What do we love about brownstones? Everything! Classic, gracious, refined and sophisticated, we love the idea of life lived in a residence brimming with history, in the midst of a vibrant urban environment. For this reason, Brooklyn New York brownstones are our favorite.
This week, we’re featuring a project of David Kaplan, a New York interior designer. The style here is “transitional” — a look that works well in Victorian and historic homes that boast significant architectural detail. On one hand, the decor gives a nod to tradition, but in a modern way. Let’s take a look:
One of the first things you notice about this gorgeous space is the ornate and extremely detailed ceiling moldings. The designer opted to highlight heavy moldings by painting them an unexpected lemony yellow, as in the dining room above and below. The color is picked up in a mosaic tile fireplace surround. How fresh is that!
Also above and below, the pendant lamps in the dining room and entry hall provide a bit of modern drama in a traditional context.
Have you ever seen a kitchen as gorgeous as the one below? An ornate decorative fireplace, ornate detailed ceiling moldings, a wall niche and beautiful parquet floors contrast with mid-century modern furniture and a sleek kitchen island with a Scandinavian feel. The contrast between the two styles plays up the architectural detail and keeps the space feeling airy, open and modern.
Here’s another view:
Modern doesn’t mean you can’t go deep and vibrant on color. Below, a bright canary yellow works perfectly in a bedroom. It is a color you might have seen in a historic home, but is set off with contemporary furnishings and a wooden floor painted a Scandinavian white.
And here’s vibrant color in a child’s bedroom, proving that stark white is not the only way to give historic home a modern appeal.
So what’s the take away on freshening up a Victorian era brownstone?
- Don’t be afraid to mix eras and styles. The spare, clean lines of mid-century modern and Scandinavian design can fabulously complement ornate moldings and period details.
- Play with color and paint. One school of thought believes that only stark white paint can give a period home a modern feel, but we feel that colorful walls are a more interesting way to go, providing a bridge between eras and a spirit of playfulness.
- Go modern with fixtures. The contrast between the architectural detail and sleek fixtures will be captivating. Also, fixtures can easily be changed out when styles change, without damaging the essential historic integrity of a home.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a brownstone, enjoy your luck. The rest of us can only envy your good fortune!
Here’s a home that demands to be lived and loved in!
Set on the glorious sea coast – this is a home for the good life.
The casual house takes its inspiration from the coastal regions along both the Mediterranean and Mexican Riviera.
Here; a hand rounded sink that just happens to perfectly accommodate three straw baskets underneath suggests Mexico.
Here the pure bliss of an idyllic built-in Mediterranean sunporch enjoying the sea, and the softened white curves of whitewashed earth echoed by plumply fluffy white pillows, suggests Greece.
Here, the inspiration seems more Mexican than Mediterranean.
While you’d swear you were in Europe….
But actually, this Mexican-Mediterranean meld from Kirkpatrick Architects is sited at Emerald Bay.
Perhaps this blend is California’s unique approach to enjoying its own heavenly setting.
A gabion stone wall forms the central support for this compact studio home.
Ana Paula Barros designed Loft Bauhaus, sited in Brazil.
While it is neither a loft, nor particularly Bauhaus, the small studio is an extremely well designed and compact home for a single person or a couple – that also comfortably houses six or seven dinner guests.
By contrast with the earthiness of the textural solidity of the stone wall at the heart of the home, the exterior wall is simply glazing from ceiling to floor.
So the effect is that of a pavilion, utterly open on all sides.
The public half of the house comprises a living room and dining room displayed in front of the stone wall.
Huge industrial lamps hang over the dining table which comfortably seats eight.
Behind the central gabion stone wall at the dining end is the kitchen.
A similar opening at the other end of the gabion wall accesses the bedroom and bathroom.
While the house is intended for a single occupant – or a couple, the entertaining front area is well designed to accommodate eight.
And this is done comfortably and graciously despite the compact space.
But one flaw is that guests can only access the toilet (behind the white sliding doors) by traveling deep into the client’s private bedroom, past the sunken bath with its sliding glass wall to the private garden.
Buero Philipp Moeller architects have designed a charming revitalisation of a farmhouse in Moorenweis, Germany.
The old farmhouse was built in the Fürstenfeldbruck district built in the 1890s.
Now it brings a very special loft-style living experience for a lucky family of four.
The industrial modern style works perfectly with the equally straightforward 1890s barn construction techniques.
Huge sturdy timbers are completely exposed, revealing their system of construction.
Appealing parallels between the 19th and 21st century are offered in the steam punk ironwork chosen to make chandeliers, the elegant yet practical chairs and the super wide floor planks.
A farmhouse kitchen is perfectly executed, neither cloyingly sentimental nor brutally at odds with the old barn’s history.
These rooms on the ground floor were retained in their original layout, just opening up some interior walls to let more light in.
Where the decidedly modern fixtures like these sinks are employed, they are balanced on aged timbers for a perfect meld between old and new.
The many rooms on the ground floor offer a variety of living spaces.
The old painted chest forms a charming complement to the huge farmhouse table, the exposed trusses, and the sensitively chosen industrial lighting.
Outside, little is altered.
The vintage trellis that was the height of style in the 1890s is retained.
Likewise, an old painted door with its antique fittings is simply left as is.
The ample proportions of an old AGA fire oven is perfect for the super-wide cooktops available in the 21st century.
This really has to be the most beautiful renovation ever seen by Homedesignfind.
More of us are eschewing traditional paint choices at home to go for something a little unexpected. This might mean exchanging basic white ceilings and moldings for ceilings and moldings splashed with bold color. Or it might mean choosing darker colors for walls or going for high contrast paint between moldings and walls. This post is dedicated to the expanding vocabulary of interior paint.
Above, a homeowner has chosen a soft blue for a ceiling instead of the traditional white. The choice, which picks up the blue of the ocean right outside the window, gives this room a soothing yet warm and vibrant quality. If the owner had opted for blue walls, it might have been too much.
Below, another colored ceiling, this time in a soothing yellow ochre, gives a basic, traditional bedroom an edge:
And here, a canary yellow ceiling in a kitchen provides a pop of vibrant color as a relatively cheap and easy alternative to painted cabinets or patterned tile. The look can be achieved with a $50 gallon of paint over the course of morning.
If you’re interested in the painted ceiling idea and you also happen to have ceiling moldings, consider a high-contrast paint job to highlight moldings. Something like this:
Moldings Painted Same Color as Walls
Are you looking to create a modern flare in a traditional space? Painting wall moldings the same color as the wall can help your home feel sleek and modern, but with a traditional twist. The look is cleaner than moldings painted a contrasting color, and the eye takes in the entire space at once, which can also make a space feel larger. For example:
And below, painting the moldings the same color as the walls actually makes the ceilings feel higher:
Very Dark Walls
In the last few years, dark gray and black walls have been in vogue. In 2015, we’ve heard that blue is the new black, but the idea remains the same. What do dark walls do for a space? In the right room, they can look very glamorous, moody and sensual. We recommend using dark colors in rooms that get lots of light. If you paint a darker room a dark color, you might want to target an area that is used primarily at night — a bedroom or perhaps a TV room.
And here, this year’s dark blue:
High Contrast Look
Finally, another bold painting choice is choosing moldings that contrast starkly with wall color. This look highlights architectural detail and provides added interest. For some, the look may be too busy, but when done right, the look can be crisp and classy. For instance:
So if you’re thinking it’s time for a new paint job at home, give some thought to mixing things up. There’s no reason to stick to the tried and true with so many other options out there!