Brooklyn is home to numerous furniture makers and artisans, and a growing number of interior designers working in its historic, industrial and artsy neighborhoods. Starting Friday, Sept. 29, their work can be seen at what is believed to be the borough’s first designer show house.
Show co-chairs Erika Belsey Worth and Ellen Hamilton of the Brooklyn Heights Association decided that, instead of organizing the group’s annual house tour fundraiser, they would bring together some of the city’s top design professionals to put their own spin on a Brooklyn property. They brought in consultant Tony Manning, who organizes the Hampton Designer Showhouse each summer, and took over an 1867 town house on Livingston Street.
“Brooklyn was ripe for it,” Belsey Worth said. “There’s so much talent that’s just exploding.”
The house, which its longtime owners rent out, has been turned into a showcase of Brooklyn trends, plus lessons on how to include contemporary design elements without sacrificing a home’s history.
WHAT The first Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse to benefit the Brooklyn Heights Association
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, Sept. 29 to Nov. 5, at 32 Livingston St., Brooklyn
INFO $40; 718-858-9193, email@example.com, brooklyndesignershowhouse.com
Mixed media (Glenn Gissler)
Manhattan-based designer Glenn Gissler, current president of the New York Metro Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers, filled the long front room with a mix of antiques. One large rug connects the two spaces.
The vintage pieces come from various periods of the 20th century, along with a modern sofa, to create a living room with a few seating areas, along with a work space.
The design “respects the 19th century bones of the house but creates a proper context for 21st century living,” says Gissler, whose firm is Glenn Gissler Design.
A dining 'salon' (Deborah Berke Partners)
With a nod to Brooklyn’s laid-back aesthetic, the team at Manhattan-based architecture and interior design firm Deborah Berke Partners decided to forgo the formal dining room and instead created a “dining salon.”
A rope light fixture that loops around the room, small round dining table and modern gray velvet sofa added to the relaxed look.
“It’s less about dining than living in general,” says Stephen Brockman, a senior principal at the firm who worked on the room.
Flowers in the attic (Jennifer Eisenstadt)
Designer Jennifer Eisenstadt, who is based in Brooklyn Heights, transformed the attic space from a dark, underutilized storage area into a bright, airy den with plenty of Brooklyn pedigree. After paneling the space with beadboard and whitewashing the walls and ceiling, she hung botanical prints of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by botanical illustrator Maud Purdy.
The room also features an African tribal birthing chair, a bubble light fixture by Brooklyn resident Lindsey Adelman, a woven wall hanging by local jewelry designer Marissa Alperin and crystal dream catchers by 1thirty9, a gift boutique on nearby Atlantic Avenue.
A bright bath (Harry Heissmann)
Manhattan designer Harry Heissmann added brightness to an otherwise standard white bathroom that had recently been remodeled, and had originally been clad in burgundy.
Heissmann installed fabric wallpaper with a strawberry pattern with the fruit turned a bright yellow.
The design, which includes plenty of whimsy, opened the bathroom up and made it cheerier, says Heissmann, whose firm is Harry Heissman Inc.
Brass is back (Joe Ciuffo)
Joe Ciuffo of Deer Park-based Ciuffo Cabinetry turned the narrow butler’s pantry on the first floor into the main kitchen, installing both closed and open walnut custom cabinets with brass hardware, which is becoming popular, especially for more traditional spaces.
“You have to do it right,” Ciuffo says, “connecting it with the time and style. This is more traditional, but we gave it a contemporary flair. If the design is not there, it seems forced.”