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The Great Brooklyn Apartment Makeover! Featured in Brooklyn Magazine

Build It Green!NYC partnered with Hannah Kate Flora to give a lucky Brooklyn Magazine reader a dream reuse makeover! Check out the beautiful space after Hannah and Lance installed items found and built at our Gowanus reuse center.

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The Great Brooklyn Apartment Makeover!

All Photos Rory Gunderson Posted Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 8:41 AM


The dark winter months are a very good time to take stock of your home environment. Do you like where you live? Is it comfortable? Does it make you happy? After all, as temperatures drop and blizzards blow through, we all end up spending a bit more time at home... That’s why we invited our readers to submit photos of their spaces (and follow us on Twitter, @BrooklynMag!), for the opportunity to get a full room makeover by salvage and reuse heroes Build It Green! NYC, in cooperation with interior designers Hannah and Lance Villio, of Hannah Kate Flora. Our winner was Bed-Stuy’s Vicki Zubovic, who answered a few questions about the whole crazy process.


We're you nervous about letting people have their way with your apartment?
This may sound odd, but I wasn't. I've lived in my apartment for six years and the room that was made over was the blight of my home. I tried to make it homey, inviting, and comfortable, and it was always the opposite of those things. I figured, ANYTHING was better than I what I'd been unable to do! My friends all thought I was going to get intimately involved in planning the make over. I didn't. That's how I felt BEFORE I met Hannah and Lance. And once I met them, that feeling was magnified. They were incredible to work with. It was easy to trust them because they were such great listeners and so enthusiastic about what they do.

What was the most unexpected thing about the experience?
How quickly they made a ton of stuff happen and how radically different the room was once they were finished. It was incredible how much they made happen with three days of planning and a few hours on site. Not only did they bring and make incredibly beautiful furniture, lighting and accessories, they used a load of my stuff and integrated it into the room. I was also surprised at how much stuff I held onto that they didn't use and that is actually a waste of space. You always hear people who organize and design say, "edit, edit, edit, donate, donate, toss, toss." Well this really taught me you should.

Are you happy with the new room?
Absolutely! Hannah and Lance did the makeover the day before "Sandy" hit. For the next five days, nobody could get to work easily so I worked from home all week. The room was now a REAL home office as well as a place to read, think and relax. And I worked in it the entire time and felt like I was living in a completely new apartment. They created a room that I love being in and my house guests—the family of five arriving for Christmas—are going to love.


The greenhouse gas emissions prevented by our diversion efforts is equivalent to saving 360,000 gallons of gasoline!

Our Food Scrap Drop-off program serviced 1000 households per week in 2015!

Our Big Gives Back program has given away $300,000 worth of materials benefiting NYC's community and environment.

Our Big Blooms program has given away 5,345 pieces of retired lumber to build 2,226 garden beds in over 1,269 community and school gardens.

We processed 765,477 pounds of food scraps and accepted 237,554 pounds of wood chips and leaf matter in 2015! That's over 1 million pounds of organic material diverted from landfills!