Sacred Spaces: Inside 'Evil' Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef's Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

This story is featured within the January/February 2024 problem of ESSENCE.

The Black home holds a big place in our historical past. On the core of this area is our particular person id of Blackness. It’s our interpretation of Black tradition—no matter meaning for us and for our households.

For a lot of, the expertise of rising up in a Black dwelling contains glittering reminiscences of Black art. Black ephemera. Black folks in the neighborhood, carrying generational traditions ahead. Black holidays. Black spirituality. Black lectures given by militant Black mother and father and grandparents—reminding us that in America, our Blackness is each a present and a curse.

Sacred Spaces: Inside ‘Evil’ Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef’s Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

Even with a housing system predicated on systemic racism, and Black homeownership charges in 2023 lagging manner behind Asian, Hispanic and White Individuals, the Black dwelling—owned, borrowed or rented—is a sacred area. Black households have a deep and really private relationship with an surroundings that ideally offers consolation and nourishment.

Brooklyn-based screenwriter Nialla LeBouef is aware of the significance of curating your own home to supply that sense of tranquility. After dwelling in an ornate nineteenth century–type Victorian dwelling in Ditmas Park, she fell in love together with her current abode, a sunlit walk-up in a brownstone throughout the borough. Simply seeing a photograph of the area in 2019, she knew it had immense potential. “The bed room has this lovely crown molding,” she says of the spacious sanctuary the place she feels secure, heat and, most vital, at peace.

The focal piece within the room is a inexperienced four-poster mattress that she discovered on Craigslist, her playground for off-kilter furnishings and residential decor. LeBouef doesn’t imagine in placeholder furnishings, so if she decides to purchase new, she should be certain she’s buying items she loves. “I’m in an area now the place I’m capable of simply sit, and assume,” she says, “and take the time to determine what I like.”  

Sacred Spaces: Inside ‘Evil’ Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef’s Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

There’s floral wallpaper. Cabinets stacked with books. An vintage blush sofa with a framed, painted bouquet positioned immediately above it. However the star of the area is her theatrical launch Daughters of the Mud poster—a present from her father, a former actor and cinephile who launched his prodigy to ­cinema once they have been younger. “I didn’t get cash, however I obtained actually unimaginable Black film memorabilia,” she jokes.

“I had a formative cinematic upbringing,”LeBouef continues, reflecting on her childhood in Washington, D.C. “When my dad wasn’t working, he was giving me what he known as his model of movie faculty. Film nights consisted of dramas and historic epics, Japanese cinema and movies from varied international locations in Africa. I obtained to satisfy Kasi Lemmons, the director of Eve’s Bayou, considered one of my all-time favourite movies. She even signed my VHS copy.”

LeBouef purposely positioned the poster for the Julie Sprint movie adjoining to her desk. “I can sit and write and search for on the film’s lead actress, Cora Lee Day,” she says. “She seems susceptible but in addition extraordinarily highly effective. It’s inspiring.”

Inspiration is a key ingredient of LeBouef’s quirky aesthetic. She credit her work on the Paramount+ authentic collection and supernatural thriller Evil with giving her the means and suppleness to lastly design an area that seems like dwelling.

Sacred Spaces: Inside ‘Evil’ Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef’s Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

“For me, dwelling just isn’t the place you grew up or the place you spent probably the most time,” she says. “It’s really wherever you are feeling snug sufficient to nest. I don’t must see myself and my Blackness in all the things, however I do wish to see all the things I like.”  

LeBouef references a framed drawing of a crying woman hanging in her lounge, sketched by a Black artist identified for body-horror artwork. Horror is her favourite style. Mockingly, it’s the only real class of cinema that her mother and father prohibited her from watching when she was rising up. 

“I’m a really delicate particular person, so naturally I used to be drawn to this piece,” she says of the art work. “In remedy I discovered that I’m a crier, and that’s okay. For a very long time, I lived my life being informed how one can assume, how one can really feel and what to be excited by—to the purpose the place I’m now realizing that I’ve created small rebellions for myself by sticking with my pursuits. And that feels so unimaginable.”  

In the lounge, there’s an ornamental fire and rows of wood and steel string cabinets, an funding LeBouef stares at daily. “They make me so comfortable,” she says of the Scandinavian storage system she discovered about on Pinterest. Customized-made, life-size angel wings soar on the wall, draped by a felt banner from 1948 with “Washington, D.C.” on it: “Once I have a look at it, it jogs my memory that I’m an angel from D.C.”

Sacred Spaces: Inside ‘Evil’ Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef’s Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

LeBouef jokingly calls this part of her dwelling Belief Fund French. “When curating this area, I used to be actually impressed by the interiors of French residences,” she explains. “The gorgeous, super-decorated, very elaborate designs you have a look at and assume, I do know you might have cash, and your loved ones has cash too. I don’t have a belief fund, however I’m going to fake like I do.”  

A lover of classic gems, from a powder blue leather-based Ikea sofa made within the eighties to an enormous poster for the 1967 drama Belle de Jour, LeBouef is intentional about filling her area with issues that give it the appear and feel she needs.

“Get up in what you want,” she advises. “Don’t let anyone let you know that it’s outdated or no one’s going to understand it. Experiment together with your area, and don’t be afraid to actually lean into your pursuits. Sit with your self, have a look at all of your assets and be sure you present up in every single place. You’ll really feel so a lot better whenever you don’t play by another person’s guidelines.”

Nialla’s House Edit

Vintage Iron Four-Poster Bed “I’ve dreamed of an vintage, cast-iron four-poster mattress since I came upon what they have been. Maybe it’s my insistent want for fantasy. These beds simply scream it.” (One fashionable model is the Body Black Iron Cover Mattress, $700, CB2.com)

Design Within Reach String Wall Shelving “Customizable, straightforward to assemble and actually distinctive, these cabinets have been considered one of my first huge purchases. They utterly reworked my lounge.”($555, dwr.com)

Sacred Spaces: Inside ‘Evil’ Screenwriter Nialla LeBouef’s Home In A Brooklyn Brownstone
Marisa Langley

Mociun Beer Spill “I like pretend meals as decor. It’s a enjoyable fake-out for mates who go to me. The little pool of resin jogs my memory of scorching faculty nights.” ($35, mociun.com)

Navet Clamp Tray “This versatile tray is nice for displaying any merchandise. Ever since I clamped it to my Ikea stool by the window, my plant has flourished.” (about $97, navet-shop.myshopify.com)

Pictures by Marisa Langley


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