Astead Herndon New York Times Loft Tower Photos

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Name: Astead W. Herndon
Lease: Brooklyn—New York City, NY
Type of Home: loft
Years Lived In: 2 years, rental

Astead W. Herndona political reporter for The New York Times, spent more than 200 nights in hotels in different states while covering the 2020 presidential election. He says he was “functionally without a space of my own. When the election ended, I made it priority to switch everything up, starting with my living space. I wanted an apartment I was proud of.”

“I walked into this place, the first one I saw on Craigslist, and immediately fell in love. It’s open and sunny and dramatic — just like me. Whether I’m reading on the porch, working at the desk, or up in the loft bedroom, the natural light really makes the whole thing work. I have a rare Brooklyn experience in which the constant blare of sirens is interrupted by birds chirping in the backyard forest,” writes Astead.

Big windows, colorful art, and a mix of modern furniture all combine to create Astead’s cool and hip interior. But while the visual aspect of his home is important, it’s not only about style. “Last November, I tore my Achilles while playing basketball,” begins Astead. “The injury kept me at home for about three months without interruption and really changed my relationship to my space. I spent the time by watching all of ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’ and bought a small keyboard. I taught myself to make mashups of my favorite songs on a turntable. I got more plants. But most of all, it forced me to think about my apartment’s functionality. Before that incident, I was only concerned with having a place that was aesthetically pleasing. Now, it feels like a home.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

MyStyle: I like bright colors and have a flair for the dramatic — but really don’t think I have a defined style. I like evolving, pushing limits, and pushing myself.

Inspiration: I read some style blogs I can’t remember. And got some advice from my Instagram close friends list. Here’s a fun story: I went on a Hinge date right after moving and showed the person my decorating plan as a means of small talk. She told me I needed a bolder couch color and that led me to the iconic pink couch! She has since moved from Brooklyn to Paris but her legacy lives on.

Biggest Challenge: I was working from a baseline of zero. I was a typical post college mid-20s boy who had no mattress and no bed frame. I moved from this tiny studio and really only brought my clothes and a microwave. I didn’t know the first thing to do with this much open space.

Proudest DIY: I’m the world’s least handy person. This week I quite literally got a coat hanger ledge and installed it upside down. But my last piece for the apartment was a mirror. And carrying it up three flights was a proud, albeit nerve wracking, moment.

Biggest Indulgence: I paid for professional art hangers rather than putting it up myself. It was a great decision, but an expensive one. They knew how to handle the pieces with care and were very helpful in suggesting where each one could go.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The desk I sit at for work is right by the window. And the birds are so loud I sometimes have to go to the upstairs bathroom to record the podcast.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? A turntable! I’ll be listening to a song and thinking? What does it sound like slowed down or mixed with something else — and then I can just… do it!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t skimp on the couch. Save money elsewhere. But get a good, reliable, centerpiece couch.

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