5 Smart Lessons to Steal from Lidey Heuck’s Apartment Kitchen in Brooklyn

published Feb 17, 2022
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Credit: Andrew Bui

One look at Brooklyn-based Lidey Heuck‘s apartment, and it’s clear she loves to cook. After all, she is a New York Times recipe developer, food writer, blogger, and yes, Ina Garten’s former assistant, so it only makes sense that she would design the majority of her apartment around her serious passion for food.

Describing her style as “transitional and Brooklyn modern,” she admittedly hopes to someday move to a farmhouse in upstate New York. “My dream is to renovate a big 1800s farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, and until that happens, I try to sort of mesh that romantic vision with the realities of living in a Brooklyn apartment,” she says.

Credit: Andrew Bui
Known for her simple and seasonal recipes, Lidey Heuck, who runs the website Lidey Likes, sits in her Brooklyn apartment with her pooch, Winkleman.

For now, there’s a lot to love about Heuck’s rental apartment. We took the tour and adore her carefully curated style. As we checked out her kitchen, we spotted five smart lessons worth stealing. Follow us — and we’ll show you just what we mean.

Credit: Andrew Bui
A dining table awaits dinner party guests beneath an organic pendant — made of mushrooms from Danielle Troffe!

1. Don’t feel beholden to traditional rules.

To really maximize her 1,000-square-foot apartment space, Heuck — who shares her apartment with fiancé, Joe Piscina — decided to forgo the conventional sofa and coffee table setup and opted to utilize the living room space to house an expansive antique dining table to seat six (for those fab dinner parties!), custom-made shelves filled with gorgeous dishes and cookware, and a convenient rolling breakfast bar.

Credit: Andrew Bui
A rolling breakfast bar from White Flower Farmhouse makes for an easy setup for teaching Zoom cooking classes.

Rather than let her tiny kitchen footprint dictate the boundaries, Heuck made her apartment beautiful and functional by borrowing other adjoining areas in her home to create her own entertaining and cooking space. “The catch was that though the kitchen had almost everything I wanted, the actual footprint of the space is really small,” she says. “I’m sure this layout wouldn’t make sense for everyone, but it was fun to try to re-imagine a typical rental apartment in a way that really worked for us.”

Credit: Andrew Bui
A gorgeous gallery of cookware is on display.

2. Put your favorite items on full display.

With her love for all things food-related, Heuck decided to splurge on built-in shelves in the kitchen, which were custom-made by Soil and Oak. “I knew they were going to be the focal point of the room and necessary to store my serving pieces and large cookware,” says Heuck, who enjoys collecting serving platters and other tabletop beauties. “While large built-in shelves might not seem security deposit-friendly, they’re only nailed into the wall in four places, so it’s not that different from hanging art. When we move, we can take them with us and reconfigure them to work in our new space.”

Credit: Andrew Bui
Colorful produce prints hang above Heuck's cookbook library.

Just beyond the display shelves, Heuck has turned two simple West Elm bookcases into a library of her favorite cookbooks. Here, she arranges some book stacks vertically and others horizontally, creating a fun balance — without feeling crammed and cluttered.

Her favorite display? The artwork showcased in cherry wood frames. “The produce prints I have hanging above my cookbook collection are particularly special to me,” she says. “They are by my friend Maria Schoettler, and I love how much color and personality they add to the white walls in our kitchen.”

Credit: Andrew Bui
With little room for storage space, Heuck keeps kitchen tools and appliances to a minimum.

3. Minimize clutter to stay organized.

While Heuck does love to collect beautiful tabletop pieces, she also makes an effort to minimize kitchen clutter. “When it comes to kitchen tools and appliances, I’m a minimalist,” she says. “I cook for a living, and as much as I want my kitchen to be beautiful, it’s crucial for it to be functional above all else.”

With little storage space, Heuck explains that she resists the urge to buy new gadgets or odd-sized pans she knows she won’t really use. “I make sure the appliances and utensils I use every day are either on the counter or in easy-to-reach places,” she says, explaining that having this access and visibility helps her stay organized and efficient while cooking. “This is especially important for anyone living in an apartment or any home with a small kitchen. You don’t need a hundred different contraptions and specialty pans to make good food,” she says.

Credit: Andrew Bui
To capture the beauty of her food, Heuck lets the natural light take center stage.

4. Play up the natural lighting.

As part of her line of work, Heuck often needs the right kind of lighting for shooting food photography and recipe videos. One of the biggest assets of her apartment is the bank of large windows that open up to natural light. “The first thing that really struck me about this apartment was all the natural light, especially in the main room. It makes the whole space feel really open and bright,” she says. But to really play up the lighting, Heuck chose to leave those windows unobstructed — without blinds or curtains.

If you don’t have as many windows as Heuck, you can easily use a few tricks to play up the natural light you do have. Use mirrors on opposite walls of the window to give the appearance of more sunlight, and avoid dark interior tones, which make a room appear dimmer.

Credit: Andrew Bui
Warmth and texture are key to Heuck's kitchen.

5. Mix and match old and new.

So, what’s Heuck’s secret for pulling together such a stylish, lived-in look? It’s having that mix of old and new when it comes to furniture and decor. “It gives our home a lot of warmth and texture,” she says. “When everything in a house or apartment is from the same three stores, it tends to end up feeling a little soulless.”

Credit: Andrew Bui
Mixing and matching old and new infuses this kitchen with instant personality!

Timeless antique or vintage pieces are a nice complement to more modern furniture and decor, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. It’ll add multiple layers to your home — that will also make your space unique. “It just takes a little bit of time and patience to find what you’re looking for,” says Heuck, who names The Antique Warehouse in Hudson, New York, and the website Chairish as merchants she likes to shop. “Not to mention, buying something that’s already out in the world is a more sustainable way to shop for furniture!”

What do you love about this apartment kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.