Design Dilemma: Beautiful Brooklyn Brownstone | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Beautiful Brooklyn Brownstone

transitional dining room how to tips advice

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!

transitional dining room how to tips advice

Also above and below, the pendant lamps in the dining room and entry hall provide a bit of modern drama in a traditional context.


transitional staircase how to tips advice

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.

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

Here’s another view:

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

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.

transitional bedroom how to tips advice

And here:

transitional family room how to tips advice

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.

transitional kids how to tips advice

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!

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