Decorative Painter Transforms Bushwick Wreck Into Whimsical Showcase

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The Bushwick apartment of designer and decorative painter Matt Austin is a playground of visual creativity. He has playfully painted and paneled the third-floor railroad flat with care, and filled it with eccentric oddities — many of his own design.

When Austin moved in, the apartment was a wreck, said New York Magazine, which features the home in its Winter 2016 Design Hunting magazine. (The magazine is out this week in print but not yet available online.)

But the friend renting it to him gave the painter free rein to make any nonstructural changes he wished. After a good cleaning and a kitchen remodel — assisted by Austin’s plaster-specialist brother and a furniture-making friend — the apartment became a canvas for his ideas and a showcase for his product designs.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Matt Austin's Modern Whimsical Bushwick Apartment

The shelving and cabinetry is made of plywood. The slate backsplash is a castoff from a Yale University renovation. The chunk of slag glass mounted to the wall is an LED-illuminated light fixture made by Matt Austin Studio.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Matt Austin's Modern Whimsical Bushwick Apartment

The hanging light fixture on the left in Austin’s bedroom is one of his designs. He also hand carved the fish that hangs above his bed. Austin describes the gold paint on this back wall as a “halo” to give him golden dreams.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Matt Austin's Modern Whimsical Bushwick Apartment

The banana-topped bust shown above was hand-carved by Austin.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Matt Austin's Modern Whimsical Bushwick Apartment

The blocks of color on the back of the door above were painted by Austin with casein pigments he hand ground and mixed himself.

See more of New York Magazine’s design coverage.

Photos by Annie Schlechter for New York Magazine

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