The Insider: Young Designer’s Dumbo Digs Showcase the Work of Local Artists


Expect to hear a lot more about Max Aboody, an emerging designer and interiors stylist whose own one-bedroom, 700-square-foot condo, which he chose for its graphic steel-framed windows and view of a cobbled Dumbo street, is a good example of both his design sensibilities and the way he keeps a lid on budget.

Aboody loves industrial design and mid-20th century pieces equally, and he favors natural woods for warmth. He painted the apartment pale gray, furnishing it from accessibly priced sources including West Elm, where he worked for a time, and the Brooklyn Flea, as well as with art and furniture by local makers.

Aboody, a Long Island native who got a degree in women’s wear design from Parsons before shifting his career to interior design, goes out of his way to patronize and support Brooklyn-based artists and craftspeople, both in his personal residence and the design work he does with business partner Juliana Porotsky as Clean Slate.

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Clean Slate has just been tapped by Brooklyn developer Urban View to design the lobbies, kitchens, baths, flooring, fixtures and other decorative details for 17 new buildings in Bushwick and Williamsburg.

As he did in his own home, Aboody will seek out the work of local artists and artisans for the new endeavor. All 17 building lobbies will essentially be “gallery space for Brooklyn artists,” he said. “We are insistent on forging those relationships, and employing Brooklyn and New York City-based artists and designers as much as possible.”

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Clean Slate Dumbo

The innovative crescent-moon-shaped chair of bent plywood, a gift from Aboody’s friend Neelima Narayanan, converts to a lounger. The raw-edge table is by Joel Voisard, a furniture maker Aboody met at Brooklyn Flea, who has a studio in Long Island City. Artwork above the sofa is by another local artist, Ida Badal.

Aboody made the bookshelf system himself by painting stripes on a sheet of plywood, bolting it to the wall, and adding floating shelves from Home Depot.

The sectional sofa is from Blu Dot. An organic free-form coffee table from From the Source breaks up the linearity of the room. A white lacquer TV console from Pangea Home, plus IKEA shelves of the same material, look like a single unit.

Inexpensive curtains from J.C. Penney, secured with a wire system from IKEA, stand in for pricier custom drapes.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Clean Slate Dumbo

Because the apartment had no provision for overhead lighting, Aboody ordered a chandelier from Urban Chandy without hard wiring, draped the wire along a chain tucked behind the bookcase, and plugged it into a wall outlet. “A lot of developers now prefer higher ceilings to recessed or overhead lighting,” he said.

He made no changes to the gray laminate kitchen, adding only bentwood bar stools from Crate & Barrel and a couple of wood shelves for barware.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Clean Slate Dumbo

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Clean Slate Dumbo

The neutral palette in the bedroom is of a piece with the rest of the apartment. A faux fur coverlet and quilted spread bring in texture. 1950s Blenko lamps once owned by Aboody’s grandparents are both sentimental and highly collectible.

The bed, dresser and nightstands all came from West Elm. The abstract artwork above the dresser is by Ida Badal.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Clean Slate Dumbo

Aboody did nothing at all in the existing bathroom, except add a shower curtain.

[Photos by Carlos Andrés Dueñas, except bathroom by Max Aboody]

Check out the new ‘The Insider’ mini-site:

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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