The Insider: Elegant Update Highlights Original Detail in Classic Slope Brownstone

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This classic four-story Park Slope brownstone had been updated by its previous owner, a contractor, who had “already done the big stuff — the kitchen, air conditioning, a security system,” said Jennifer Morris of JMorris Design, a Brooklyn-based interior design studio specializing in finishes and furnishings.

So Morris was able to forget about the function and focus on the fun. Her goal was to create something “textured and expressive.”

“The parlor floor was very much intact,” Morris said, with elaborate original woodwork, mantels and delicate plaster decoration on the ceilings and on friezes running along the top of the 12-foot-high walls. But the plasterwork had been “gunked up” over the years and was hardly pristine.

“We had fun highlighting the original [front parlor] friezes in white-on-charcoal reverse relief, and using a bold yellow in the [back parlor] dining room. But the painter must hate me,” Morris said. “I kept saying, ‘Can you be a little more exact here? Can you fill in a little there?'”

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

The pale-gray parlor walls draw attention to the bas-relief friezes and create a fresh backdrop for the furnishings, which include a pair of dark gray Cobble Hill sofas and a floating Serena and Lily ottoman. A weathered metal mirror from Restoration Hardware, with interlocking quatrefoil shapes, helps draw light into the central core of the space.

A pair of sloped-arm lounge chairs in creamy bouclé fabric sit snugly in the bay window, punched up by turquoise throw pillows. A teak chaise with a red silk throw and a lacquered tiered console are among the items on display here.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

The dining room’s elaborate mahogany woodwork and tall windows with stained glass panels are enhanced by Illumina Gold Dust wallpaper from Innovations. The chrome-legged dining table is from B&B Italia.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

On the garden level, besides the existing kitchen and a TV room, there’s an informal family dining area with tiled walls and a painted beamed ceiling.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

Dusty aubergine walls bring depth and calm to the home office on the second floor, where there are also a master bedroom and bath.

Park Slope Brooklyn -- Brownstone Interior Design by Jennifer Morris

There are two additional bedrooms and a guest room on the top floor. Farrow & Ball‘s damask-patterned Silvergate wallpaper and a mirrored dresser from Horchow give the guest room a touch of glamour.

[Photos by Laura Ferguson]

The Insider is Brownstoner’s 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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