“I can remember being 19 years old and hand-carrying a large glass lantern from Cairo back on the plane because it was too fragile to pack in my luggage,” Elsa Mehary says of one of the many conversation-starting details in her pad. “But now, the same lamp can be found in a store like West Elm, imported for half the price and minus the story of adventure in an intricate maze of bazaars,” she adds.
Mehary has lived in her two-bedroom apartment in Park Slope for 15 years. She’s spent that time filling the place with carefully chosen figures and textiles she’s picked up traveling to places such as Bali, India and Tulum. “I think of my apartment as a serene oasis in the center of chaos,” she says.
She’s achieved an overall look and feeling of zen through a mix of spiritual figures and colors that she found in near and far-flung places. There’s the gold head of Buddha she found in Chinatown:?“It’s really heavy but I love the serenity it brings to the space.” And an ornate cross that lies next to a box of Bach flower remedies imported from Israel. “I was born in Ethiopia and plan on returning there this year to visit all the amazing churches built into the ground in Lalibela. The cross is a traditional Orthodox relic from Addis Ababa, originally owned by my mom,” she explains.
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“The look of my apartment is constantly changing,”?Mehary admits. But the sense of calm never changes. “I incorporate the feng shui principles in determining location of color throughout the house.”
Get the look
1. Play with accent walls
“I change the accent wall over each fireplace. Red in the bedroom for passion and blue in the living room for calm,” Mehary says.
2. Embrace the blank canvas
“Many of the walls feature blank canvases because I didn't want them to look bare, but I did want there to be a sense of space. And because I am a creative, I need lots of inspirational items around for reference when I am drawing or designing,” she explains.
3. Rotate accessories
“I kept almost all of the walls white so that I could accessorize the place with colorful pillows, fabrics or textures. I switch them in and out according to the season,” Mehary says.