When Linda Findley Kozlowski moved from San Francisco to New York to become COO of Etsy, she didn’t bring much in the way of furniture.
Instead, she packed up the family heirlooms, bought a condo in Chelsea, and began hunting down chairs and paintings across multiple states, sellers, and aesthetics to get the full experience of shopping on Etsy.
Couch and Coffee Table by House; Sweater Vest by ; Blanket by .
From both a design and a business perspective, you could call it a success.
“I love that I can tell you a story about everything in my home: where I got it, who made it, how it was designed and conceived,” Linda said. “I’ve always had a strong philosophy of owning fewer things and having them be really meaningful and special. I’m a minimalist who does not like minimalism that is a lack of character or self-expression.”
Salt and Pepper by ; Appetizer Plate by ; Bud Vase by
Minimalism for Linda translates to the usual—clean white walls, light woods, and soft textures—but also dramatic portraits of Jimi Hendrix album covers and statement chandeliers.
To anchor the home, she started with a handmade walnut bed with Danish weave by a seller out of Seattle. Like most of the pieces in her new home, it’s completely custom. Linda adjusted the height of the bed and headboard to fit the wall and accommodate her 5’10 frame.
“I feel like we’ve been trained that what you see is what you get. There’s a selection of things in the world and you choose one of things that's supposed to be it,” Linda said. With Etsy, “You aren’t restricted on everything. You have the the chance to co-create something with someone.”
Dresser by ; Cow Photo by ; Lamps by ; Rug by ; Desk by ; Nightstands by ; Chair by ; Bed by
Linda encourages shoppers to ask sellers what they can adjust, or find a maker who designs something similar to your vision and see how you can collaborate. Think about dimensions and how you plan to use the piece.
As a lover of dinner and breakfast parties, Linda worked with a seller in Oregon to create a taller and narrower version of their solid walnut dining table. Taller so “no one ever hits their knees” and narrower to create a sense of intimacy—and “because this is New York.”
Dresser by ; Mirror by ; Chair by
In that same vein, the couch was custom-created by Croft House to fit around the corner and accommodate 15 or so guests—if everyone gets cozy. The coffee table, also custom-made by Croft House, is one of the home’s more quiet pieces.
“It’s more about bringing people around as opposed to having it being a dominant feature,” Linda said.
Vase and Bottles by ; Concrete Tissue Box Holder by .
Cali influences shine through at several points, although Linda worked to strike a balance of modern organic and minimalism that felt right for her downtown home. She removed all of the molding and baseboard and brought in light wood floors to get the cleanest possible backdrop for her furniture and art. She chose dark charcoal in the kitchen for contrast, and offset the coldness of the cement ceiling with a drop chandelier of glass, gold and wicker.
Light Fixture by ; Table and Bench by ; Table and Bench by ; Vintage Candle holders by ; Buffet Cabinet by Sapienza Design
Of course, not everything in the home came from Etsy. The 130-year-old Tibetan cabinet, currently functioning as a bar in the living room, has journeyed with Linda ever since she purchased it four years ago in Hong Kong. On top, the port and sherry set originally belonged to her grandparents and were then passed down to her mother.
Having pieces like these to remind you where you came from “bring you back out of stress and just say, ‘Tap, tap, tap—pay attention to this. This is important,” Linda says.
Vintage West Bend Ice Bucket by .
A new and meaningful addition to Linda’s life is her pup Mulligan, a rescue who is also deaf. Linda may have customized her furniture with care—but Mulligan helps keep her from getting precious about the pieces.
“One of the things he does is run laps around the sofa. So that’s kind of his exercise track,” Linda said.
Floating Shelves by ; Dog Bed by ; Artwork by
As COO, Linda has picked up many shopping tips and tricks, like using the “favorite” tool on Etsy to create lists that function as mood boards and asking makers to point you to other designers of similar aesthetics.
Working at Etsy seems partly like a free pass to collect as many tchotchkes as seemingly possible, but that’s not Linda’s style. Her home is devoid of clutter and junk drawers—exercising restraint, albeit with temptation.
"This might be the most dangerous job in the world," she laughed.