Just two items — a standing arc lamp and a bed with a tufted-leather headboard — made the cut when a couple who had been renting in Manhattan moved to their first real home, a sunny two-bedroom co-op in a South Slope conversion.
Their other furnishings were “heavy and bulky, leather bachelor-style furniture,” said Luna Grey of Luna Grey Interiors, the Bushwick-based designer who came on board to help the new homeowners furnish the place almost from scratch. “They wanted to start all over with a lighter aesthetic and make the space highly functional.”
While shopping together at mostly budget-friendly places online and off, the couple discovered a fondness for the tapered lines and playful shapes of mid-20th-century design.
Grey helped them choose lighting and window treatments and drew up a plan for furniture placement, squeezing a small dining area into the 13-by-15-foot living room and mounting eight-foot-tall white lacquer bookshelves to store the couple’s large and growing book collection.
“Something most people don’t realize is that furniture doesn’t have to line the walls,” said Grey. “If we had pushed the sofa all the way back to where the bookshelves are, it would be too far from the TV, and you’d have this enormous empty space in the middle of the room.”
With the watchwords “light and airy” in mind, Grey and her clients chose white or pale wood furnishings, including some that take up a minimum of visual space, such as a teak dining table with a simple slender base and a Lucite side table that practically disappears.
The walls were painted Benjamin Moore’s pale Stonington Gray. “We stuck to a neutral palette,” the designer said, “letting textiles, art and books introduce color.”
The living room’s two windows admit a great deal of sunlight.
Gray arranged the living room to serve as a foyer and dining room as well.
Living room furnishings include a Room and Board sofa; a rug from Istanbul Art Craft, an Etsy shop; a coffee table from Wisteria; and bookshelves from CB2. Grey found the clear Lucite ‘Gus’ side table on AllModern. The ergonomic reclining chair and ottoman from Jensen-Lewis were a splurge.
Grey used two sets of window shades for light control: solar shades next to the window and decorative Roman shades on top.
An exposed brick wall brings warmth to the master bedroom, where a leather bed from Charles P. Rogers is flanked by nightstands from Room & Board. Reading lights from Serena & Lily hang above. The space-saving bookrack came from Uncommon Goods, the colorful Kantha quilt from Anthropologie.
[Photos by Kelsey Rose]
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.
Got a project to propose for The Insider? Contact Cara at caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com.
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