Eva and Gentry Dayton are a royal couple on Brooklyn’s fashion and design scene. They met when Gentry came into Eva’s Atlantic Avenue boutique, Butter, looking for an Ann Demeulemeester skull necklace. They soon not only married but went into business together. Their shop, Eva Gentry, showcases Thakoon, Pas de Calais, and Martin Margiela, among other labels (and, a few doors away, at Eva Gentry Consignment, they traffic in almost equally illustrious second-hand togs). They also collaborate on interiors, including a showroom for Helmut Lang. In the stores and at home, theirs is a like-minded if unabashedly extremist approach, a sophisticated neo-Goth look which Eva terms “tough minimalism.” It goes like this:
1. Don’t allow any object that’s not black or white to cross your threshold (this extends from pots and pans to baby things–the couple have a young daughter named Charlie).
2. Toss in a bit of color with fresh flowers, but stick with a single kind, no mixed bouquets.
3. Cover floors with cow hides–they’re naturally non-slip and wear extremely well.
4. Use black candles generously.
5. Treat motorcycles and motorcycle paraphernalia as high art–Gentry grew up in York, Pennsylvania, home to a Harley Davidson factory, and has had a longstanding passion for biker culture. Eva is willing to go along for the ride.
Above: The couple’s combination living room/dining room has a wall of 1920s warehouse windows lined with vintage motorcycle helmets that underscore the black and white scheme. A source for black cow hides is the Raw Hide Company, which offers free shipping in the US.
Above: A Halloween mood can be put to work year-round.
Above: A vintage Harley Davidson frame adds a sculptural element to the living room. The biker vest is one of Gentry’s most prized possessions, so, it, too, is on display.
Above: The helmets date from the 1940s to the 1990s. All of the paintings in the apartment are by Mitchell Hoffmaster, a friend of Gentry’s since childhood and a kindred spirit.
Above: A large Mitchell Hoffmaster canvas provides the perfect backdrop for a table set in black. The Eames chairs are both new and old–the light-colored ones are vintage, the dark pair is from Design Within Reach.
Above: Eva and Gentry layer the table with circular black straw placemats from Ochre in Soho, Calvin Klein Home plates (alas, not longer available in matte), vintage black glass goblets, and Ted Muehling Biedermeier candlesticks in oxidized bronze.
Above: Ted Muehling candlesticks are always at the top of Eva’s gift list–each of these was a present from Gentry for a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. She gets black candles online from Creative Candles.
Above: Any color is allowed, as long as it’s black, white, and, on occasion, hot pink.
Above: The black and white theme continues into the bedroom; the bed is cloaked in Matteo linens purchased at Greenhouse in Brooklyn.
Above: Details from the couple’s bedroom. The lamp, made from old parts, is from Brooklyn curiosity shop Holler & Squall.
Above: Even the couple’s young daughter, Charlie, keeps to a largely duochromatic scheme. She sleeps in a crib by Oeuf.
Above: But Charlie’s parents do show some mercy.
Above: A garland from her baby shower and textures like sheepskin soften Charlie’s crib.
Above: A sign at the entry. “I like clean and simple,” says Eva, “Gentry likes more rough and dirty. So we do both, but keep it minimal.”
For more interiors that lean toward the dark side, see our gallery of designs in black and white.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 29, 2012 as part of our Miss Havisham issue.