MEET CABIN MODERN: A NOD TO MOD IN BROOKLYN
Get to know Cabin Modern, the Cobble Hill mid-century modern furniture shop and design studio putting color on the map.
Once you set foot inside the cozy Cobble Hill storefront of Brooklyn’s Cabin Modern, you may never want to leave. That sort of positive, visceral response to carefully curated design is exactly what Jillian Chaitin and Jeremy Hollingworth, the husband-and-wife team behind the midcentury modern design shop and studio, are seeking.
Cabin Modern isn’t precious or fussy; it’s functional and simple and stylish, perfect for the small spaces every New Yorker has to design around.
On one side of the store sits a modern record cabinet based on a vintage design aesthetic, an original Cabin Modern design. The other side features a sleek and minimal Jeppesen sofa, newly upholstered in a vibrant purple. One corner is warmly lit with a Gerald Thurston pagoda-shaded tripod lamp, while a Danish wicker lamp brightens another. There’s a teak coffee table designed by iconic Swedish designer Grete Jalk, a great little plaid armchair by Thonet, and, at your feet, a vintage abstract art deco rug in amazing condition. The walls are decorated with limited-edition prints of zebras and magnolias, whose color schemes perfectly coordinate with the hand-printed tea towels and pillows on display.
A New York Story
Cabin Modern is a quintessential New York City story. Jillian was a painter who worked as a makeup artist. Jeremy was an actor who ran his own furniture shop on the Lower East Side. One day, in 2009, a friend was so impressed by all the style Jillian and Jeremy had managed to cram into their tiny apartment on Broome Street that she asked them to design a room in her new SoHo apartment. Cabin Modern was born.
After that first job, they worked on similar interior design projects while Jeremy continued with his furniture-refurbishing business. Then, in September 2014, Jillian and Jeremy consolidated their talents under one roof, on Court Street, in Brooklyn, where, in addition to their interior design service, they also sell carefully selected midcentury modern pieces, as well as pieces of their own design.
The name Cabin Modern has its own “only in New York” story. Back in 2007, Jillian was working on a photo shoot for Domino magazine when she heard about a “style psychic” hotline people could call, answer a few questions, and then have their personal style described to them, using only two words. Oddly enough, Jillian and Jeremy had recently discussed their own shared style, so when someone on-set asked Jillian how the hotline would describe her style, she said, “Cabin Modern.” The name stuck, and it perfectly encapsulates the store’s vibe: midcentury modern, woodsy, upstate. Cabin Modern isn’t precious or fussy; it’s functional and simple and stylish, perfect for the small spaces every New Yorker has to design around.
Couples That Design Together …
It should come as no surprise that Jillian and Jeremy’s design influences center on sets of famous couples: Russel and Mary Wright, Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman, Charles and Ray Eames. Jillian is originally from San Diego, while Jeremy hails from the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts. The fruit of these different sets of roots is on display in Cabin Modern.
Cabin Modern’s customer is the New Yorker who wants to invest in their first grown-up table, their first sophisticated lamp.
Jillian provides the flashes of light and color by designing Cabin Modern’s bright and playful line of linens and prints. The design boutique’s earthy woods, those rougher edges of modernism, come from Jeremy. Every vintage piece is restored and/or reupholstered on the premises, and the combination of the couple’s individual talents is evident in every finished product.
Jillian and Jeremy’s shared sense of style also comes from their mutual love of a few select monuments of design. One is Russel and Mary Wright’s home, Dragon Rock, which is located in the woods outside Garrison, New York, in the Hudson Valley. This masterpiece of midcentury design and architecture is clearly reflected in Cabin Modern’s belief in uncluttered and functional design, the kind of design you can live in, and with, and not just admire on a shelf. Jillian and Jeremy share another love, the Chapelle Saint-Pierre, in the south of France. This ancient Romanesque chapel was restored and renovated by Jean Cocteau in 1957, and the brightness, colors, and patterns can be seen in the screen prints that Jillian creates in her Gowanus studio.
Just Part of the Neighborhood
Cabin Modern didn’t arrive in Cobble Hill by chance. Jillian has family members who have lived for years in the neighborhood, and she and Jeremy were both attracted to the long-standing tradition of local stoop sales, a sort of organic precursor to Cabin Modern. They also felt there was room economically for their business in Cobble Hill. It was important to both of them that they wouldn’t push out another small business by their arrival on the scene.
Once you set foot inside the cozy Cobble Hill storefront of Brooklyn’s Cabin Modern, you may never want to leave.
Jillian and Jeremy’s commitment to all things local, to all things Brooklyn, isn’t just talk — all their pillows are cut and sewn in Sunset Park, and their custom record cabinets are built in Greenpoint. Jillian and Jeremy also share a concern for keeping the footprint of Cabin Modern as small as possible. All of their original products are locally sourced and are constructed, whenever possible, using recycled materials. If there’s one quote that encapsulates what Cabin Modern is all about, it’s the famous line from Charles Eames: “We want to make the best for the most for the least.”
The neighborhood has also provided Cabin Modern with an ideal customer base. Cobble Hill is a predominantly residential neighborhood, and while that may seem like a negative at first, it is actually the key to Cabin Modern’s success. The townhouses and brownstones that line Cobble Hill’s streets are home to many young couples that have moved into their first “adult” apartment. Cabin Modern’s end customer is the New Yorker who wants to invest in their first grown-up table, their first sophisticated lamp. Cabin Modern has pieces designers crave and consumers covet, for any room or function. In fact, Cabin Modern’s stated goal is to furnish the entire neighborhood, floor to ceiling.
Jillian and Jeremy’s next project is a line of glassware, as well as a line of ceramics thrown by Jillian’s father. They hope this expansion of their product line will result in more wholesale accounts, so be sure to keep an eye out for Cabin Modern pieces in the future.
And, in keeping with their love of Cobble Hill, Jillian and Jeremy also want to design and furnish the next generation of local restaurants and shops, from Smith Street’s next French bistro to Atlantic Avenue’s future boutique. But you don’t have to be a restaurant or business owner to take advantage of their keen style eyes — Cabin Modern also provides simple, stress-free color consultations, as well as a more collaborative version of interior design. If you are looking for vintage-inspired design and/or color, a stroll around Cabin Modern is sure to generate fresh ideas. Jillian and Jeremy are there to help make that vision come to life.