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Pop artist KAWS opens up his colorful, art-filled Brooklyn home

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The acclaimed artist fills his family’s home with quirky art

Jason Schmidt/Architectural Digest

If you’re familiar with the work of Brian Donnelly—better known by his artistic nom de plume, KAWS—then it won’t surprise you that his Brooklyn home is filled with colorful sculptures and oversized paintings.

Donnelly, who shares the home with wife Julia Chiang and their two daughters, opened his doors up to Architectural Digest for the mag’s “Living With Art” issue, and indeed, the family is surrounded by work by artists like Raymond Pettibon and Keith Haring.

But don’t expect to see many KAWS pieces—like the “Companion” figure that’s been featured everywhere from the Brooklyn Museum to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—in the space; Donnelly told AD, “I spend all day every day surrounded by my work. When I come home, it’s refreshing to focus on other artists.”

And the rooms aren’t just filled with precious artworks—the couple has also filled the home with pieces by iconic designers like Alvar Aalto, Ettore Sottsass, and Alexander Girard. (They sit alongside a plush seat covered in Donnelly’s blue BFF figurines, which bear a striking resemblance to Sesame Street’s Grover.)

Jason Schmidt/Architectural Digest

Donnelly and Chiang moved into their Brooklyn home—located in a “triangle-shaped industrial building” that’s not far from his Williamsburg studio—several years ago, and worked with contractor Jake Klotz to make the space livable. Donnelly says that buying the home was “a spontaneous purchase,” and that the family wanted to move in as quickly as possible.

One completed, the building served several purposes: it’s home, but also an office space, Chiang’s studio, and a space for art storage.“We made it work for us,” Donnelly told AD. “We have room, we have walls to hang art, and we love the indoor/outdoor space for the kids.”

Jason Schmidt/Architectural Digest