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Pale neutrals, organic shapes, and natural materials were Studio Fauve’s prescription for uplifting a gem of a 19th century brownstone, whose dreary, dated kitchen and baths new homeowners freshly arrived from London couldn’t wait to say goodbye to. A coveted building type — corner lot, two box bay windows, plentiful original detail, dramatically high ceilings — the house had dark finishes on the interior and cabinetry that did not begin to live up to its pedigree.
Brooklyn-based Studio Fauve is helmed by interior designer Charlotte Sylvain, who arrived from France a decade ago, worked in the field, and established her own practice in 2018. This project entailed considerable new construction and millwork, overseen by Sylvain’s husband, architect Shikar Thakur.
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“It was a heavy cosmetic upgrade, not a gut. We weren’t changing structural walls,” Thakur said. Studio Fauve did, however, tweak the floor plan and rejigger plumbing while remodeling several baths, one of which, on the top floor, is entirely new. They revamped the kitchen completely, with new custom cabinetry and a distinctive breakfast nook (top photo), rethought the connecting hallway between the primary bedroom and bath, laid new white oak flooring throughout, installed a new HVAC system and spec’d specialized paint finishes, among other things.
Sylvain brought her credo of “neutral, natural, simple” to bear on the selection of furnishings and lighting for about “half the house,” she said. The balance of furnishings were pieces the clients already owned.
Although only 14 feet wide, the four-story building has an entry door midway along its 60-foot-long side. From the entry hall on the parlor level, there are views into the living room at one end of the house and the kitchen at the other. The newel post sports a glass finial of the Victorian era.
Custom millwork in the kitchen includes a curved banquette inspired by contemporary French designer Pierre Yovanovich, whose work the couple admires, tucked away in one of the box bay windows. It surrounds a table from Ton already owned by the clients.
Countertops and a backsplash of Calacatta gold marble are a luxe touch. The ceiling fixture was sourced from Wastberg.
The homeowners’ Minotti sofa was retained. A new wood chair from Crump and Kwash and hefty pedestal side table from Burke Decor bring unusual shapes to the scheme. Assertively textured rugs and other textiles throughout are an important ingredient in making the space feel comfortable and warm.
A New Works ceiling fixture, bed from Design Within Reach, bench from The Citizenry, nightstands by Pinch from Future Perfect, rug from Armadillo, and lamps from Ferm Living coexist beautifully with the original moldings and fireplace of the primary bedroom.
A sleek new hallway with a walk-in closet leads to an all-new primary bath, with a floor of blonde French limestone from Historic Decorative Materials. Shower tiles were sourced from Clé, with polished brass fixtures from Studio Ore in the shower and on a custom vanity topped with vintage Arabescato marble. Sconces came from Rose Uniacke.
The homeowners’ teen daughter took a great interest in the design of her room and adjacent bathroom on the top floor. Cane bifold doors give the wall-to-wall closet a light look.
A wall treatment of tadelakt, a waterproof plaster tinted a muted green, sets off the retro-style mosaic tiles from Clé. Sylvain used aged brass fixtures from Studio Ore for the Watermark tub. An Allied Maker sconce tops the vanity.
Walls painted Farrow & Ball’s moody Down Pipe distinguish the home office next to the primary bedroom. A contemporary desk from Another Country harks back to Danish modern era; the chair is classic Eames.[Photos by Nick Glimenakis]
The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday morning.