WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, our weekly in-depth look at a recent interior design/renovation project, here every Thursday at 11:30AM. Like The Outsider, Brownstoner’s new garden series on Sundays at 8AM, The Insider is written and produced by Cara Greenberg.


IT TOOK TERI BRAJEWSKI of TWB Design a full year of apartment-hunting to settle on what she calls a “petite three-bedroom” in an eight-unit building from the 1890s. It wasn’t just the intact woodwork and other Victorian niceties, including a fretwork archway, bay window, and tiled mantelpiece, that sold her on the ground floor unit, or even the private backyard. “It was one of the few I looked at and didn’t think, ‘If only I could tear this wall out…'”recalls Brajewski, an interior designer and co-owner of Interior Provisions, an online and by-appointment home goods shop in Nolita.

In fact, the long, narrow, 1,100-square-foot floor plan functioned so well for her family — she’s a single mom of two — that all the walls stayed right where they were. Brajewski lost no time gutting and replacing a full and a half bath; that’s been the major work to date. Other sprucing up includes floor refinishing, new lighting throughout, new furniture, and a carefully considered paint job with Benjamin Moore’s Natura line of no-VOC paints.

Brajewski is a LEED AP (accredited professional). She incorporated some sustainability principles, a water-saving toilet and the use of locally-made and vintage furnishings among them. Contemporary and mid-20th century pieces look magically at home in their surroundings. “The gracious scale of mid-century furniture works very well against a Victorian backdrop,” she says.

For now, Brajewski is living with the existing kitchen, though she bought a new dishwasher and washer/dryer, and the garden remains a frontier yet to be conquered. Brajewski “called in a ton of favors and got a lot of trade discounts” but estimates the cost of her improvements, including new furnishings, at about $100,000 for a civilian. The contractor was Jim Savio.

Above: The apartment’s front room is divided by an archway into areas Brajewski uses as a living room and a home office. The made-in-USA sofas are contemporary, from Thayer Coggin, but with a ’50s/’60s look. The vintage coffee table is from a shop in Hudson, NY; the rug from a sample sale. Cafe curtains were made by Angel Threads of Brooklyn.

Photos: Ofer Wolberger

See more, including a complete list of paint colors, after the jump.