LIFESTYLE

This Brooklyn Home Feels Like a Book-Filled Cabin in the Woods

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Adam Roberts house tour

Adam Roberts house tour

My friend Adam Roberts — a cookbook author with a funny food newsletter — always reminds me of a Disney prince. He’s charming with a huge smile, and he’ll play your favorite song on the piano. Adam lives with his equally lovely filmmaker husband, Craig Johnson, in a cabin-like house in Brooklyn. Here’s a look inside…

KITCHEN

Adam Roberts Brooklyn house tour

Adam, left; Craig, right

On moving from L.A. to New York: We were in the market for a house in L.A. when I suddenly got bitten by the bug of moving back to New York. I’d grown up in New York and missed it, so instead we started looking for places here. My husband had all this criteria for an L.A. house — nature, lots of natural light, etc. — so when we found this rental, we felt like we’d found our dream L.A. house in Brooklyn.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On embracing the seasons: I almost feel guilty describing all the things I love about this house, because it’s so unusual to have them in New York: a bedroom surrounded by trees, a porch where I can grow tomatoes, a kitchen that looks onto a garden. In the winter, I made pasta while watching the snow fall, and this spring, I was baking strawberry-rhubarb pie and looking out at the pink tree. It’s an absolute dream to live here.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On vintage finds: I’m a bit obsessive about vintage plates and platters, and I look for them on Etsy and eBay. My midcentury flour and sugar canisters are almost 70 years old; they have so much history and character.

Adam Roberts House Tour

Cake stand: Food52, similar.

On a cookbook collection: I love cookbooks so much that the biggest fights we have in our marriage comes down to me buying more when our shelves are already overflowing. But I like how cookbooks can surprise you — for example, I’m reading one called Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules, a Ukrainian food writer who lives in London. It’s all about food from Ukraine which is very moving, obviously, because of the war. I’d already made pickled plums, but as I was flipping through, there was a recipe for sourdough bread, and I was like, What is this, the pandemic? But she uses dark rye flour, so I was inspired to make some.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On cooking at home: My husband Craig loves my cavatappi with sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans, roast chicken with root vegetables, and seared scallops with citrus risotto. But I’m more of a dessert guy. My favorite is Amanda Hesser’s almond cake, which I’ve made for years, and I like making apple pie in the fall.

DINING AREA

Adam Roberts House Tour

Dining table: CB2, similar.

On low-stress entertaining: My dream is to have everything done before people arrive, since that makes for the most fun dinner party. I make the dessert the day before. The morning of, I’ll start seasoning or brining. If it’s wintertime, you can make a stew ahead, and it will only get better the longer it sits in the fridge. If I feel social anxiety at a dinner party, I’ll creep off to the kitchen to take a break. That said — as I’ve gotten more relaxed and taken more Lexapro — I’ve become more comfortable with people joining me and helping me cook.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On displaying treasures: Craig collects miniature creatures. He’s like Kathy Bates in Misery — remember when she realized the guy got out of bed because her ceramic penguin was rotated 40 degrees? Craig will be like, Someone moved my toy frog!

LIVING AREA

Adam Roberts House Tour

Sofa: Bloomingdale’s, similar.

On a couch work-around: When our moving truck arrived, we realized we couldn’t pivot our couch through the front door. So, I emergency-called the Couch Doctor. They ripped the fabric off and took the wood apart — it looked like they were destroying our couch! But when they brought it inside and it back together, it looked incredible.

On watching movies: As a filmmaker, Craig is obsessed with the Criterion Channel. Meanwhile, I could spend all afternoon watching America’s Test Kitchen. I’m also into Downton Abbey; it’s so cozy and classy.

Adam Roberts House Tour

Arc lamp: CB2. Arm chair: Macy’s, similar.

On a conversation-starter: Craig and I went to Barcelona 15 years ago and ate at a restaurant with work by the artist Sergio Mora. All the paintings were of anthropomorphized body parts — say, a heart with a face — and we thought they were funny and cute. So, for Christmas, I reached out to the artist, who sent me a spreadsheet of all his paintings. I told Craig that he could choose one, and there were hearts and legs and brains, but he said, I want the penis painting! I was like, do you really want a giant painting of a penis with a face and an umbrella in our living room? And he said, yes, yes, I do.

Record cabinet: HD Buttercup.

On musical rituals: On Sunday mornings, our ritual is to get the New York Times and play records and drink coffee. Craig plays his record player with as much passion as I play the piano. If I buy a lot of cookbooks, he buys a lot of records, so we’re kind of tit for tat. Going to a record store and thumbing through albums feels so good — like, oh, I didn’t expect to find this random Kinks records from 1971.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On performing for friends: I’ve played the piano by ear my whole life. I’m not a professional musician, but I used to play at bar mitzvahs. It brings me a lot of joy to have a piano in our home. I try not to force people to sing, but on Christmas, I play carols, and when Broadway friends come over, I’ll play showtunes. My retirement plan is to become the piano player at Marie’s Crisis.

PRIMARY BEDROOM

Adam Roberts House Tour

On a cozy spot: Our bedroom is the dreamiest house in the house. The light that pours through the windows in the morning is spectacular.

Adam Roberts House Tour

Bed with bookcase footboard: Crate and Barrel, similar. Bedside lamps: Crate and Barrel.

On beloved books: We’ve always had a bed with a bookshelf at the base. I’m a big fan of John Lahr, the former theater critic for The New Yorker. He wrote a biography called Prick Up Your Ears and a book about his father called Notes on a Cowardly Lion. I love George Saunders — his book A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is one of my favorites. I also love Nora Ephron.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On writing: I just sold my own novel called Food Person, which is coming out summer 2025! It’s about an aspiring food writer in her 20s who reluctantly takes a job ghost-writing a celebrity’s cookbook. My main character is a bit of a lost soul, and the celebrity is a hot mess, and it’s about their relationship and how they ultimately help each other. Our pitch is that it’s The Devil Wears Prada meets The Bear. We’re pitching it to Hollywood right now.

Adam Roberts House Tour

Linens: Cultiver.

On modern art: I bought this print from the MoMA gift shop with my dad twenty years ago. It’s a photo of a dollar store, but you might think you’re looking at a watercolor landscape from farther away; then as you get closer, you’re like, wait this is just a bunch of crap, like gum and candy bars.

BACK PATIO

Adam Roberts House Tour

On a sweet rescue: Winston is the greatest dog in the world. We found him at a rescue place in L.A. He looked up at me so sweetly, so I called Craig, who held him; and even thought he wasn’t as much in the lets-get-a-dog camp as I was, Craig started crying because he thought Winston was so cute. We brought him home, and he’s the most lovable dog. The only annoying thing is that if he gets too hot on a walk, he puts all his weight on his back legs and will not budge. I have to carry him like a bride over the threshold.

Adam Roberts House Tour

On a meet-cute: Craig and I met in grad school at NYU. He looked at my profile on Friendster, and I wrote to him with the subject ‘Mysterious Stranger.’ We had dinner at a French restaurant on April 8, 2006, and our connection was immediate. We were looking for exactly the same thing at exactly the same time — I was looking for someone to cook for, and he was looking for someone to cook for him.

Adam Roberts House Tour

Thank you, Adam and Craig! We adore you both.

P.S. Many more house tours, including a family’s downsized dream home and a colorful apartment for book lovers.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)





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