Nestled in the Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood, just over the East River from lower Manhattan lies this stunning pre-war apartment belonging to Lisa Pollock and her family. Lisa talks to us about how she managed to use splashes of tween and teen bedroom decor to create sophisticated, yet functional rooms for each of her children. We also discuss the inspiration behind each space.
Lisa Pollock, her style and her approach to gorgeous teen bedroom decor...
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I was born and raised in New York City and after studying fine arts, I started my career in fashion doing costume design and then went on to create my own line of handbags. Once my children were born, nesting set in and my focus shifted to creating an environment that incorporated my love of design. I also wanted to have snippets of art and all things vintage with warm, layered, comfortable elements for my growing family. My love for interior design started there and in time my passion became my business.
How would you describe your overall style?
I am driven by a love for simple, thoughtful, sophisticated design that effortlessly combines styles to create distinctive spaces. The overall vibe of a space is most important to me and I strive to achieve calm, serene, timeless environments that are representative of their inhabitants. Organization and function are a top priority. Enabling the architecture, lines of the furniture, and all of the different textures to be the focal point of the space.
Let's talk kids rooms... How old are your children? Were they part of the decision-making when it came to room design or did you surprise them with a makeover?
These rooms belong to my 14 year old son Henry, my 12 year old son Max, and my eight year old daughter Stella. When we moved to a new home and my two boys were each getting their own bedrooms. It was extremely important that they were involved in the design process. It was essential that each of their new bedrooms, would ultimately be their favorite place to be. I collaborated with them throughout the planning phase. We laid out the space together and agreed upon the best spot for a desk. We also discussed an open area for LEGO building, as well as a cozy reading nook. The colors and fabrics were chosen together and we discussed in detail what we wanted to achieve in the room overall.
I did not allow the kids back into their rooms until they were completely finished so that it would be a huge exciting reveal. As we are all big fans of design shows, reveal day was so much fun for the whole family.
Stella also played a big part in the design of her room. She was a driving force in the transition from a little girl’s room to a young lady’s room. When we moved to the new home, the timing was perfect to make the change and incorporate teen bedroom decor.
However, once it came down to selecting the furniture, choosing the art and installing the room, they all had no part. I did not allow the kids back into their rooms until they were completely finished so that it would be a huge exciting reveal. As we are all big fans of design shows, reveal day was so much fun for the whole family.
Was there a certain theme or 'look' you were going for? What was your inspiration?
Henry is passionate about art and music and his room needed to represent that. He loves utilizing many different mediums including photography, drawing and painting. Due to this, choosing the right art to hang on the walls in his room, was a priority.
My husband and I have been collecting art since the day we met and already had an idea of which pieces were Henry’s favorites from our collection. He tends to favor abstract art in deep cool color tones with tons of texture so we moved in that direction. While art served as a starting point, music was equally as important. We found a really cool record player as well as a beautiful aged brass Bluetooth speaker to give him options of what to listen to depending on the mood.
Turning twelve can be a tricky age when it comes to designing a bedroom because you’re not quite a teenager, but certainly not a child.
Max is really into all things sports related as well as reading. He needed a lot of open space to bounce around his room as well as a quiet cozy reading nook by the window. The goal in Max’s room was for it to feel playful, yet mature.
Turning twelve can be a tricky age when it comes to designing a bedroom because you’re not quite a teenager, but certainly not a child. We strived to find balance between tween/ teen bedroom decor. Our goal was to create a room in which he would feel comfortable growing and maturing.
We love the serene feel of Stella's room. How did you choose the colour palette?
Stella wanted her room to feel like she was floating on a cloud. She loves to sleep (a true gift after having two older children that are the opposite) and she wanted her room to feel as though she could float off into her dreams at any moment.
Her room incorporates every possible shade of white with light grey, a touch of lilac and a couple punches of black to break it up. I utilized many different textures throughout the room from the cowhide rug to the wool felt blanket to the linen chair to add warmth and depth especially since we kept the color palate so simple and muted.
Were there any challenges you encountered in creating these spaces?
As with any project, we certainly encountered a few challenges along the way. A challenge in Henry’s room was the size of the room. We live in an apartment in a building built in 1926 in Brooklyn, NY, in what is known as a classic seven layout.
Those who are familiar with prewar apartments know that they generally have small rooms off the kitchen that are separated from the rest of the bedrooms called maids rooms.
While some might shutter at the thought of this, for a teenage boy to be on his own side of the apartment with his very own en-suite bathroom and private access to the kitchen is a dream. However, the room measures only 15 feet long by 7 feet wide and we needed to comfortably fit a bed, dresser and desk into the room without making it feel cramped. I found a slim black iron bed frame that maximized space and a midcentury modern style dresser that was both functional and quite handsome. We custom built the desk which is sometimes the best answer for a particular space.
Can you share with us some of your favourite pieces?
I have two favorite pieces in Henry’s room: the resin painting above the bed by Michael Dickey and the photograph beside the window by Dora Somosi. I love working with and supporting local artists whenever possible.
Hands down my favorite piece in Max’s room is the vintage black leather Jacques Adnet chair in his reading nook. When my kids were really young my husband surprised me with a weekend getaway to Paris. I spotted this beautiful chair in the window of a dusty desolate shop in the design district on our first evening, but it was closed. Throughout the weekend we kept popping by the store, but each time it was still closed. On our last morning we were enjoying our croissants and hot chocolates, but I couldn’t help but think about the chair in the window that I never even got to sit in. Moments later an older gentleman appeared outside the café dragging in my chair!
Somehow my husband had arranged through our hotel to contact the store manager (who had been away on vacation) and purchase the chair for me. It is literally my favorite piece of furniture and I was so happy to put it in Max’s room - the perfect teen bedroom decor! I just know he will spend countless hours curled up reading and enjoying it.
What about Stella's room? Is there a piece she loves the most? What was the best bargain and your biggest splurge?
Stella loves the black resin star sculpture on her dresser, a piece I bought for her nursery soon after she was born to honor her name. The biggest bargain in her room is the white desk chair. We bought it when one of our favorite neighborhood design shops was closing, the perfect piece of teen bedroom decor. It is solid wood and incredibly comfortable for a desk chair. The cushion came with the chair and is a lovely touch. Aside from the art which we have collected over many years, the biggest splurge in Stella’s room is the vintage Moroccan cowhide patchwork rug.
For anyone who loves your style, can you tell us where is your favourite place to shop for homewares?
I can’t say I have a favorite place to shop. Whether I am browsing online at 1stDibs or walking through Ikea, I always keep my eyes peeled for whatever I think will bring something special or unique to the space.
SHOP THE LOOK - HENRY'S ROOM
Bed: Room & Board
Dresser: West Elm
Rug: The Primary Essentials
Record Player: Urban Outfitters
Wall hanging: Karen Tinney
Lamp: Organic Modernism
Bedding: Serena & Lily
Pillows: Jon Robshaw
SHOP THE LOOK - MAX'S ROOM
Dresser and Nightstand: Blu Dot
Rug: Madeline Weinrib
Chair: Jacques Adnet
Petrified wood stool: find similar at Jayson Home
Basquiat skateboards: MoMa store
Bedding: Serena & Lily
Pillows: Jon Robshaw
Shearling Blanket: Barneys NY
SHOP THE LOOK - STELLA'S ROOM
Bed: Room & Board
Desk: PB Kids (we added vintage hardware)
Desk Chair: Homestories
Dresser: Organic Modernism
Star Sculpture: Flair Home
Occasional chair: Lulu and Georgia covered in Zak & Fox fabric
Bedding: Serena & Lily
Blankets and Pillow: The Citizenry
Doll: Cuddle + Kind
Photography by Dora Somosi - please do not use without permission