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A Modern Fairy-Tale Told in 800 Square Feet: Sandeep Salter’s Family Apartment

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A Modern Fairy-Tale Told in 800 Square Feet: Sandeep Salter’s Family Apartment

March 19, 2018

Sandeep Salter knows a thing or two about creative living. The daughter of a choreographer (Darshan Singh Bhuller) and a dancer, Sandeep grew up in London’s Primrose Hill before studying fine art at Parsons in New York. There she worked as an archivist and bibliographer, met husband Carson Salter, and ran a small bookshop out of the MIT Media Lab in Boston where Carson was studying. Back in NYC, Sandeep partnered with Sarah McNally, of McNally Jackson booksellers, to open Goods for the Study and Picture Room next door. Named after the Picture Room at Soane House in London, the gallery sells work of contemporary artists, rare prints, and framed ephemera. Last year, Sandeep moved Picture Room independently to Brooklyn Heights, blocks from the 800-square-foot apartment where she, Carson, and their two daughters live.

The small apartment, decorated with inherited antiques and evocative color, holds memories both past and future. “Thinking about how my children will experience their home has become a guiding principle. It’s the details that stick.” says Sandeep. “I think about how the girls run up and down the hallway, turn the small brass knobs on these huge black doors to enter into bright rooms filled with light and color. It’s a small apartment, but the thresholds are magical and charming.” Join us for a tour.

Photography by Jonathan Pilkington for Remodelista; styling by Alexa Hotz.

In the living room, an upholstered armchair—Carson’s grandfather’s chair—and a wooden chamber pot chair passed down from Carson’s great-grandparents’. “We are the caretakers for a lot of Carson’s family furniture from Georgia, which has been passed down four or five generations at this point,” Sandeep explains. “There is a very sentient history to most of the objects in our home; stories to all of them.” The chamber pot chair is, “at the moment, the girls’ favorite trick seat for new visitors.”
Above: In the living room, an upholstered armchair—Carson’s grandfather’s chair—and a wooden chamber pot chair passed down from Carson’s great-grandparents’. “We are the caretakers for a lot of Carson’s family furniture from Georgia, which has been passed down four or five generations at this point,” Sandeep explains. “There is a very sentient history to most of the objects in our home; stories to all of them.” The chamber pot chair is, “at the moment, the girls’ favorite trick seat for new visitors.”
A picture wall reminiscent of Picture Room. Clockwise from far left, the works are: “Two Intervals I” by Richard Kostelanetz, “Hollywood Rd.” by Pia Howell, historic ephemera from a 1972 piece by Dan Graham, a work by Dexter Sinister given to Sandeep and Carson as a wedding gift, “Sally’s Room” by Maia Ruth Lee, and “Nordstjernens Lys Polaris /Shot to Hell While Wishing Upon a Star” by Lawrence Weiner. Carson built the white bookshelf that displays favorite art books and a set of cobalt-tinted ceramics by Natalie Weinberger.
Above: A picture wall reminiscent of Picture Room. Clockwise from far left, the works are: “Two Intervals I” by Richard Kostelanetz, “Hollywood Rd.” by Pia Howell, historic ephemera from a 1972 piece by Dan Graham, a work by Dexter Sinister given to Sandeep and Carson as a wedding gift, “Sally’s Room” by Maia Ruth Lee, and “Nordstjernens Lys Polaris /Shot to Hell While Wishing Upon a Star” by Lawrence Weiner. Carson built the white bookshelf that displays favorite art books and a set of cobalt-tinted ceramics by Natalie Weinberger.
Sandeep shares her advice for framing and displaying artwork: “Always frame an artwork for the artwork, not for its surrounding environment. The artwork will fit into an interior much better if it’s not trying to match it, but reflects something about the space or its inhabitants,” she says. “It’s absolutely OK to mix frame styles, but when it doubt, go with a raw or unfinished maple frame—rather than black or white. It’s neutral, contemporary, and doesn’t hide its materiality.”
Above: Sandeep shares her advice for framing and displaying artwork: “Always frame an artwork for the artwork, not for its surrounding environment. The artwork will fit into an interior much better if it’s not trying to match it, but reflects something about the space or its inhabitants,” she says. “It’s absolutely OK to mix frame styles, but when it doubt, go with a raw or unfinished maple frame—rather than black or white. It’s neutral, contemporary, and doesn’t hide its materiality.”

“I always wanted a Wedgwood Blue bedroom, but in reality, Wedgwood Blue proper was a little too dark for this room so we went with Farrow & Ball Parma Gray,” she says. “It’s a soothing color and reminds me of the last stanza of “High Windows”  and Marie Antoinette all at once!” The wrought iron bed frame is from a Goodwill in New Jersey with Stonewashed Belgian Linen bedding from Restoration Hardware. Behind the bed is a velvet overcoat from Sandeep’s grandmother: “very austere, as I believe she was.”
Above: “I always wanted a Wedgwood Blue bedroom, but in reality, Wedgwood Blue proper was a little too dark for this room so we went with Farrow & Ball Parma Gray,” she says. “It’s a soothing color and reminds me of the last stanza of “High Windows” [by Philip Larkin] and Marie Antoinette all at once!” The wrought iron bed frame is from a Goodwill in New Jersey with Stonewashed Belgian Linen bedding from Restoration Hardware. Behind the bed is a velvet overcoat from Sandeep’s grandmother: “very austere, as I believe she was.”
A chair from Carson’s grandparents that was once a functioning music box chair that played when the seat was lifted. “I’d like to restore its function someday, but for now it’s a good hiding place. I’m always finding small treasures in there—rocks, beads, earplugs, buttons—hidden by one of the girls.” The sconce is the Original BTC Hector Wall Sconce.
Above: A chair from Carson’s grandparents that was once a functioning music box chair that played when the seat was lifted. “I’d like to restore its function someday, but for now it’s a good hiding place. I’m always finding small treasures in there—rocks, beads, earplugs, buttons—hidden by one of the girls.” The sconce is the Original BTC Hector Wall Sconce.

A marble-topped painted dresser from the Salter family collection is paired with Ironstone from Sandeep’s grandmother.
Above: A marble-topped painted dresser from the Salter family collection is paired with Ironstone from Sandeep’s grandmother.

A glass shelf bought on a whim at ABC Carpet & Home (something similar is the ABC DNA Synthesis Shelf) stores linens in a French door alcove between the bedroom and living room.
Above: A glass shelf bought on a whim at ABC Carpet & Home (something similar is the ABC DNA Synthesis Shelf) stores linens in a French door alcove between the bedroom and living room.
The girls’ bedroom has a rattan twin bed that was Carson’s as a child. Above the bed are framed antique prints: “Old Ideas of the World,” an 18th-century German typographic form, and a wreath with the letter “S.” Sandeep built the dollhouse for their oldest daughter, Lowe Roma, while pregnant with their second, Eta, and furnished it with a Greenleaf Set found on eBay.
Above: The girls’ bedroom has a rattan twin bed that was Carson’s as a child. Above the bed are framed antique prints: “Old Ideas of the World,” an 18th-century German typographic form, and a wreath with the letter “S.” Sandeep built the dollhouse for their oldest daughter, Lowe Roma, while pregnant with their second, Eta, and furnished it with a Greenleaf Set found on eBay.

An under-bed storage solution is a thin antique wall cabinet for overflow toys.
Above: An under-bed storage solution is a thin antique wall cabinet for overflow toys.

The kitchen was remodeled a year in when Sandeep and Carson knocked out a granite breakfast bar that separated the kitchen from the dining room (now the girls’ bedroom) and built a wall with reclaimed windows at the top to bring in the light. They installed open shelves, an Ikea Hammarp wood countertop, a trio of drawers painted Farrow & Ball Off-Black in Full Gloss, and an under-sink linen curtain. A child-size trio of enamel ladles and red broom (bought from Acorn, a Waldorf children’s shop in Boerum Hill) and an Iris Hantverk Table Brush.
Above: The kitchen was remodeled a year in when Sandeep and Carson knocked out a granite breakfast bar that separated the kitchen from the dining room (now the girls’ bedroom) and built a wall with reclaimed windows at the top to bring in the light. They installed open shelves, an Ikea Hammarp wood countertop, a trio of drawers painted Farrow & Ball Off-Black in Full Gloss, and an under-sink linen curtain. A child-size trio of enamel ladles and red broom (bought from Acorn, a Waldorf children’s shop in Boerum Hill) and an Iris Hantverk Table Brush.
“I had no interest in enamelware until I met Carson,” says Sandeep. “He grew up with so much of it in the South, and I realized it was a big part of my own visual vocabulary from England. So now we’re both obsessed.” Surrounding the sink is a collection of enamelware—a grater, a wall bucket, soap dish, and strainer—from various flea markets. Paper towels are kept in a Copper Wire Mountable Towel Holder from West Elm and the sink—“a triumph; so affordable and the look and size is perfect”—is the Domsjö from Ikea.
Above: “I had no interest in enamelware until I met Carson,” says Sandeep. “He grew up with so much of it in the South, and I realized it was a big part of my own visual vocabulary from England. So now we’re both obsessed.” Surrounding the sink is a collection of enamelware—a grater, a wall bucket, soap dish, and strainer—from various flea markets. Paper towels are kept in a Copper Wire Mountable Towel Holder from West Elm and the sink—“a triumph; so affordable and the look and size is perfect”—is the Domsjö from Ikea.
The hallway baseboard is painted Farrow & Ball Off-Black in Full Gloss and two sets of Shaker rails store family jackets and bags. The bench is a church pew from Georgia, Carson’s great-grandparents’, and on the antique side table is Sandeep’s solution, a metal shoehorn on a ribbon that typically hangs from a peg.
Above: The hallway baseboard is painted Farrow & Ball Off-Black in Full Gloss and two sets of Shaker rails store family jackets and bags. The bench is a church pew from Georgia, Carson’s great-grandparents’, and on the antique side table is Sandeep’s solution, a metal shoehorn on a ribbon that typically hangs from a peg.
For a list of the openings and goings-on at Picture Room on 117 Atlantic Ave., in Brooklyn Heights, visit Picture Room online.

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