Welcome to A Nook of One's Own, our ode to small and cozy spaces. Join us as we curate and celebrate all the comfy, familiar corners that bring us joy every day.
I live on the top floor of an old, charming walk-up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. My one-bedroom apartment is small—per my landlord, "perfectly cozy for one, or for a couple who's really in love." But it has big windows facing south, out towards a wide, tree-lined neighborhood street, which creates an open and airy atmosphere.
The kitchen and bedroom of my space are modest in size (let's just say that I make good use of my over-the-sink cutting board, and my queen-size bed touches three walls). These spaces are comfortable, and enough to cook and rest in, respectively, but not ideal to spend a lot of time in. So I'm lucky to have a light-filled living room where I can work, think, and relax. It's the heart of my home.
And because it is the heart of my home, my living room holds the things that are dearest to my heart: my books and most of my plants. I'm a books editor by trade and a native Californian—an avid reader and a lover of greenery—so I surround myself with these things, because they bring me joy and make my space feel like an extension of me.
A particular corner of my book-and plant-filled living room is the epicenter of all things green and literary: my reading and daydreaming nook, situated right by the window. Here, I place an array of plants in a mini-jungle formation; lay down a small meditation pillow where I can get settled; and leave some books nearby to pick up and peruse when I'm in place.
There are cookbooks, my favorite novels, and a volume of Shakespeare's collected works, for good measure. There are little treasured trinkets, including my very favorite sugar-skull air plant (purchased from Trader Joe's!), Guillermo.
This collection of items has been cobbled together since I moved in almost half a year ago. I've gradually brought more and more of my plants here to give them more light, and they've been happy to stay. And the various books I've felt like reading, depending on the day, have migrated over time, too, resulting in a jumbled stack of current and perennial favorites.
Though I don't get to spend a lot of time in my nook—mainly, sunny Saturday mornings with my first cup of coffee, and occasionally early on a weekday, before going to work—it's a comforting, grounding space that I love being in. When I was developing and delving deeper into my meditation practice, I would come here daily to devote time to it. Nowadays, my nook is also a cozy space where I water and tend to my plants, and curl up, cat-like, with the gentle morning sunshine and the sweet, vanilla-oak scent of an old book.
If my nook could speak, it would probably tell me to use it more. It would also tell me to pass a feather duster over it every now and again.
Brinda is the Managing Editor at Food52, where she also edits all of Food52's cookbooks and covers the latest and greatest books on the site (drop her a line with recs!). She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants. Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.