Brooklyn's Urban Cowboy B&B Brings the Southwest to East Williamsburg

Urban Cowboy's Kanoono Cabin © Ben Fitchett
By M. Elizabeth Sheldon Posted October 01, 2014

A new Brooklyn bed and breakfast perfectly captures the current Southwest-meets-reclaimed industrial design zetigeist, with great snacks to boot.

With the exception of the massive, perpetually packed Wythe Hotel, Williamsburg has long been a ghost town when it comes to stylish hotel rooms. Now a new bed and breakfast has sprung up in residential East Williamsburg that perfectly captures the current Southwest-meets-reclaimed industrial design zetigeist, with great snacks to boot. Called Urban Cowboy, the five-room inn is the passion project of Lyon Porter, a real estate developer who originally set out to convert the property into his home, but changed his mind after visiting Maderas Village, a low-key, community hangout and hostel in Nicaragua.

Porter and interior designer Renee Mee have converted an otherwise non-descript townhouse into an urban oasis that looks like the home of somebody's incredibly cool aunt in Santa Fe, complete with a separate cabin out back (next to the woodchopping station) that comes with its own wood-burning stove and clawfoot tub. The first floor is one huge open space, a combination living room and subway-tiled kitchen with massive garage doors on either end, which are left open on nice days. Upstairs, minimalist rooms feature beautiful exposed ceiling beams and have names like "Vision Quest" and the "Lion Master's Den." Dreamcatchers, Southwestern-print blankets and a chandelier composed of antlers are a given. A massive pine tree covers most of the entrance, but a defunct light-up road sign shaped like an arrow pointing towards the entrance is a dead giveaway that this isn't another Italian-American nonna's house.

Innkeeper Jersey Banks (who lists "ranch hand" among her job titles) puts together a daily breakfast spread from local Brooklyn vendors, including pastries from Colson Patisserie and super creamy yogurt made by White Moustache. Guests are encouraged to mingle and cook together, and the garden has already housed a number of bbqs and dinner parties. For Banks, the most important part is that the space and its guests feel like a part of the nieghborhood. "We don't have a TV in the living room, because we want people to interact and go out and explore the neighborhood," says Banks. "Visitors are so familiar now with all the waterfront development that they forget this area is still considered Williamsburg, but we're only four blocks from the BQE. This isn't a condo. It's a whole different animal, and I think the neighborhood has really embraced us because of that."

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