The Insider: Playful, Livable Luxury Is Keynote in Bed Stuy Family’s Revamp of Two Upper Floors


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The owners of a four-story row house had been living in the upper triplex for a decade and had done some work on the parlor level, but they’d never gotten around to addressing the two upper floors.

CWB Architects and interior design firm Fearins | Welch, both Dumbo-based, carried out a “light gut,” which yielded a master suite on the top floor and bedrooms for two tween boys on the floor below. The idea was to give the homeowners “a real retreat, without kids running up and down,” said designer Erin Fearins. “They wanted a quiet space.”

A pass-through closet connects the master bedroom at the back of the house to a chic sitting room (top photo), which Fearins called “a grownup lounge,” in front. A small room on the top floor became an enviable man cave, with clothing storage, desk space and custom millwork for the homeowner’s collection of vinyl record albums.

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The kids’ rooms on the second floor, which share a new bath, were designed to grow with them. “In three years, they’ll have different interests,” Fearins said.

Fearins took decorating cues from the family, whom she called “fun and youthful and full of life.” That translated to a mix of high- and lower-end furnishings, an abundance of color and texture throughout, patterned wallpapers and rugs, and innovations like a small media room lined entirely with walnut, containing a daybed the size of a queen mattress.

“It’s multi-purpose family space,” Fearins said. “It takes the idea of a window seat and makes it a deluxe lounge spot, with a TV and video games. We reinvented space that might have been a study, and you could sleep a guest there.”


Classic banana-leaf wallpaper from Schumacher lines the closet that connects the master bedroom and sitting room. Pocket doors can be open or closed as desired.

IKEA inserts were used here to economize on custom millwork.



The master sitting room has a feel of “livable luxury,” as Fearins put it. “Everything had to be comfortable.”

The ceiling was covered with metallic Schumacher wallpaper. “We wanted to create a sense of coziness without feeling overbearing,” the designer said.

A vintage sofa was reupholstered and strewn with silk velvet pillows in different shapes and colors.

A 1970s glass chandelier, a fringed ottoman covered in Hermès fabric, a simple wool rug from Armadillo, a shearling-covered vintage chair, custom-built salmon-colored cabinets and a star-shaped mirror belonging to the homeowners add up to a room full of “special touches, but nothing so precious you feel you can’t use it.”




The eclectic pieces in the master bedroom include a bed custom-upholstered with wide channels, night tables belonging to the homeowners and a Kelly Wearstler-designed chandelier from Visual Comfort

Whimsical tiger wallpaper from Thibaut lines the children’s bath.

The unique walnut-lined bonus space is used for media, games and the occasional sleepover.

A nook under the younger son’s loft bed is a cozy spot for reading. The room’s wallpaper is “a nod to Harry Potter,” Fearins said.

The basketball wallcovering on one side of the older son’s room and more sophisticated furnishings on the other reflect his “morphing from childhood to adolescence,” Fearins said.

The vivid orange rug came from CB2.

The husband’s wardrobe room/study is “crammed with programming,” including workspace, custom storage and purpose-built shelves for records, Fearins said, along with a vintage pirate ship rug.

[Photos by Rachael Stollar and Jessica Antola]

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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