The Insider: Surgical Strikes Update Vintage Park Slope Apartment


“Tons of light” was tops on the wish list when interior designer Jennifer Morris and her husband went looking for a new home for themselves and their two young children. They’d been living in an apartment whose main room had just one window. “We needed and craved lightness and brightness,” said Morris, whose resumé includes a long stint at the well-known Rockwell Group and who went on her own as JMorris Design in 2009.

They found and purchased a 1,300-square-foot three-bedroom on the top floor of a circa-1900 apartment building in the heart of Park Slope, whose layout suited them perfectly.

There’s a bay-windowed living room with a skyline view at the front, two bedrooms off a long hallway, and a kitchen and dining room at the rear, along with a third bedroom that serves as a home office for Morris.

The apartment had period wood trim around doors and windows, as well as chair and picture rail, which Morris either kept in place or repurposed, though the changes to layout were few.

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The biggest alteration was enlarging the entry area. The front door, in the center of the apartment, originally opened into a narrow hall. By stealing a bit of space from a closet in the bedroom behind it and reversing the closet door, Morris was able to create a more gracious, functional entry niche with a place for coats.

She also redid the bathroom with a new shower, sink and wall tiles. In the kitchen, Morris repainted the existing kitchen cabinets and replaced the backsplash, countertop and cabinet handles. She also changed out light fixtures and bought some new furniture.

Perhaps the largest single expense was skim coating all the walls. “I didn’t want new construction, but I wanted everything newly touched by me,” Morris said.

The contractor was NY Class Construction.

Top: Furnishings in the living room include a sleeper sofa from Linteloo, a Dutch company, vintage rattan chairs and a rug from West Elm.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

The entry alcove, in space carved out from a closet in the room behind, has boldly graphic wallpaper from Soane Britain and a round mirror from Brooklyn’s Sterling Place.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

Woven polypropylene rugs from Chilewich cover the dining room floor. The table base was custom made by Ian Ingersoll and topped with a Caesarstone quartize slab, cut in a boat-like shape.

Plastic chairs from Vitra are super-practical with kids. The chandelier is from West Elm, the multi-colored wall art by Gowanus-based artist Neil Powell.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

Among the kitchen upgrades: new backsplashes, cabinet hardware from Top Knobs and new Caesarstone counters. Previously dark cherry cabinetry was “swiped with my favorite light silvery gray,” Morris said.

Large (18-by-36-inch) porcelain tiles from Artistic Tile were a budget-friendly choice. The existing floor tiles were left in place.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

Bedding in the master bedroom is from Matteo, with a reading lamp from Bestlite.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

The children’s beds came from Pottery Barn. The wall art is by iconoclastic Brooklyn artist Steve Keene.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

The original bathroom floor tiles remained. The wall tiles were replaced with new ones from Akdo.

The existing pedestal sink was exchanged for a wall-mounted vanity. “It got us some great storage and a little extra counter space,” Morris said.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jennifer Morris Park Slope

[Photos by Jacob Snavely]

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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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