APT: Cobble Hill + Four Legs

The apartment kitchen: Lights! Seating! More shelving!


Yes, the lighting is completely different, no, I didn’t shoot from the exact same angle, yes, I still have more work to do so that’s not really an “after”…but you get the idea. It’s funny, this apartment could not be more different from my house and I would never have chose any of this if I were building the kitchen from scratch, but I feel very much at home here. I like being in this kitchen. I like how cozy and sort of library-like it looks. I’m happy about the challenges that this apartment and its weird layout, giant rooms and awful orange wood trim have presented.



Ahhh, new lights! Goodbye, horrible plastic fluorescent cloud lights. We installed the new-ish VANADIN ceiling lights from IKEA. They’re made of white, mouth-blown glass, and they have a vintage look to them that reminds me of milk glass. I did have to say goodbye to the HEKTAR pendant I’d previously installed. I love the way it looks, but the ceiling is just way too low to have anything hanging. As soon as we got seating for the kitchen island and started eating our meals there, we were pretty much constantly hitting our heads on the light.

The rest of the glass VANADIN line is really cool as well, by the way. There’s a pendant and a table lamp (also available in black and hot pink!). IKEA often gets lighting wrong, but when they get it right, it’s so so right.


Next up, stools! Actually no, let’s just talk about how adorable Fritz is. This is a dog who shivers and crawls under a pile of blankets if the temperature drops below 75°, so as far as he’s concerned, this apartment is the best place in the world. We get a crazy amount of sunlight all day long, and he just lies there and roasts in it. I really have to commend my landlord for deciding to put floor-to-ceiling windows on the south side of the apartment and a huge skylight in the bedroom, which faces north. Floor-through apartments in attached buildings are often very dark, and since this apartment is an attic extension it really could have been a total sad-zone.

But back to Fritz! Man, I love that dog. His new thing is sleeping on the kitchen island in the evenings. Yes, ON the counter. I sit there when I work at night, and he doesn’t like that he can’t sit next to me. I tried holding him on my lap, but that’s not comfortable for either of us. The obvious solution was to put a blanket on the counter and just let him lie there. He loves it. Good thing I’m OK with dog germs…



So yes, stools! It took us way too long to get some seating going in this kitchen. We’re really trying to not eat meals on the sofa, and I needed a place to sit and work — my lower back just can’t handle sitting with my computer on my lap for too long. I considered getting a couple of the DALFRED stools from IKEA, but they’re perpetually out of stock at the Brooklyn store. A couple of weeks ago we were at Target doing our usual run for toilet paper and allergy pills, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they’re now selling a range Tolix-like (Tolisque?) Marais-style stools in various heights and colors. The first thing I thought of when I saw the name Carlisle on the box was Belinda Carlisle, whose voice I absolutely cannot stand. I managed to push past that when I saw that the counter-height stools were priced at $95 for TWO (!).

Are they as nice as real Tolix stools? Well, the construction seems to be very good and the proportions are pretty much the same, but the finish on the “distressed metal” (that’s the color I bought) Carlisle stools is kind of crappy-looking up close. Well, not crappy, but not as nice as vintage Tolix Marais stool, which is obviously what they were going for. You can see in the close-up above that the finish is a little too shiny, and the “distressing” is the work of a wire brush and oxidizing paint. Paying $95 instead of $570, though…yeah. Tough to say no, even with the whole issue of knock-offs (albeit legal in this case) and so forth.

Short story: I bought the stools, and now they’re in my apartment and I like them a lot.


Yes, it’s ANOTHER SHELF. So many shelves. This area on the back of the island was kind of dead space before, and it becoming nothing more than a spot to collect plants on the floor. I wanted to tidy things up, but still keep it all low to the ground and kind of out of sight. I like low shelves — this one is only about 16″ off of the floor. The wood is a TRYGGVE shelf from IKEA that I painted the same color as the wall (Benjamin Moore Deep Space). You can’t really see them, but I used a couple of EKBY VALTER brackets also painted to match.

Now the plants are happy and off the floor, our phones have a dedicated spot for charging and my cookbooks are easily accessible. Both of the paintings are by Lisa Golightly of Kiki & Polly.

I’ve always wanted one of those VÅGÖ chairs, but I don’t have anywhere to put it. This little yellow reproduction is perfect, though! I went to an IKEA event a few weeks ago, and they gave away these sets of dollhouse furniture. Fritz has taken to carrying around the miniature heart pillow and falling asleep with it in his mouth (and between his paws), which is super adorable. I need to find a use for the tiny STOCKHOLM rug. Maybe a dog cape?

SEE ALSO → All of the apartment kitchen progress posts!

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  • Reply Jaimie August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I just picked up a gallon of Deep Space for my bathrooms. Originally I wanted to try Raccoon Fur (like Daniel’s bathroom) but the Deep Space is just a bit lighter. I was just going to do my yellow bathroom, I thought it might be weird to have both bathrooms be that dark, but the pink bathroom is really more of a peach and I want to bring out more of the pink in it.

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Peach + Deep Space sounds like a really great combination!! I think you’ll get the result you’re looking for.

  • Reply Marita August 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Yes! I love the Vanadin overhead lights! I’m thinking about them for my kitchen too! Weird! I also really like the table lamp in the black and milk glass.

    PS: did you see the new Sputnik-esque light they’re coming out with for the IKEA Stockholm collection? I kind-of love how crazy it is! But then, I’m loving a lot about the Stockholm collection. I think they’ve totally nailed it. And if I hadn’t just splurged on the sofa I’ve been dreaming about, I’d be all over the green Stockholm sofa.

    Anyways, the kitchen looks amazing!

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      No, I haven’t seen that light yet! I loooooooooove the green Stockholm sofa, though. Such a great color.

  • Reply Fritz August 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

    thumbs up on those stools they are great seating

  • Reply Paul August 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I really like what you’ve done with the kitchen. It looks like it would be really inviting at night, especially with the new lights.

    I felt the same way about the shiny finish on the Tolix-ish stools at Target. I’m sure they look better under the non-florescent store lighting.

  • Reply Marlene August 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    The kitchen looks fab! I love the vignette you’ve put together on the low shelf, it’s so classy and organized. And I’ve been drooling over the Ikea Vanadin ceiling fixture for our rental bathroom! The only problem is, the existing light is not hard-wired, it operates with a pull switch. Sad face.

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Marlene, maybe it’s worth getting an electrician in for a quote to convert your ceiling fixture. It might be cheaper than you think!

  • Reply jja August 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    This apartment looks soooo cozy! It could not bi more different from my interior style but still it looks really inviting! Lucky Fritz with you. And you with Fritz.
    When i am away, like recently for holidays I miss my cats sooo much….

  • Reply MJ @ One-Parade.com August 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    The color on the walls is wonderful. Believe it or not it makes the wood trim look amazing.

    And good choice of stools!

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      It’s funny, right? I’m actually starting to like the trim, haha.

  • Reply Tannis August 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I am totally struggling with finding appropriate kitchen lighting. I feel like Goldilocks – too ugly, too shadowy, not bright enough… The list goes on. How do you find the actually light that you get from these? I cook everyday and need/prefer bright lights that don’t create a bunch of shadows. What is your take on these?

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Tannis, I think it kind of depends on how high your kitchen ceiling is and how many fixtures you plan to install. These fixtures each take two bulbs. IKEA now basically mandates that you use high efficiency bulbs in their fixtures by making the max wattage really low — I have two 4.5W LED bulbs in each of these. That’s a lot of good, bright light, but because it’s so diffused by the white glass, there aren’t any shadows. That said, I know these fixtures wouldn’t work at my house because the ceiling is 11′ high. The apartment kitchen ceiling is only about 6.5′. Unless your kitchen is really tiny, you’re going to need at least two of these guys.

      I totally get where your coming from with the Goldilocks thing. I’ve been trying (and failing) to make a decision about kitchen lighting at my house for YEARS now!!

  • Reply katie August 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    looks great! and fyi, i have the ikea dalfred stools… you dodged a bullet. they’re totally wonky and unstable and the seats are like 2″ too tiny.

    • Anna @ D16 August 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Oh geez, I feel better now!

  • Reply Adam August 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Wow, I love how the wall color has transformed it and pulled the space together. The shelf idea is really neat too. I really like the VANADIN line, I’ve been thinking of getting one of the table lamps.

  • Reply lau August 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I NEED that table vanadin lamp. NEEEEEd. In black, of course. Like my soul.

  • Reply Mia Z August 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Oh, now I have to change the ceiling light fixture in my bathroom to the Vanadin. Loving it.

    Just curious: do you take fixtures and/or removable upgrades with you when you move?

    Once, I was lucky to have a great landlord who reimbursed me for a few changes I made to his apartment. I kept the receipts!

  • Reply Judi August 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Anna, this all looks amazing. And it’s making me want big time to pull the trigger on the Carlisle stools in navy that I have in my cart online (no Target in VT, boo!). Of course, our island doesn’t actually have an overhang so that people can sit there, but hey! Maybe someday! And then we’d need stools! And then they wouldn’t be made anymore! And I’d have to shell out big bucks for the real thing! Or buy from Industry West, which is far away!

    And that’s why I now have a basement.

  • Reply lisa August 8, 2013 at 12:56 am

    i love what you’re doing… your landlord won’t allow you to ever leave!

  • Reply miss alix August 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I am in love with that VANADIN light.

  • Reply Kate (@shoegirlinDE) August 10, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I LOVE those Ikea lights! When I first saw them in the store, I loved that vintage-y, milk glass vibe. Looking good!

  • Reply nicole August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    i bought almost identical stools for my new kitchen at overstock.com. they were about $80 for a pair and a bonus: they shipped them free. not only is that style super comfy but i love how the cut out in the seat makes them so easy to sluff around.

  • Reply Anna T August 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Ah! You got my lights! I am so glad you got the VANADIN, I have been considering it for my own kitchen (which is galley with one overhead fixture) and was worried that it was still too much like the brass-and-glass granny fixture in that came with the place. It is a similar textured design in the glass, but being crystal clear, you can see right through to the bulb (and to various accumulating dust), and it is overall just too early ’80s. Updating the lights is my new project, since IKEA fixtures are so affordable and it is something I can learnt o do myself from blogs and you tube.
    I just really wanted to see the VANADIN in a space, especially with a lower ceiling. Thanks! It looks so great and might be perfect for me, not too simple but not obtrusive. Now to decide if it should also go into the adjacent entryway overhead fixture. Probably. With a small space, too much variety might just look like a mistake.

  • Reply Jenn August 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Anna,
    As always, your style and resourcefulness are excellent. Seriously jealous of the size of the windows, and the overall size of your new apartment, it is really huge.

    I have those Vanadin lights too! We’ve got lower ceilings throughout our little house, and I was hoping they’d give off enough light, but not really be too noticeable at the same time. Although, I haven’t installed them yet, because they have two ground wires on them – did you run into this too? What did you do?

    • Anna @ D16 August 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Jenn, one thing I’ve vowed to never do on this blog is give electrical advice. Sorry!

    • Jenn August 14, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Ah no problem at all, just never seen two grounds on a light like this, I’ve got an electrician friend coming over tomorrow to have a look, if anyone can give advice, I sure hope it is him 🙂

  • Reply suswhit August 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

    “Next up, stools! Actually no, let’s just talk about how adorable Fritz is. ”
    Ack! You totally nailed it. As I was reading I was literally “wow apartment, ooh FRITZ!, cool lights, what’s that plant?, FRITZ!”
    He is unfairly photogenic. 🙂

  • Reply JoAnn January 9, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Hi, so question if you don’t mind… I had my friend install my vanadin light 5 years ago… and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the glass off to change the bulb? 🙂

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks! PS. love your space. I hope it has given you lots of peace these years.

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