bring back three things: statues, artwork, and tacky refrigerator magnets.
Biggest Embarrassment: I’m not a big fan of our bed frame. It’s from Ikea and it’s boring. Our mattress is lovely though so it’s not a crisis. Some day we’ll give it away and find something that better anchors the room.
Proudest DIY: I’m giving this one to the owners of our house (who live upstairs, and who are lovely). When they bought the house they had interior pocket shudders made by a local craftsperson for all the front windows in the original style of the house. Not only are they stunning, but they function beautifully and fold into the original pockets in the windows when they’re open. I love them and they add so much versatility to the space.
Biggest Indulgence: A lot of the paintings in the apartment are from Cuba. I purchased many of them while studying dance there in university. I removed the canvases from their frames and folded them into my clothes to bring them back because I was afraid they’d be confiscated. I’m pretty sure it would have been fine to just carry them back, but I guess I wanted to be absolutely sure.
Best Advice: As someone who designs and produces objects, I try never to throw furniture away unless something is beyond repair. There are so many ways to find new homes for items you no longer need (craigslist, community list-serves, library and coffee shop bulletin boards). We have so many people in NYC that if you put a chair on the sidewalk with a free sign and it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, it will be reclaimed in minutes.
Dream Sources: Someday I’d love to own work by: Atelier de Troupe, Fernando Mastrangelo, Gio Ponti , Apparatus, Pietro Chiesa, Egg Collective, Oeuffice
Architecture stool — Manufactured by The Toledo Metal Furniture Company. American, circa 1940.
Vase pillow — Amelie Mancini
Shelving unit — Hover Shelving Unit (custom) by Coil + Drift
Cherrywood sideboard — Original Rex Sideboard prototype by Coil + Drift
Ceiling lamp above Sideboard — Vintage George Nelson for Modernica
Tan wooden chair — Soren Chair by Coil + Drift
Mirror — Vintage Signage on Atlantic Avenue., Brooklyn
Geometric Side Table — Dusk Side Table by Coil + Drift
Floor Lamp — Bishop Task Floor Lamp by Coil + Drift
Various small indigenous figurines and masks — Acquired by my husband and I in Ethiopia, Burma, Rwanda, Thailand, and Indonesia while traveling
Small mid-century media console — Found on the street in Chelsea, NYC
Portrait painting — by artist Francesca Brenda
Candles — Noisetier and Fiquier by Diptyque; No.2 Le Long Fond by Maison Louis Marie; 13 Bonaparte
Gold-leaf candle pedestal — Antique from Holler and Squall, on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn
Dining Table — Antique Mid-Century Modern
Dining Chairs — Eames Fiberglass Shell Chairs
Shelving Unit — Hover Shelving Unit by Coil + Drift
Wood and leather chair — Soren Chair by Coil + Drift
Linens — Muji
Reading lamps — Vintage from Brooklyn Flea
Paintings — purchased in Havana, Cuba on the street – artists unknown