The new owners of a freshly renovated brownstone had gone to great trouble restoring the house’s lovely period woodwork but ran aground when it came to furnishings. Busy professionals with little time to shop, they got as far as buying a couple of chandeliers for the parlor floor. Beyond that, said designer Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design, “They were like, ‘No, we can’t do this.'”
“They had been living in a city rental with a mishmash of college furniture,” said Fennoy, who partners with Cece Stelljes in the Manhattan-based studio. “We helped them find the design vocabulary they wanted: clean, modern, simple, not fussy.”
The project included the long parlor floor, divided into its original three sections, plus a guest room on the garden level.
Most pieces were sourced from well-known retail outlets for economy and convenience. “They weren’t comfortable spending tons of money” on furnishings, said Fennoy, “and they didn’t want to wait weeks for things.”
Three meetings in, Fennoy recalled, the couple, who have two young children, showed the designers a group of fabrics given them by the husband’s family in Ghana. “We said, ‘These are beautiful!’ They became the thread that tied everything together.”
The colorful textiles found their way onto reupholstered chair backs, throw pillows and drapery borders, adding zing to the calm palette.
The front windows were treated simply, with modern lace curtains to diffuse the light and provide privacy in the evenings.
A curved sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams fits snugly into the angled windows.
The statement chairs, vintage mid-century armchairs found on 1stdibs, were reupholstered with yellow fronts and patterned Ghanaian fabric on the backs.
Inexpensive side tables from West Elm, inlaid bone lamps from Jason Home, an unusual coffee table from ABC Carpet & Home and a rug from Stark Carpet round out the room.
The middle parlor is conceived as a casual TV/family room with a bleached wood media console from Lawson Fenning and a classic navy sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, enlivened with colorful custom throw pillows. The Womb chair from Knoll was a splurge.
Revamp designed the striped custom ottoman. A broadloom shag carpet adds an element of coziness.
The vintage green ceramic table lamp — “hands down my favorite piece,” said Fennoy — was found on 1stdibs.
In the rear section of the parlor, extensive period detail, including a carved mantel, pier mirror and elaborate niche (top photo) take up three of the room’s walls, making it necessary to “pull furniture into the center of the room,” Fennoy said.
The windows are dressed with curtains bordered with Ghanaian fabric. The subtle wallpaper, from Jill Malek, “adds texture and softness without detracting from the millwork,” the designer said.
The room’s other furnishings include simple bookcases flanking the mantel and a blue club chair from Restoration Hardware. Vintage dining chairs surround a table base from Jason Home with a custom marble top.
The alcove seen in the top photo and reflected in the mirror above the mantel contains a modern console from Regeneration in a bold crimson. Behind one of the original doors, a working dumbwaiter connects to the kitchen on the level below.
At the front of the garden floor, a modern wing chair from Room & Board and wallpaper from Eskayel with a watercolor-like pattern decorate a multi-purpose room used mostly for guests.
[Photos by Travis Mark]
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.
- The Insider: Brownstoner’s in-Depth Look at Notable Interior Design and Renovation Projects
- The Insider: Narrow Greenpoint Row House Triples in Size, Keeps Curb Appeal
- The Insider: Original Woodwork, Splashes of Color Distinguish Park Slope Revamp