The Insider: Emerging Designer Tackles a Young Family’s First Home in Bay Ridge

Photo by Daniel Terna

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Alicia Hassen established her brand new business, Brooklinteriors, because she felt “a hands-on approach was missing” from the local design scene. Since moving to Brooklyn two years ago from California, the Prospect Heights resident had been working in advertising technology and collaborating with other interior designers, and noticed how hard it was to “find a designer who has time to go into local shops looking for cool vintage pieces.”

She intends to be that person. “I’m your neighborhood designer, always on call, with an understanding of your personal aesthetic,” Hassen said.

Among her first clients was a couple with two little ones who had just bought their first home, a semi-attached 1920s two-story on a quiet block. “They didn’t have much furniture they wanted to keep,” Hassen said. “It was a blank slate, which was awesome.”

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The new homeowners envisioned a house that was “homey and kid-friendly,” not to mention budget-friendly. Hassen sourced from “reasonably priced boutiques, online retailers and neighborhood shops” and wasn’t above “a little haggling” in her search for pieces that were durable as well as attractive.

The house was “dark and drab” when she first toured it, Hassen said, with drawn blinds, yellow-beige walls and the previous owners’ heavy furnishings.

“The first thing we did was paint,” a color called Chill from Clare Paint, which is light gray with subtle green undertones. “That made a huge difference,” Hassen said, along with simple, light-filtering honeycomb window shades, often kept up or open. “Suddenly, there seemed like so much light to work with.” She chose pale colors for the furnishings as well.

Besides fully kitting out the house’s main floor, Hassen upgraded the basement, converting part of it to a children’s playroom by building a wall and installing a barn door.

 

In the bay window at the front of the house, Hassen placed a “super cozy” sofa from Sixpenny with a washable slipcover.

“We weren’t working with much space there,” she said. A wall-mounted TV above a floating console from Crate and Barrel helps makes the most of it.

The central area of the living room “was the biggest challenge,” Hassen said. “It’s what you see first when you walk into the house. We had to define what that space was. I chose to go bold with an open bookshelf and striped chairs, and make it a place for adults to hang out while kids play.”

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A set of three light-looking open bookcases from Crate and Barrel are secured to the wall in the central living area. A blue Persian-inspired rug from Loloi warms things up.

The children’s table and chairs are from Maisonette, a Brooklyn-based online store with a curated selection of children’s clothes and furnishings. Nearby baskets hold toys for easy clean-up.

A wood coffee table with a rounded drum shape in the front area “makes the space feel very open,” the designer said.

A swing-arm lamp from Rejuvenation and patterned rug from online retailer Eclectic Goods complete the set-up.

Two assertively striped chairs were sourced from Porter James, a Greenpoint store.

interior design ideas

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The dining room at the rear of the house’s main floor was inspired by modern farmhouse aesthetics, with a reclaimed wood dining table and bench and black Windsor chairs, all sourced from Eclectic Goods.

A vintage piece from Adaptations, a shop in Greenpoint, serves as a bar cabinet.

The linear bronze chandelier came from Pottery Barn. Most of the art was purchased online, through Minted, and mounted in a variety of frames.

Persian rugs that were family heirlooms are layered upon new sisal rugs in several places, adding both color and coziness.

[Photos by Daniel Terna]

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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.

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