The Insider: Bed Stuy Brownstone Reno Smoothly Blends Original Detail with Modern Elements

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In three years of row house renovation, Hayley Moynihan went through just about every trial and tribulation a novice can endure, including a change of contractors partway through and half a winter spent in an unheated rental apartment.

The good news is that the three-story house is now finished and she survived. Moynihan learned so much in the process that she has just launched a business providing project and construction management services to others, so they can avoid some of the pain.

The renovation of Moynihan’s house, which is configured as a three-bedroom owner’s duplex with a garden rental below, began with a sweeping upgrade of all the mechanicals, including plumbing, electrical and HVAC. Then came all new windows, a custom kitchen and new baths, along with restored moldings, trim, shutters and doors.

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“I would say it was a partial restoration,” said Moynihan, who has an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and a decade of experience working in product engineering and manufacturing for consumer goods companies.

“I tried to use what was existing,” she said. “Even in areas where we couldn’t save the trim, we cut new trim to match the original, so it would blend seamlessly.”

Moynihan appreciates a mix of styles — French, Victorian, mid-century modern. “I kind of blend it all together,” she said. “But I still like things to be functionally modern and to work well.”

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

The brownstone’s front facade has new, double-insulated, nine-over-nine windows from Pella.

Vintage panels in the transoms above the windows were restored by The Stained Glass Store in Park Slope. Another, with a house number, was newly made for the space above the entry door.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

Floral wallpaper in the entry vestibule came from Rifle Paper Co.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

The elaborate pier mirror in the front entry hall, painstakingly hand-stripped, is a showstopper.

interior-design-ideas-brooklyn-hayley-moynihan-bed-stuy-07

New French doors from Pella replaced a window in an existing opening with an arched top. “I briefly thought of opening the whole back wall, but the arch is so beautiful,” Moynihan said.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

Kitchen cabinetry is all custom, crafted of walnut in what Moynihan calls a ‘transitional’ style, with white Carrara marble countertops. “I wanted the kitchen to feel timeless, even though it’s completely new.”

A Lacanche range is the central focus of the kitchen, Moynihan said.

The chandelier above the counter is from West Elm.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

An original bay window at the rear of the house required extensive rebuilding.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

All new millwork is custom, by the general contractor.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

Navy and white patterned tile from the U.K. clads the wall in the parlor floor powder room.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

Moynihan left the stairs to the basement so the owners’ unit has access to it.

The wall is painted Urban Bronze by Benjamin Moore, a dark grey.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

The en suite master bath on the second floor is “the most modern thing in the house,” said Moynihan, with tiles from Nemo, sinks from Duravit and a vanity of powder-coated metal with a walnut bottom shelf custom-made by the general contractor. Leftover Carrara marble from the kitchen was pressed into service for the sink counter.

Mirrors were sourced from West Elm, sconces from Restoration Hardware, and faucets from California Faucets.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Hayley Moynihan Bed Stuy

The guest bath on the second floor, with its claw foot tub, was “meant to feel original,” Moynihan said.

[Photos by Harry Dutton]

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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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