How actor Jamie Chung refreshed his outdoor space in Brooklyn

Do you have any advice for first-time renovators?

Start by looking at the furniture you have. Instead of throwing old things away, there are great ways to reuse them, especially if they’re made of wood. It just requires a bit of filler and sanding, and it’s suddenly the ultimate DIY project. From there, I would recommend making a Pinterest board. There are reasons why all the experts do it. Seeing and visualizing things really helps you focus on what you need and how and what will work together. Measurements are also very important. I usually put blue duct tape on the floor because sometimes things happen and now it’s just as you imagined.

The original backyard layout of Jamie Chung’s condo, before the renovation.

Photo: American Express

Did you encounter any difficulties and how did you overcome them?

My challenge is to live in New York. Currently there is scaffolding in our backyard. We have a pretty decent sized space, but it’s so ugly. I wondered, how can I make it a shrine? I was like, shit! I’ll use the scaffolding to my advantage. I hung up some tealight candles and bought some really cool sheets to kind of do it. I used what was against me to my advantage for my decoration and it really worked.

How did you and your husband get in sync on the space vision?

Bryan was very receptive to what I thought was perfect in the garden. He pointed out that we needed a place for our grill. He also helped by building our dining room table with my father-in-law. We used all this wood from a separate home improvement project and instead of throwing it away, we recycled it and bought a sealer from Home Depot. We ended up with a nice table and benches.

What’s your favorite part of the garden makeover?

In the before photos, it was stuffed full of all that furniture that didn’t work. It was a mess, so we made a food centric place. It’s much more cohesive now and easier for guests to see each other, talk and mingle over drinks.

Do you have other projects inside and outside the house on the horizon?

There is the front of our house, which we want to make a seating area. It’s a nice amount of space and I think we want to add a wall garden. This is definitely next on our list.

I’m also working with Zack Snyder on his next animation and it’s loosely based on Norse mythology. Also, there is a show on Apple TV+ called Mr Corman that you can catch me. It was written, directed and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. There is also Dexter which comes out in the fall.