The Insider: Original Woodwork, Splashes of Color Distinguish This Park Slope Victorian Revamp

Photo by Emily Gilbert


Soon after buying a three-story, woodwork-laden Victorian townhouse, a couple with two young kids contracted with Brooklyn-based interior designer Linda Cava to help them pull together the parlor floor’s decor.

As many young families do, they were looking for a home that was “durable, practical and comfortable, and we went with darker fabric colors for that reason,” said the designer, who worked for seven years at a high-end NYC architecture firm before starting her own business in 2013. At the same time, they wanted the look to be somewhat sophisticated for entertaining, and the word “playful” came up more than once.

Cava’s scope of work included prepping and painting the family’s duplex (they rent out the garden floor), refinishing the existing wood floors and placing the furnishings her clients had brought along with them from their previous home, as well as shopping for new furniture, lighting and accessories.

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She also upgraded the existing kitchen and replaced tile work on two original fireplaces, along with a new mirror above the dining room mantel.

Perhaps the most fun aspect of the project was the dining room, where Cava chose an exuberant “garden green” for the walls and striking peacock wallpaper to line an existing built-in china cabinet. “We were actually considering the paper for all four walls,” Cava recalled, but in the end, her clients went the more conservative route.

The house’s vintage woodwork, comprising door and window casings, cabinetry, an intact staircase and “gingerbread” room dividers, “is beautiful, but we steered away from adding more wood pieces,” Cava said. “That would be overpowering.”

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

Cava chose a modern smoked-glass light fixture from Timothy Oulton for the front entry foyer to contrast with all the turn-of-the-century woodwork. “Antique lights made the place feel not like a young couple lived there, so we went dramatically modern with light fixtures,” Cava said.

The stairwell is lined with framed artwork by the homeowners’ children.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

A leather and steel ottoman and two velvet swivel chairs from Room and Board, along with a Caviar chandelier from Arteriors, furnish the front parlor.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

The contemporary sofa, also from Room and Board, is as large as would fit in the 14-foot-wide room.

The floors had been whitewashed, Cava said, which “just did not go.” She had them refinished and stained English Chestnut from Minwax. The wall color is Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore, a warm white.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

The stained glass window in the dining room at the rear of the parlor floor was existing, though not, Cava said, original to the house. Because of the south-facing window, she said, “The room has good light and could handle that strong color” (which is Benjamin Moore’s Lehigh Green, or what Cava called “garden green”).

The table and chairs are family heirlooms.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

Cava upgraded the shelving within the dining room’s built-in china cabinet and papered the back of it with peacock feather-patterned paper from Osborne & Little.

The modern metal chandelier came from Restoration Hardware.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Linda Cava Park Slope

Cava freshened up the kitchen with a new backsplash from Tile Bar and new cabinet hardware and lighting from Rejuvenation.

[Photos by Emily Gilbert]

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The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday morning. Got a project to propose for The Insider? Contact Cara at caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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