I’m always on the lookout for the next source of interiors inspiration that gets me mentally tearing up the kitchen and rethinking all the tweaks and solutions I’ve been obsessing about. Brooklyn Interiors, the recently published book from Rizzoli, has done the job. The book is a broad sampling of the modern Brooklynite at home, in their brownstones, lofts, duplexes, railroad apartments, and more. While some interiors have the raw wood and industrial lighting that has become associated with the new Williamsburg, they break the Brooklyn cliché in some way. It’s photographed by Matthew Williams (who shot our Remodelista book and upcoming Gardenista book), directed by Hilary Robertson, and written by Kathleen Hackett (a Brooklynite herself; her home is the first of the two dozen featured).
One of our favorite projects is the Clinton Hill house of designer Mona Kowalska, who moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn with her daughter, Claire, five years ago. As Kowalska has done with her fashion line, A Détacher, she takes a soulful and sublimely eccentric approach to designing the interiors. After seeing the house, I know one thing for sure: I’ll never arrange my pillows the same again.
Photographs are excerpted from Brooklyn Interiors by Kathleen Hackett (Rizzoli). Photography by Matthew Williams.
Above: “When I bought my house, it required a ton of work, but I didn’t do much structural change,” says Kowalska. Instead she maintained the integrity of the building while personalizing the details. “My favorite things we did change are the windows, the kitchen, and the upstairs bathroom. I also changed some of the ceiling medallions, they originally were those heavy Victorian ones.”
Above: The back parlor is accessorized with A Détacher designs (a multicolored shag pillow, a massive felt pouf) and an upside-down print by Félix González-Torres above the marble mantel.
Above: Daughter Claire sits on a 1930s Ironrite Health Chair in her studio bedroom.
Above: “The kitchen was a gut renovation,” says Kowalska. “We lowered one of the windows, built the floating island, and had the cement tiles laid. I’m not even sure what this room was before I bought my house.” The Corian countertops have an integrated sink; beside it, Kowalska dries dishes on the Tornillo Rack she designed for A Détacher. The light is a Murano fixture bought in Italy 20 years ago: “I had never been able to hang it because it required a ceiling height I hadn’t had before moving here.”
Above: Fabric boxes from Chinatown and an oil painting from eBay on the bedroom dresser.
Above: Kowalska and daughter Claire in the brownstone’s front parlor, which is painted in a faint sky blue from Benjamin Moore.
Above: Brooklyn Interiors is available on Amazon for $29.61.
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