The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly series on interior design and renovation in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s written and produced by Cara Greenberg, who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun and Profit. Find it here every Thursday at 11:30AM.
FROM A BEACH HOUSE in Santa Monica to a landmarked 1886 brownstone in Brooklyn: that’s the leap the owners of this one-family townhouse made, and many of their furnishings made it with them. “Making the house’s original detail and the clients’ cheerful graphic furnishings all work together was a blast,” says designer Lyndsay Caleo, who pulled together existing pieces with new paint colors, wall coverings, and other finishing touches.
Caleo is a partner in The Brooklyn Home Company, whose unique approach to development begins with the purchase and renovation of townhouse properties (they’ve done some dozen to date, and have a couple of new-construction projects in the works). The jobs generally include custom built-ins and cabinetry by Fitzhugh Karol, a sculptor, and often do not end until the home is furnished and decorated to the last detail by Caleo, TBHCo‘s in-house designer.
Here, there was just one major layout change, on the second floor. It had been chopped into four rooms and now consists of a master bedroom and new bath, two double closets, and a hot pink sitting room. The floors were mismatched throughout the house; TBHCo dyed them black and sealed them with a dark sealant to yield a rich chocolate brown.
The homeowners, he in the music business and she in fashion, wanted existing moldings and woodwork preserved, including a great deal of what Caleo calls ‘cake molding,’ the raised plaster detail on stairwell walls and ceiling friezes. “The fun challenge,” she says, “was bringing breath and lightness to a house that had been painted heavy maroon and gold, and making it feel relevant and contemporary.”
See and read more after the jump.
Photos: Emily Gilbert
Ralph Lauren’s Surrey, a dark charcoal, makes a dramatic statement in the main hallway and enhances the intricate plaster decoration on the walls. The walls themselves have a matte finish, the woodwork semi-gloss.
The front parlor of the 20′x50′ house became the living room. The white walls are papered with a subtle Greek key motif. The Metro sofa from Room and Board was imported from the California beach house. The green stools are from Jonathan Adler, the coffee table from Design Public, the rug Madeline Weinrib.
The dining room furnishings, in the central parlor, came with the homeowners from California. The rug is Madeline Weinrib.
The kitchen fitted into the back of the parlor floor has new cabinetry, a countertop made of sapele (an African hardwood similar to mahogany), and turned wood stools by Fitzhugh Karol.
On the opposite kitchen wall, floor-to-ceiling maple cabinetry by Fitzhugh Karol is painted black, with picture lighting above. The fireplace was re-done with carrara marble from DomoTech Stone Supply. A flea market chandelier, dipped in red rubber just for fun, is visible in the mirror.
A powder room off the kitchen was papered in an iconic wallpaper from Cole & Son. “It’s a bit tongue in cheek,” Caleo says. “The room is so tiny, it’s like going to the bathroom in the woods.”
TBHCo used a panel of frosted laminate glass in the top half of the master bathroom wall to admit light to the stair landing. The bathroom is all new, with custom medicine cabinets built by Fitzhugh Karol and suspended from the ceiling on poles custom-fabricated from steel pipe. The carrara marble sink top is from Domotech Stone Supply. The vanity is custom.
The master bed was a hand-me-down from the homeowner’s mom; the floral wall panels are simply fabric stretched over wooden frames.
A sitting room painted Benjamin Moore’s Royal Flush shares the second floor with the master bedroom. “She wanted a hot pink room,” recalls Caleo of her client. “The compromise was to keep the wood molding dark brown, so it’s man cave meets fashionista.” The Murano glass chandelier is from the homeowners’ collection.
Patterned fabrics, used abundantly throughout the sitting room, are from ABC Carpet & Home.
A yellow-and-black baby’s room on the top floor was inspired by one in another Park Slope brownstone, formerly owned by Jenna Lyons, president and creative director of J. Crew. “It’s a genius room, but I can’t take credit,” says Caleo. The yellow ceiling stripes are Benjamin Moore’s Egg Yolk, the rug Madeline Weinrib.
The wall art in the top floor playroom is a huge world map from National Geographic.
Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis wallpaper enlivens a home office on the top floor.
Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chair, in a guest room on the top floor, sits on La Fonda del Sol carpet tiles from FLOR.
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