industrial vibe #27

When this interior designer bought her Brooklyn apartment, it was cold, austere and a world away from the family home she’d imagined. But just look at what she did...

Get the look For an original Sputnik-style chandelier by Gino Sarfatti, check out The bespoke bench is upholstered in a teal velvet by Kravet. The rug is a vintage Moroccan design. François Gilles can source antique Berber rugs similar to this one.

The ProPerTy

A duplex apartment in a newly built block in Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Brooklyn, New York.

On the first floor there is a double-height living/ dining room, kitchen, utility room, WC, a study/ guest bedroom, child’s bedroom, a bathroom and a terrace. The master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, walk-in wardrobe, a WC, a recording studio and another terrace are on the mezzanine level above.


Sophisticated is the word that comes to mind when entering this New York apartment. But possibly ‘shock’ would have been more appropriate when owners Athena and Victor Calderone first moved in.

The couple bought their penthouse, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, when it was still a twinkle in the architect’s eye. They visited in hard hats for two years as the construction progressed and found it exciting to be part of the process.

But Athena had a panic when she walked into the completed space for the first time. She thought it looked like a bad hotel lobby, with lots of metalwork, stark white paint and fluorescent lights.

After taking a breath, she decided to use her skill as an interior designer to transform the space. Her challenge was to take the ‘cold and austere’ setting and turn it into a warm, luxurious family home.

They installed a window at the top of the stairs to let light flood in, replaced the metal stair rail with a walnut panel and repainted the white walls in a moody palette of navy, grey and teal.

The family has had the vintage Sputnik light, (shown above) for 15 years. It goes with them each time they move and looks amazing whichever room they put it in.

Get the look The artwork above the bench is by Volker Hüller. Visit the Timothy Taylor Gallery to see more of his work. The bespoke bench is upholstered in a teal velvet by Kravet. The rug is a vintage Moroccan design.


The kitchen units and marble work surface were already in place when the family moved in, but Athena added the brass trim.

Get the look For similar cabinetry, try Bulthaup. Mandarin Stone sells marble worktops. The Goodman pendant lights above the island are by Thomas O’Brien from Circa Lighting. These are the Tabouret A stools by Organic Modernism. The Branching Bubble light over the table is a custom design by Lindsey Adelman.

living/dining room

This stunning double-height space is the showpiece of the penthouse, with views over Brooklyn. Athena grounded the decorating scheme with a navy blue wall, then added rosewood furniture to reflect the rust-red exterior metalwork.

She wanted to use tactile, rich materials here, such as silk, velvet and leather – partly as a reaction to the bleakness of the space when they first moved in.

Get the look For a similar wall colour, try Little Greene’s Juniper Ash emulsion. The Edward Wormley sofa, reupholstered in a Bergamo silk velvet, was an eBay find. Try George Smith for buttoned upholstery. The large artwork above the sofa is by Lucien Smith from the OHWOW gallery in LA. The graphic studies are by Wes Lang. The Arne Norell Safari chairs, Danish dining table and Niels O Møller dining chairs are all from 1stdibs. com. The coffee table was made by a local metalworker.

She wanted every vantage point to have an element of warmth, but stopped it looking too cosy by adding metal pieces.

Get the look This is the Lake credenza (sideboard) by Tyler Hays for BDDW. The lamp base is a vintage design. To source similar, visit the Midcentury Modern Show.


The study doubles up as a guest room and because it’s so dark, it’s a great place for the family to watch movies.

Get the look The walls are covered in a Phillip Jefferies grass cloth. The photograph on the wall is by Gerald Förster. This is the Alma chair by Organic Modernism. The vintage Moroccan rug was sourced from

master bedroom

After initial reservations about the property, it was the bedroom that convinced Athena to live here. She loves the way the light spills in each morning.

The walls have been kept off-white, putting the focus on the artwork. The bed is from Ikea, painted the same colour as the walls.

Get the look Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White emulsion is a match for the wall colour. This is Ikea’s Malm ottoman bed. The knitted throw is from local outlet Warm. Try Amara for similar. The photograph is by Eric Cahan. For similar wall lights, check out Vaughan.


Natural slate, a petrified tree stump and botanical prints bring an organic warmth to the look.

Get the look For similar sanitaryware, go to CP Hart. Stone Age is a good source of slate mosaic tiles.

Athena chose pieces that had history and patina to give the apartment character.

Get the look The walls are painted in Ocean Floor emulsion by Benjamin Moore. The vintage prints are from Holler & Squall. The tree stump was found at ABC Carpet & Home.

Kid’s room

The couple’s son is obsessed with skateboarding, so Athena went on to a website and chose 20 boards in a pink, purple, blue and green palette to decorate the walls of his room. She calls the result ‘total sensory overload’.

Get the look The skateboards are all from For custom decks, go to Slam City Skates. Try Retrouvius for industrial-style table lights. The grey bed linen is from Restoration Hardware. For a similar striped rug, visit Ikea.

For more information about Athena’s interior design work visit

Photography / Matthew Williams

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