Design Project: A New York Brownstone Townhouse With A Light, Open-Plan Interior

A New York brownstone townhouse has been revamped and refreshed, and given an open-plan layout to suit a young family of four.

PROPERTY

This brownstone townhouse in New York's Brooklyn neighbourhood is home to a family of four. The owners had bought the townhouse years ago but rented it out while they took care of a parent with Alzheimer's. When they decided to move back, they brought on interior designer Crystal Sinclair to open up the property and to transform it from the maze of small dark rooms that it previously was, into a stylish and functional family home.

The house was completely gutted, and Crystal installed a brand new hallway, kitchen, family room and bathroom. She added a fireplace to the formal living room and the master bedroom, and refreshed the cloakroom with new lighting and accessories, and a new colour palette. The result is a home that's relaxed and welcoming, and both comfortable for kids and stylish enough for adults.

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HALLWAY

Guests are greeted with a light and spacious hallway. An oversized mirror bounces light around, while painted white floorboards add to the fresh look.

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The hallway not only greets people as they enter, but the large open space also doubles as a play space for larger toys and games.

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The hallway also features floor to ceiling storage.

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FAMILY ROOM

The hallway leads into an open-plan kitchen with dining area, and a lounge space that connects to the garden.

This 'den' is for the family to hang out while watching television, and is a great spot for the kids to play while food is being prepared. The breadboards on the wall came from everywhere - some of which Crystal even squeezed into a suitcase during travels to take back for the space!

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The wood shelving came straight from an authentic antique lumber.

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DINING AREA

The adjoining dining area is an informal, family space.

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A cool neon sign is a nod to the house's location.

KITCHEN

The family room is separated from the kitchen with just a small step change in height, but it's enough to help zone the spaces.

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All the cabinets are IKEA, but with new fronts put on.

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Wall storage matches the hallway cabinets. They were all made using IKEA frameworks, but with new fronts.

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CLOAKROOM

The downstairs cloakroom was given a new look with paint, old mirrors and lighting.

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LIVING ROOM

Upstairs is a more styled living room for lounging. We love the ceiling pendant, and the way that a strip of paint reaches up onto the ceiling, framing the hanging chair. Here the furniture and accessories feel grown-up and stylish, while floor cushions and the hanging chair keep the mood light.

There's a desk corner that's used for getting some light work done while the children nap. The fireplace surround was installed by the designer to create a more elegant look in this room.

The worn Kilim rug, leather chairs and exposed brickwork in the background create a cool, eclectic look.

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MASTER BEDROOM

Exposed brickwork is continued in the master bedroom. Large pendant lights hang down on either side of the bed, instead of traditional wall lights. The effect is both modern and relaxed.

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An antique African guitar (which the couple bought on their honeymoon) hangs above the bed.

Across the room is a wall-mounted sideboard for storage, with a gallery wall hanging above.

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MASTER BATHROOM

A large basin and vanity area sits in the entrance to the master bedroom. There's a shower space just behind it.

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A small but stylish shower space was created behind the sink and basin.

The shower space was brightened up by adding transom windows that borrow light from the bedroom. Clever.

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The owners of this house divided their time between here and Tennessee, visiting a parent with Alzheimer's. Having lost that parent, they would like to encourage people to continue raising awareness and funds to charities that help fight it.

Photography: Claire Esparros