At Home in Clinton Hill
Two artists put down roots at a Brooklyn home that serves as a living canvas for their creativity.
Images: Biz Jones
Commercial illustrators and first-time home buyers Jing Wei and Josh Cochran weren’t planning on purchasing a home in the spring of 2016, but a serendipitous string of events — a referral from a friend followed by a seamless Compass-to-Compass transaction — spurred them to take action.
The creative duo has since turned the apartment into a cozy haven, filling the space with warm wood furnishings, plentiful greenery, and artwork from their ever-growing circle of friends and collaborators.
Why did you decide to take the leap from renting to buying?
Jing: It was really spontaneous! A woman in Josh’s running club had an apartment for sale in her building, and she suggested we stop by and take a look. The space wasn’t for us, but it sparked our interest in finding a permanent place of our own. Shortly after, when a friend introduced us to Compass NY agent Leslie Diamond, all the pieces fell into place.
What was your experience working with Leslie and Compass?
Jing: During my time renting in Brooklyn, I met a lot of brokers. Leslie was different because she focused on forming a personal relationship with Josh and I in order to find a home that truly fit our aesthetic and lifestyle. Communicating with Leslie was always simple — especially when she used Compass’ easy-to-use Valuation tool to talk us through us different pricing.
Josh: The seller of our apartment was actually represented by another Compass agent, Debra Bondy. When the first offer made to her buyer fell through, Debra let Leslie know immediately — and the rest is history!
What changes did you make upon moving into your home?
Josh: We have a studio in Greenpoint, but Jing enjoys working from home so we wanted to create a light, airy space. We converted the small room beyond the archways from a nursery into an office. We installed vertical shelving to open up the rooms and removed the built-in cabinet in the bedroom to emphasize the white brick walls.
Jing: Our talented friend Dwight Cassin, who has a design studio called Mighty Mallet, built the shelves in the living space and bedroom, as well as crafted our bedframe.
You both work as commercial illustrators. How has that influenced the way you curated your home?
Josh: In our line of work, we know and befriend many different artists. We are lucky to have a never-ending stream of vibrant pieces entering our lives.
Jing: Most of what you see in this apartment was made by one talented friend or another!
Tell me about some of your favorite pieces.
Josh: I work at The New York Times as a freelance art director from time to time, and when I helped a friend get a job there, and he sent me a black and white print as a thank-you gift. Now hung above our kitchen table, it’s based on an invented alphabet — every graphic has a different meaning.
Jing: Every piece in our house has a story behind it — like the pink tapestry and the hand-embroidered pillows on the couch. We got those traveling through Laos at the night market.
How do you like living in Clinton Hill?
Jing: It’s such a vibrant community. There’s so many good dinner places around here — it seems like something new is popping up every week! I teach at the nearby art school Pratt every Wednesday night, so I like to get drinks at Peaches Shrimp and Crab with my friends after class.
Josh: Mekelburg’s is one of our favorite places that serves these crazy chicken sandwiches — but only after 11 pm! It’s the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, but you can only get it late night. Recently, the bodega guy recognized me — so I can now say this neighborhood truly feels like home.