Brooklyn homeowners wanted color…everywhere

Boston Home

Kati Curtis Design and ART Architects transform an old, dreary New England home into a layered haven of sparkle, glory, and surprise.

Photography by Thomas Love

structural engineer
Art Architects

Interior Designer
Designed by Katie Curtis

Initial design guidance from homeowners for this The Brooklyn Tudor of the 1930s was simple and straightforward: no white walls. “I hope all of our clients come to us with that dictate,” says designer Katie Curtis, who has worked with the couple since she set the tone for the wife’s first apartment nearly 20 years ago. “They wanted color everywhere. I loved hearing that.”

Before starting to choose colors and materials, the flow of the home needed some serious consideration. After the homeowners purchased the residence — at the suggestion of Curtis, who scanned Zillow for a place with a soul after they pitched it to a nice home they were considering — ART Architects was brought in to refine the design.

“Absolutely nothing was done to the original layout. The house was designed when people lived differently,” says JB Clancy, an ART partner. “The interior was also very dark and had nothing to do with the gorgeous backyard. We needed to redefine the plan to fit the 21st century family.

Photography by Thomas Love

The custom kitchen hood and Circa Lighting pendants feature black and brass details that evoke warm elegance. The seating is upholstered in green and white perennial fabric, which matches well with the white quartzite counters. / Photography by Thomas Love

To unify the main living spaces, integrate the house with the courtyard, and bring in more daylight, the floor plan was reconfigured to accommodate the kitchen, dining, and living areas at the back of the house. Extensive glass exposures and large windows that project outward visually connect the backyard, while glass doors open onto a balcony that separates the raised terrace and out to the lawn. These areas include one large open space, although Clancy notes that ceiling beams and wooden arches were used to define the three different areas.

To bring light into the center of the house, a new central staircase was designed above the entrance. The atrium—created by perforating the ceiling and installing three large custom stained-glass skylights—floods light from the second floor all the way down to the basement.

Creating a vibrant, modern interior was key for the homeowners with two young children. It was equally important to honor the home’s historic vernacular, especially the Gothic design elements, which are part of the Tudor language. “Early on, the owners came to us with the idea of ​​’Millennium Gothic,’ and we were all drawn to it,” Clancy says. When making design decisions, from window casings and door details to lighting and hand-stamped Moroccan tiles, “interpreting Gothic in a modern way was the fulcrum,” adds Curtis.

A bridge connects the right and left corridors on the upper floor. / Photography by Thomas Love

The woodwork in the foyer was painted a custom blue from Fine Paints of Europe, which plays off the blue in the Schumacher wallpaper. The round sofa—atop a vintage rug purchased from Landry & Arcari—is upholstered in a jasper fabric that exudes another shade of blue. / Photography by Thomas Love

Multiple styles are paired together in the newly created guest room downstairs; Wallcovering is Osborne & Little. “It’s a dark, pine-green wallpaper that feels like you’re inside a magical garden,” Curtis says. The rug was designed by Wendy Morrison. / Photography by Thomas Love

Among the first interior design choices were Schumacher’s “Citrus Garden” wallcoverings, which cover the walls surrounding the stair level. “I tend to gravitate toward lesser-known wallpaper designers, so I wouldn’t normally choose this print because it’s so distinctive, but it really has the right scale for this home,” says Curtis, who mixed colors from the cheery pattern with other saturated tones throughout the house. .

The decor consists of vintage pieces, a lively collection of textiles and artwork from the homeowner’s collection – as well as items from their previous residences that happen to work with the scheme. Most sofas and chairs are upholstered in a performance fabric, although you’d never know that the Osborne & Little seat in this great room sofa is stain-resistant; Ditto for the Christopher Farr printed on vinyl wallcovering. “I believe you don’t have to sacrifice performance for style,” Curtis says, noting that the juxtaposition of styles and materials is at the core of her aesthetic. “It’s all about balance. In the dining room, for example, the table has a rough, antique finish, while there is a heavier Gothic chandelier, oak ceiling beams, and high-gloss painted surfaces throughout the room.

The son’s room features custom wall coverings from Relativity Textiles. Gold curtains were paired with a Loloi rug, and the ceiling was painted by Benjamin Moore’s “Spring Break.” / Photography by Thomas Love

In the master bath, the vanity and trim are painted in upscale custom colors from Europe, while the walls are in Benjamin Moore’s “Dark Burgundy” design. / Photography by Thomas Love

One of the most attractive elements of the interior design is that every painted surface – and there are too many to count – is polished to a brilliant high gloss using a paint from Fine Paints of Europe. “Even though the colors are rich, it doesn’t look like a dark house because the lacquer does a great job of funneling light around the spaces,” Clancy says.

The glossy look is no easy feat to achieve, requiring seven to 10 coats of paint and a massive amount of sanding in between. “The painter, Ulysses Matos, had never used this technique before, but he jumped right into it. It was a labor of love,” Curtis says, noting that overall, “the whole team was very invested in making this house special. There was so much It’s a matter of pride for the craftsmen who worked on this house; they were there to make sure it was perfect. Indeed, the team effort shows: this delightfully crafted home sparkles, ready for the next century.

An antique wrought iron chandelier hangs above the dining table. The chairs are upholstered in a luxurious Anthony George Home fabric on the backs, while the seats are covered in the more durable Designex upholstery. / Photography by Thomas Love

Antique brutalist bronze chandeliers make a dramatic statement in the playroom located in the home’s former dining room. Brett Design’s blue floral wallcoverings look like a piece of art nestled amid the red-painted woodwork. / Photography by Thomas Love

Everything is lit

Designing a lighting plan that honors the architecture was a big part of the project. “JB and I wanted to keep the classic style of the house, so we didn’t want to include a lot of downlights,” says Curtis. The duo only allowed a few overhead lights to be installed without edges so they would appear as part of the ceiling. Otherwise, lighting revolves around ornate and antique wall sconces and chandeliers. “It was really important to us that these fixtures become the focus, not the overall downlight scheme,” Curtis says.

First published in the print edition of Boston Home Spring 2023 issue, titled “Sparkling Renaissance.”

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