The first time Shelly Lynch-Sparks laid eyes on Anna Maltezos, she was performing in improv onstage. "She was totally my type," says Lynch-Sparks. "Brunette, dark eyes. olive complexion, tat sleeves." One afterparty and a martini later, they went on their first date. "We've been together ever since," she says.
Two months later, Maltezos — now a writer and producer for Sirius XM Radio—moved into Lynch-Sparks’s Lower East Side studio. "The apartment was literally a fucking box," says Lynch-Sparks, an interior designer who recently launched her own company Hyphen. "It was all Ikea and furniture I pulled off the street and a John Lennon poster. After I proposed, we knew we needed to upgrade to more space asap."
And upgrade they did. Following their "traditionally non-traditional destination" 100-person wedding in Vieques, Puerto Rico, the two moved across the bridge to a luxury building on the waterfront in South Williamsburg.
"We love vintage furniture," says Lynch-Sparks, "so we spent a lot of time scouring the Brooklyn Flea for one-of-a-kind pieces. We bought this beautiful mid-century chair from an old Italian man and recovered it in leather with velvet piping."
The finished space, a 700-square-foot gem overlooking Manhattan is a study in contrasts: a light, airy cocoon of statement pieces, dark woods and unexpected ethnic and floral finishes.
"Anna gives me a lot of freedom to experiment with design," says Lynch-Sparks. "Our space is full of plants and blacks and grays, but also a soft color palette. We love mixing masculines and feminines."
And one thing is certain: They have no plans to move anytime soon. "Most nights you can find us on our balcony drinking whiskey and listening to bluegrass and chilling with our Chihuahua and Russian Blue cat," says Lynch-Sparks. "We love where we live."
Here, Lynch-Sparks fills in the blanks of our "After I Do" mad lib:
Before I got married my apartment was kind of a mix between DIY carpentry and Ikea. I lived with Chloe, my BFF, and I spent most of my time never at home—always working or going out. I live on the LES before all the best places closed, and it was still a neighborhood.
Boy, was it fun when I moved in with Anna.
When it comes to art, I’m all about original pieces. My partner prefers the same.
The most beloved piece of art we own is four neighborhood prints from Knowlita.
The first dinner party we threw together was what is now our annual holiday party. We invited our closest friends and cooked beef brisket. The one thing I regret was too much bourbon (the only rule was (and still is) you have to come with a bottle of bourbon).
On a typical Monday evening, we can be found taking a boxing class and cooking dinner together. Saturday afternoons are for an outdoor adventure, and on Sundays we always listen to records, play guitar, drink wine, and play Scrabble on the balcony or watch football with friends.
We mostly shop for furniture in vintage stores. The most expensive piece we’ve purchased was our kitchen light fixtures, which came from Barn Light Electric. I would spend my life savings on lighting.
The thing Anna is most attached to from single life is a hutch she found on the street. She will never get rid of it. I keep it tucked away in the back corner of our living room.
The five items you will always find in our refrigerator are good wine, La Croix, everything to make a full cheese plate, fresh fruit, and mochi ice cream.
The five items you will always find in our medicine cabinet are Fresh Beauty everything, Real Purity Deodorant, Acure face wash, retinol, and melatonin.
I absolutely cannot get in bed at night without using my Fresh nectar mask on my face.
The registry item we can't live without is our Boos block cutting board.
Our favorite rooms in the house are the kitchen and living room because we entertain and cook constantly. We spend a lot of time with each other there.
When it comes to housework, I am the one who always makes the bed. My partner, on the other hand, insists on doing laundry. The one thing we can’t agree on is putting away our clothes at the same time.
The three best organizational tricks I've learned are vertical storage is everything, use labels, and use storage bins for everything from linens to keepsakes.
When it comes to money, our biggest challenge is how to save for a house. We both love to spend on travel and are always on a plane somewhere.
The most important piece of advice I would give to newlyweds is appreciate the small things and never take your partner for granted. Never, ever compromise when it comes to the way you feel. Silence and passive aggression get you nowhere.
In ten years, we hope for our home to be larger and even cozier, filled with tons of wild children and love.
My design aesthetic is three words is feminine/masculine, vintage mid-century, and eclectic. My partner’s is bold, soft, and vintage-eclectic.
Our most memorable fight at Ikea was about which horrible dresser to buy.
One thing no one knows about our home is that I installed most of the woodwork myself.
See more newlywed homes:
How Three Couples Share One Brooklyn Home
A Bohemian Haven in a Brooklyn Townhouse, Built by Newlyweds
How a Creative Couple Combined Their Homes After Marriage