Lekan Jeyifous is an architect/artist who has had exhibitions in South Africa, the Netherlands, France and across the United States. He was an artist-in-residence at The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and has been featured in the The New York Times on multiple occasions.
Lek’s brother just happens to be my wonderful husband and I’m happy that he is my first participant in Real Homes. Five years ago, I visited Lek’s former NYC apartment on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I loved it. It was bright and full of light, curated with an artists’s eye and extremely comfortable. He has since gotten a grown up couch to replace the red futon that I adored and a gorgeous apartment with– count ‘em– three balconies. We plan to feature his bedroom and kitchen in coming months but for now, we have some views of his main living area which, like his former Eastern Parkway apartment, is full of light. Onto the apartment…
Years Lived In: 3
Size: 600sq/ft, 1 bedroom, 1 bath
Neighborhood: Prospect/Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Building history: Formerly was Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, now converted into apartments. Albert Einstein had surgery here in 1951.
What made you choose this apartment?
Apartment hunting in New York City sucks, so I just moved to Miami when the lease at my previous apartment was up until someone was moving out of their apartment and could hand it over. This spot became available, so I moved back to NYC.
Your home’s style?
Clean, neat, simple, comfortable.
What resources did you use for your home?
Ikea and Home Depot as a base. People shit on Ikea as a look but you won’t get anything cheaper without stealing it. Or thrifting in the midwest, but I don’t live in the midwest. Spread the look out, just like with streetwear. Folks wanna wear the shoes, the belt, the hat, the shirt, the jacket and the sunglasses all on the same day. Also, modify it, paint it, reconfigure it, etc.
Did you design your home around one piece of furniture, art, fabric, color, etc?
I designed around the limit in space and red, I like red. What you see is just a simple base paint. I want to add more outdoor type stuff, wicker and tin and tons of plants. Add some old items like lamps and coat hooks. I think some dusty items over the clean and neat would make this spot way more interesting.
Has your style changed through the years?
My style hasn’t changed a bit, I do what’s easy and what I can afford. The rest is organization and composition. My style will change when I’m making millions or own a place. I also plan to design my own furniture. (Ed. Note: See furniture renderings at Lek’s website, Vigilism.)
What will be the next purchase for your apartment?
Some tall bamboo palms and a night table and shelves for the bedroom. Also some old lamps and if I had more space, I would get one of those Chinese apothecary bureaus… the ones with ah zillion little labeled boxes.
What aspect of your apartment do you like the most?
Light and cleanliness.
No foyer, the door opens right into living space.
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I’d add more storage room.
A Little Bit Of Random
Morning ritual at home: Wake up, eat oatmeal, sit in front of computer.
Evening ritual at home: Sit in front of computer.
Last book you read: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Last meal you ate: Oatmeal
Last song you listened to: Lamont Dozier – Prelude & Rose (1974)
Item you have on your person at all times: iPhone
Art: Vigilism, Amanda Williams, LeRoy Clarke
Pillows: The large ones on the floor are the Japanese silk that my mom had made; my sister-in-law (aka me!) made the red one with dots.
Chair: Nsenga’s old bamboo papasan
Rug: Urban Outfitters
TV stand, bookcase, dressers: IKEA ( TV stand is two tables stacked on top of each other)