The Insider: Newlyweds’ Nest in Carroll Gardens

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    Welcome to The Insider, Brownstoner’s every-Thursday series exploring the creative ways we Brooklynites furnish and decorate our homes. The Insider is written and produced by Cara Greenberg, a design journalist who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun and Profit.

    Lauren Stern is a young interior designer who doesn’t like her personal space “uber-planned and perfectly matched,” though she’ll gladly go that route for clients who do. Her buzzwords for the apartment she shares with her husband of one year, Ori Schwartz, are “cozy, comfortable, warm” – a mix of things picked up on their travels, acquired from friends and relatives, or purchased from sources ranging from dusty warehouses to high-end to-the-trade-only vendors.

    The 1,000-square-foot apartment, in a c.1900 brick row house deep in Carroll Gardens, is uncluttered and unpretentious, with furnishings and art arrayed against walls painted Benjamin Moore’s China White.

    Details and photos on the jump.

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    Lauren and Ori  just closed on a 4-story house in Boerum Hill that “hasn’t been touched since 1965,” and are embarking on a major renovation.

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    For the past four years, they’ve lived in this spacious rental on the third floor of a wide Summit Street row house. The door opens into a large room at the back of the building, used primarily for dining. The Belgian linen curtains are from West Elm; they bought the red poster in a used-CD shop in Berlin.

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    The Stornas dining table is from IKEA. The chairs cost $90 each at From the Source, a Greenpoint discount warehouse Lauren enjoys poking around. She had cushions made from a cotton block print by designer Muriel Brandolini.

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    A chandelier made of Egyptian glass globes suspended from an iron hoop, came from Liza Sherman Antiques in the West Village. The grid of pictures on the wall are katagami, antique Japanese kimono stencils, framed by KC Art Supplies in Cobble Hill.

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    The green vintage wood chest was a housewarming gift from Lauren’s aunt and uncle in Montana.

    IMG_1485The cottage-y little table is from Pottery Barn Kids.

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    Lauren and Ori use the windowless central area common to so many brownstone floor-throughs as a den/TV room. One of Lauren’s trade contacts made the sofa; it’s covered with linen from C&C Milano. The metal table came from Environment 337 on Smith Street, now closed. They brought the beige wool rug back from a trip to Argentina.

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    The multi-paned room divider, common to renovations of a certain era, lets a bit of light into the apartment’s central core.

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    Lauren designed the carved wood headboard; it’s upholstered with hand-printed fabric from Raoul Textiles of California. The comforter is soft organic cotton from Layla, a Hoyt Street boutique.

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    IMG_1523The two curvaceous Astrid chairs in the bedroom are from Anthropologie; they’re available in several fabrics. The chest in between: good old IKEA.

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    The tufted ottoman was ordered from the Ballard Designs catalogue; the large art above is a textile design by French artist Paule Marrot, from Natural Curiosities.

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    IMG_1525The round mirror over the mantel, from Crate and Barrel, echoes the shape of the fireplace opening.

    Photos: Cara Greenberg

    To check out previous installments of The Insider, click here.


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