Ceres Ribeiro’s apartment is nothing short of glam—her sweet New Jersey home is filled with white but balanced with bright colors and metallic finishes. And best of all is the beautiful natural light!
Ceres moved to the U.S. from Brazil to pursue an education at Montclair State University, where she studied finance by day and served as a bartender by night. With no knowledge of English, she watched one of America’s favorite shows (Friends!) to learn. After completing school, she landed a temp job at Bloomberg L.P., where she still works today as a business intelligence analyst. She may work a very corporate job, but her creative side is evident in her home—she loves a good bargain!
Keep reading to find out more about Ceres’ transition from Brazil to the U.S., how she worked hard to follow her dreams, and how she decorated her beautiful space!
Name: Ceres Ribeiro
Current job/company: Business Intelligence Analyst at Bloomberg L.P.
Education: Finance, Montclair State University
You came to the United States from Brazil to learn English and learn about American culture. What was most challenging during the transition? The most interesting?
What I found to be challenging was the language barrier and the weather, of course! When I first arrived I didn’t speak a word of English for the first six months, which made me feel completely alienated. It took me some time and a lot of Friends episodes until I finally started picking up the language. Coming from a sunshine country, you don’t realize how much the constant sunlight and warm temperatures is important to you until you are in below freezing temperatures with gray skies for almost six months. It’s definitely something that I think I will never get used to!
The exposure to different cultures that we have here in the States, especially in the New York City and New Jersey area, compared to the small town I grew up in Brazil, I found to be most interesting. It is so great to be surrounded by many different cultures, which definitely inspire my creative side.
You originally planned to visit the U.S. for only three months. What made you decide to stay?
Opportunities. Coming from a developing country, I really appreciate the opportunities that this country offered me. If you put your mind to it, anyone can be successful here. It takes hard work and persistence, but you can make it. I came from a very poor family in Brazil so pushing myself to leave my home and move to another country with a new language and customs was already a miracle to me. Making it as far as I did was definitely more than I could have imagined and I’m thankful every day for it.
What is one piece of your culture that you will always hold near and dear?
How happy and humble Brazilians are. No matter the day-to-day struggles in life, Brazilians are always finding ways to be happy and enjoy the little things in life.
What was your first job out of school? How did you land it?
A friend referred me to a temp position at the firm that I work for now. Ultimately, they needed someone that spoke Portuguese as one of the requirements.
You’re a business intelligence analyst at Bloomberg L.P. What is a typical day for you?
A typical day starts off with breakfast, reviewing trends in the market that affect our clients, collaborating with other teams and creating reports that are presented to upper management. Our office has great perks! Our office has a great sit down pantry, which allows me to sit, relax and catch up on what is happening on Instagram during lunch.
Let’s chat about your home! You have owned your space for about six months. What was the apartment hunt like? What about this one stuck out to you?
This was the first apartment that caught my eye when I started searching for a place to buy. It was beautiful with marble countertops, dark hardwood floors, and floor to ceiling windows. However, it was over my budget and I wasn’t looking for a two bedroom since I was single at the time and didn’t need all the space.
Fast forward a year later, two failed contracts with other apartments, the apartment was still on the market at a better price, and now I was engaged. Once I saw it, I took my fiancé there and I knew it was meant to be. We made an offer, and three and a half months later on New Year’s Eve, we became homeowners.
We love your glam style! How did you decorate your space?
I’m a planner. I started planning the decor as soon as the apartment hunt began. I spent hours looking for inspiration—viewing every single home tour on TheEverygirl and searching through numerous pictures on Pinterest. I visited thrift and vintage stores in search of unique pieces, especially Lucite & Brass (I’m kind of obsessed!). I found a vintage bar cart that I now use as my nightstand, as well as a beautiful round brass side table that I had no idea what to do with, but it was so beautiful that I had to have it. The rest came together after we moved in, but I am always looking to change things around and finding additional unique decorative items.
You really tried to keep your space budget friendly. What was key in staying on-budget?
Researching the best deals and IKEA hacks! I really wanted ghost chairs, but I couldn’t pay the full price. I researched and found look-a-likes for a much better price. I also love the concept of IKEA hacks—well, I love IKEA period. Finding budget friendly items that fit the need I am looking for from IKEA, assembling them, and adding my own custom touches like a coat of spray paint or nice knobs. You can totally transform and make a piece look more expensive and unique.
What is your favorite thing about your space?
How bright it is. We have floor to ceiling windows in every room, and it just makes the whole apartment so bright! I also love the contrast of the white walls with the dark wood floors. To balance the dark wood floors, I kept the decor just as bright—all the main pieces in white with accents of gold and mirrored pieces.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I focused so much energy and put so much work into my career in my twenties that I really want to focus on family now (we are planning to have a baby soon!). I would also like to get involved with something more creative. During my wedding planning, I was involved with so many creative and talented people: florist, calligrapher, photographer, etc. that it really opened my eyes to so many other things I could be doing.
What’s your life motto?
Hard work pays off. I was on my own at a very young age, and had to start working to be able to support myself. Sometimes I had two and three jobs and barely any time for myself. I also bartended my way through college. I feel that education is key to success, so I made it a goal to graduate college in the US. Even though it took me a while, because of the move here and having to learn another language, I never gave up on my dream.
I definitely experienced a lot of ups and downs, but looking back now, all the hours of hard work that I put in my twenties has paid off. I never imagined that I would be where I am today! It’s such a great feeling when you actually accomplished much more than what you dreamt of.
Ceres is The Everygirl…
Reality TV and Chick fil A. Why does fried chicken taste so good?
Favorite way to unwind?
Changing things around the house. Every weekend I like to wake up early, have a cup of coffee, and change things around. I change my coffee table arrangement as well as all the accessories around the house. When I finish I feel like I have a brand new house!
Dream design project?
Would love the chance to work with Nate Berkus or Jonathan Adler. They are my favorite designers!
Best advice you’ve ever received?
To be patient and trust the timing of your life. I used to get very frustrated when things were not happening the way I wanted. Thankfully, I have friends that always encourage me to be patient and assure me that I am on the right track. They told me that things would happen when it was the right time.
Console, IKEA bookcase used as console table
Gold lamp, Hobby Lobby
Table, IKEA (spray painted gold)
Round side table, vintage
Rug, Shades of Light
Bookcase Accessories, Homegoods
Buddha Candle, Thompson Ferrier
Leopard pillows, Little Design Co.
Gold pillows: Caitlin Wilson Textile
Tom Ford Book: Amazon
Art: Pages taken from coffee table books
Monogram jewelry box, CWonder
Ampersand sign, CWonder
Glass canister, Crate and Barrel
Gold bowl, Target
Gallery wall frames, IKEA
Sunburst mirror, Home Depot
Pink pillows: H&M Home
Palm pillows, Little Design Co.
Monogram jewelry box, CWonder
Bed Covers, Pottery Barn