Designer Showhouse Brings Color, Bold Design to Historic Brooklyn Heights House (Photos)

A walk through the second Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse takes you on a journey through a wide range of design styles — from traditional to eclectic to transitional to contemporary. Bold colors, furnishings and art work pop against the backdrop of the classic woodwork and architecture of the Federal-style wood-frame.

In the first-floor dining room, a floral wall covering by Tillet Textiles is a nod to the traditional, along with antique furnishings such as the walnut dining chairs that flank a contemporary table. Interior designer Harry Heissmann said he drew inspiration from stories of a sea captain who may have once occupied the house.

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The dining room by Harry Heissman Inc.

“I created this whole fantasy about the sea captain bringing these chairs back from Spain and then the family buying a modern table later, and on and on and on,” Heissmann said.

Painted papier-mâché valances above the windows are inspired by the wooden curtains on horse-drawn hearses from the 19th century, Heissmann said.

“I saw that in an auction catalog and really liked it so I had them copied in papier-mâché,” he said.

Next door, terra cotta tile by Walker Zanger extends from the countertops to ceiling in the kitchen designed by the firm Jesse Parris-Lamb.

“Our inspiration for the kitchen came directly from the historic envelope of the house,” said cofounder Whitney Parris-Lamb. “We couldn’t ignore the 200-plus years of history around us, but wanted to update the kitchen to feel fresh and youthful and more appropriate for a younger buyer coming in with a family.”

To that end, she said, “The handmade terra-cotta tile, apron-front farmhouse sink and recessed marine style cabinet hardware all nod to more traditional periods and styles but still balance quite nicely with the more contemporary slab front cabinet doors, open shelving and freestanding storage elements.”

The painted floor pattern is based on an Annie Albers textile sketch from the first half of the 20th century.

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brooklyn heights showhouse

The kitchen by Jesse Parris-Lamb

The same earth tones carry over into the living room, where the fabric wallcovering and window shades feature Schumacher’s Zanzibar print. A striking 1960s fiberglass Italian sectional by Archizoom anchors the room, by Justin Scott Interiors.

In an upstairs boudoir, interior designer Mahwish Syed and architect Rebecca Ascher used chalk paint by Urio Nuance in five different hues to create an ombré effect on the walls and ceiling.

“The inspiration for the room is a boudoir for a modern day goddess,” Syed said. “I wanted it to feel like a textile. The ceilings were fairly low, so for me to create that effect, it made it more expansive and also gave more depth to the room.”

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brooklyn heights showhouse

The boudoir by Ascher Davis Architects with Mahwish Syed Designs

A striking lambskin-covered chaise by Timothy Schreiber occupies a cozy corner beneath a handmade sconce by Trueing.

“I wanted to feeling of serenity and lushness where you could just lounge and daydream,” Syed told Brownstoner. “It’s an access point between the old and the new. The house is 1820s and there is still an Old World feeling about it, but in a very modern way.”

The showhouse, which supports the Brooklyn Heights Association, is open through Sunday, November 3 at 13 Pineapple Street. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. General admission is $40 and $20 for students. BHA member tickets are $35. Tickets are available at the door and online. New York Cottages & Gardens (NYC&G) is the showhouse Design Media Sponsor and Brownstoner is the Platinum Sponsor.

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The parlor by Justin Scott Interiors

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Another view of the parlor

brooklyn heights showhouse

Another shot of the kitchen by Jesse Parris-Lamb

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A bathroom by Kim Tomasino Interiors

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A bedroom by Murphy Waldron Interiors

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A study by Isabelo Satori

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The master bedroom by Barsanti Desmone

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Another view of the master bathroom

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A sitting room by Rodney Lawrence Inc.

brooklyn heights showhouse

A bedroom by The Rinfret Group

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Sketches by costume designer Catherine Zuber ornament the hallways

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The recreation room by Mikel Welch Designs for Room & Board

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Another view of the recreation room

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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