At Home With Seamus Mullen

A peek inside the Tertulia chef’s Brooklyn loft

By Laura Itzkowitz

Published on May 2, 2015

Seamus Mullen, chef-owner of Tertulia, El Colmado, and Sea Containers at Mondrian London, has filled the airy Dumbo loft he and his wife Lynn Juang share with family heirlooms, specialty knives, and rare spirits. As the tattooed chef opens the door, he reveals an expertly curated apartment, where antiques mingle with modern design elements. Seamus grew up on an organic farm in Vermont, though he may have gotten his impeccable sense of style from his grandfather who, as the editor-in-chief of Sunset magazine for forty years, embodied sophisticated West Coast living. It's easy to see the many influences on Seamus's taste, from his upbringing to his travels in Spain, which served as the inspiration for Tertulia and El Colmado. From custom slate cheese boards to vintage school chairs, here are some of his favorite finds.

Laura is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher whose words have appeared in Travel + Leisure, Departures, and Refinery29, among others. She is the co-author of a forthcoming guide to New York City's hidden bars and restaurants and wrote the Williamsburg and Greenpoint guides in Fodor's forthcoming Brooklyn book. She likes her gin shaken, not stirred.

Chef Seamus Mullen in his Dumbo loft.
In the open plan loft, the kitchen blends seamlessly into the living and dining areas. The French country dining table was passed down from Seamus’s grandmother, who got it from Chuck Williams, founder of Williams Sonoma. When Seamus opened Tertulia, he managed to find a whole lot of vintage Heywood Wakefield school chairs (sans bubblegum) and smuggled a few extras home. Farmhouse rectangular dining table, $1,995 at
In the morning, Seamus and Lynn grind beans from their neighbors at the Brooklyn Roasting Company. “The day doesn’t start unless there’s coffee,” Lynn says. Three-cup classic Chemex coffee pot, $37.50 at and Colombia Santa Barbara roast, $13 at
Seamus tends to cook a lot in deeper pans, like these copper pots and pans by Mauviel and Bourgeat. They hang on a pot rack he made using copper plumbing fixtures. Mauviel copper and stainless steel sauté pan, from $230 at
Seamus collects rare knives, including a Swedish mushroom-cleaning knife, an Icelandic knife with a handle made from a reindeer’s horn, Japanese hunting knives, and pocket knives. Mushroom knife, $110 at
He also collects antique meat grinders, like this German Alexanderwerk grinder from the early 20th century. Vintage Alexanderwerk meat grinder, $230 at
He brought the mortar and pestle back from Barcelona. “Everyone in Spain has one and they all look like that—yellow with green splotches,” he said. He uses it to make vinaigrette with anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, honey mustard, and olive oil. Traditional yellow mortar and pestle, $14.95 at
When they host dinner parties, Seamus and Lynn break out the Minton English china inherited from his grandmother. The gold-plated flatware is a vintage set purchased at Chelsea’s Antiques Garage flea market (now closed). Vintage Minton Fine Bone China Dinner Plates, $12 each at
They like to mix things up with these modern brass serving bowls by London-based designer Tom Dixon. Set of 5 bowls, $90 at
When Seamus opened Tertulia, Lynn had slate cheese boards by the Brooklyn Slate Company engraved for the opening staff. The knife was a wedding gift from Seamus’s childhood friend. It was fashioned by a knife-maker in Vermont, where Seamus grew up. Slate cheese board, from $28 at
Seamus keeps plenty of wine and liquor on hand. Some of these bottles are quite rare, like the Santa Teresa 1796 rum, Saccone’s Oloroso sherry, and Salvador del Obispo, an aged Spanish cider similar to Calvados. Santa Teresa 1796 rum, $35.99 at
Among the pantry staples always on hand are Chinese black vinegar, Yu Yee rice cooking wine, Gochujang fermented chili paste, and soy sauce. Gochujang hot sauce collection, $37 at
Seamus favors spice blends by La Boîte à Épices. He collaborated with owner Lior Lez Sercaz on the Moruno N. 21 (a blend of coriander, cumin, saffron, and other spices) which gives a modern twist to the classic pintxo moruno, a North African-influenced Spanish dish. Moruno N. 21, $15 at

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