For 40 years, Mimi Lester’s mother Barbara comfortably lived every renter’s fantasy: she had a rent-controlled loft in Manhattan, NY. Then *snap!* A decade ago it was sold, and she was forced out. Just like that she had to find a new home. Dejected, she began looking high and low, even considering boroughs she hadn’t looked into before. Enter Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Mimi was in college there, so Barbara already knew the area was grand. What she didn’t realize, though, was how fantastic its communal atmosphere was. Without a doubt Mimi’s college neighborhood was the spot for her new roots.
The 1890s-era brownstone Barbara ended up purchasing in Bed-Stuy came with two units: one for herself and one for Mimi. Initially, Mimi shared her half of the duplex with roommates, affordable decor neither hearty or eye-catching being the name of the game. For the past four years, however, Mimi has bunked with her partner Rae Angelo Tutera, and since moving in together the couple has slowly replaced those not-ideal items with sentimental and vintage finds.
This shared affection for storied objects was part of what initially bound the two to one another, and it’s still what makes their apartment sing to this day. No matter the room, there are interesting goodies to uncover: take a look in the guest room and you’ll find mementos from as far away as Morocco; gaze at the living room’s walls and family portraits smile back at you. The list goes on and on, and makes this tour one you can’t miss. Click through to take a look! Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Lauren Perlstein
Image above: The West Elm sofa in the living room was the couple’s first big purchase together, and they couldn’t be happier with it. Every day they use it, the sofa looks richer and feels cozier. It sits on another West Elm find — the colorful rug — and in front of black Behr “Beluga” walls. It was a bold move but the hue was made possible by the abundance of light the room receives.