The Insider: Spare Modern Décor Enhances This Park Slope Limestone Beauty

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Owned by a single family for a century, this Gilded Age townhouse near Prospect Park came into modern times with nearly all its original detail preserved.

That’s not to say the new homeowners didn’t have work to do. First they hired Red Hook-based MADE Architecture to, among other things, design new bathroom layouts as well as a new layout and cabinetry for the garden-level kitchen, and to bring the intact but timeworn woodwork to a high level of polish.

Then in came Ensemble Architecture to choose furnishings and finishes, including floor and wall tiles, light fixtures, countertops, plumbing fixtures, wallpaper and paint colors. The Gowanus-based studio, which was founded in 1998 by Elizabeth Roberts and now comprises 13 architects and designers, recently expanded its interiors department.

“The challenge was to blend old and new in a subtle way, integrating current furnishings with the original beauty of the house,” said Patrick Ryan, who was primarily responsible for the interior design. “I wanted to create a light, airy feeling, despite all the ornate woodwork.”

The general contractor was Bronx-based Pilaster, Inc.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

Light-looking furnishings in the front parlor, including a vintage Paul McCobb sofa, vintage Danish armchairs and a contemporary raw-edge coffee table from BDDW, seem at a respectful remove from the outstanding historic architecture of the space. The Serge Mouille-style bent-arm ceiling light from Urban Archaeology is skeletal enough not to conflict.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

Grand Thistle wallpaper by Timorous Beasties, available through Ted Boerner, and a Modo pendant light from Roll & Hill complement the woodwork in the entry hall without stealing its thunder.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

Once again, in the middle parlor, the clean-lined Vera sofa from Mitchell Gold, TG10 chair from BDDW, and vintage Danish nesting tables strike the right subtle balance within the impressive space.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

A pair of Triad chandeliers from Apparatus Studio and vintage rosewood dining chairs by Danish mid-century furniture maker Niels Møller bring modernity to the dining room. Iguana wallpaper, also by Timorous Beasties through Ted Boerner, begins above the wainscoting. “It seemed like the right place to do something unexpected,” Ryan said, “because it wasn’t the entire room.”

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

The cabinets in the garden-level kitchen were custom-designed by MADE, as were the new steel-framed windows. Ensemble Architecture chose the colors, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures and tile.

A bleu de savoie marble floor and the overall pale scheme of the room “is a departure from the rest of the house,” Roberts said. “It feels crisp and cool and bright and light.” The hanging light fixtures are from Schoolhouse Electric.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

A glimpse of Dunes wallpaper from Hermès and an understated wall sconce from One Forty Three are all that’s needed in an upstairs hall graced with elaborate turned balusters.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

A chandelier brought from the homeowners’ previous residence, along with a newly restored mantelpiece and a bay window with an upholstered window seat, makes the dressing room adjacent to the master bedroom extra-glamorous. The patterned lounge chair is from BDDW.

Ensemble designed the sleek walnut vanity for the master bath. The marble wainscoting goes up unusually high, with pale green wall tile from Waterworks above.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Ensemble Architecture

The wall-hung sink in a guest bath is one of several sinks original to the house that were reglazed and installed in different settings.

[Photos by Dustin Aksland]

The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. The stories are original to Brownstoner; the photos may have been published before. Got a project to propose for The Insider? Please contact Cara at caramia447 at gmail dot com.

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