The Insider: Style Upgrade in Crown Heights Condo Brings ‘Developer Finishes’ Up a Few Notches

It could have been way worse. “The developer did a nice job,” said Keren Richter of the Brooklyn-based design studio White Arrow, which made the new floor-through apartment’s details and finishes nicer still, as well as furnishing the space in its entirety.

The recent conversion of a vintage limestone row house to condos featured “floors with borders, traditional style cabinetry, sink vanities with a Shaker look,” Richter said. “In general, what the developer chose was in line with our own aesthetic.”

But the new homeowners, a young couple, wanted to personalize the 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom space further. “We made it feel more elevated and dialed back some finishes,” said the designer, who formed White Arrow with her husband, Thomas Richter, in 2014.

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For instance, they left the brick walls exposed, but covered their natural red-brown color with a thick white plaster in the living room, dining room and hallway. “It allows the texture to come through, but makes the space feel a lot brighter,” Richter said.

While the apartment’s layout stayed the same, White Arrow added a pullout pantry and changed the flooring in the kitchen from concrete to black-and-white marble checkerboard, and the natural wood island was painted black.

They moved lighting, added storage and made modifications in the two bathrooms, upgrading the lighting, mirrors and faucets.

White Arrow blended furnishings already in the clients’ possession with new pieces “that were the right proportions, had a modern design language and were comfortable,” said the designer, who leaned toward Scandinavia in sourcing the project.

The Richters also designed some unique custom pieces and had them fabricated, including a non-traditional Murphy bed in the guest room and a glamorous marble dining table. They did all the buying of paintings, prints and collages by contemporary artists for each room.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

“We picked up on the black hardware motif the developer already had going, and carried it through with some of the new lighting,” Keren Richter said. Case in point: the Gubi pendant light by Louis Weisdorf in the hallway.

The small round sconces are by Allied Maker, the rug from Nordic Knots.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

A custom flatweave rug from the Swedish company Oyyo underlines the main living space, where a pair of shearling-upholstered armchairs by Nanna Ditzel sit opposite a leather sofa owned by the clients.

The contemporary chandelier is by Anna Karlin, the art over the sofa by George Byrne.

Flat Roman shades and black-painted trim keep the look of the windows modern and minimal.

The metal bar cart is a vintage item.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Custom-painted bar stools from the Danish company Woud stand out in the mostly neutral space.

Pendant lights from Park Studio LA hang over the island.

A Dornbracht faucet was an upgrade on the developer-provided one.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

White Arrow designed a custom marble table in classic Parsons style for the dining room, surrounding it with leather chairs by Danish mid-century designer Borge Morgensen.

The “pick up sticks” chandelier from Billy Cotton makes a striking statement.

A flat-screen TV on the wall at right is motorized to pull out and rotate toward the living room sofa, carefully planned to clear the dining room light fixture and the tops of the dining chairs.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

The guest room converts to a home office as needed. White Arrow designed a custom Murphy bed “that doesn’t read as a traditional Murphy bed,” Richter said, based on Shaker cabinetry with brass hinges.

A brass table from West Elm sits beside a folding chair from Denmark’s Mogens Lassen.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

A sleek desk lamp from Atelier de Troupe sits on a minimalist desk by Jens Risom, with a vintage chair by Friso Kramer.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Furnishings against a moody black brick wall in the master bedroom include a side table by BDDW and brass reading lamps by Brooklyn’s Workstead.

A photo by David Black hangs above the bed.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

In a corner of the master bedroom sits a contemporary riff on a Windsor chair by Hay.

The watercolor is by Texas artist Claire Oswalt.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Walnut fittings in the man’s closets include a built-in dresser and pull-out tie and belt drawers.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn White Arrow Crown Heights

Style upgrades in the master bath include Waterworks faucets, sconces from Cedar and Moss and a Restoration Hardware mirror.

[Photos by White Arrow]

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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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