The TOWNHOUSE at 857 Carroll Street, A Park Slope Masterpiece


The fact that Porter and I get to wake up and peek inside some of New York's most beautiful buildings and homes...and then, in the best cases, fill them with furniture and art we love...requires almost daily I-must-be-dreaming pinches. And when the Harkov Lewis Team (Porter's team at Halstead) brought us in to help prepare a 1901 Romanesque Revival mansion for sale, our jaws practically dropped. This was no small undertaking: 4,300 square feet. Ten rooms (not including the garden apartment). Three floors...and a patio. 

The woodwork and floors alone are fit for kings. The furniture had to honor that, but also bring the home into the 21st century. For us, that meant lots of copper and metals, jewel tones, Chinoiserie touches and mid-century Italian dream pieces. We also asked our friends to help with the art...and our minds are just blown with how seamlessly they all work in the space and with each other. 

We love pretending that we're decorating for a real family when we stage. In this case, the family included an Italian zoologist father who has a music-loving teenage daughter from his first marriage. Together with his second wife, a French botanist, he has two twin eight year old boys who love astronomy and cars and a new baby girl who enjoys Frank Gehry pop-up books. They chose to live at 857 Carroll because of the proximity to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden where the wife headed up tropical plants, but they're now leaving Brooklyn so she can finally write her book about the jungles of Costa Rica. You know, one of those families. 

Here's the full tour of the house. Stay tuned for a special invitation and event that will let you really step inside! 


Tommaso Barbi's 1960s burled wood and brass backgammon table is our newest pride and joy. We thought it would be fun to add some purple neon to the mix, too. 


A large-scale photo from Ian Tong's Feathers and Fur series looks over the front parlor. The images of Scandinavian taxidermy are part of a larger documentary project, 'Artifice,' which explores man's endeavors to duplicate reality. Images from this series have been selected to appear in the prestigious American Photography annual #27 and were taking in Stockholm in 2009. 




C.T. Bray's sculptures line the parlor fireplace mantle. The French, 19th century fireplace screen is hand-painted. The sectional is designed after Vladamir Kagan.


Our HOVEY DESIGN DIY leaf lamp (after Tommaso Barbi) illuminates one of my paintings. Tom Dixon's coffee set serves as the centerpiece in the dining room. 



Bradford Robotham's Architectural Abstractions I-III hang in the master suite reading room where we added Persian rugs, a Le Corbusier lounge and our favorite tortoise shell floor lamps of all time. 



Margaux Ogden's Mass Sext (acrylic on canvas, 2015) hangs over the bed in the master bedroom. She just had a big show in LA and we could not be more excited for her success - and to have THREE of her works in the house. 


Her work, Not Long Now (acrylic on canvas, 2015), hangs over vintage club chairs in the master bedroom. 



We transformed Ikea's Fjellse beds into glamorous tortoise shell with some stain and Q-Tips. Porter created a wonderful space scene in chalk. 





Kirkland Bray's collages give life to the teenager's room. His Smooch hangs over the fireplace. 















11 comments

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Belongs in the archives of World of Interiors! Wish I was in the area to go see it, but love the bedside lamps? Where from?

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  5. Have you ever thought of putting a print of Van Gogh's "Landscape With House And Ploughman" into every place you design? I've been getting lost in the one I taped to my refrigerator for decades.


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