Artist and foodie Julia Sherman has combined her passions in a Brooklyn brownstone that serves up a millennial mix of inspiring design ideas.
A two-storey apartment in a 19th-century house in Brooklyn. The living room and dining area, kitchen and WC are on the ground floor. The lower-ground floor comprises the master bedroom, office/guest room and bathroom.
According to Julia this was definitely the worst house on the block; inside, it was in really bad shape, but the fact that it was untouched meant all the original mouldings and fireplaces were still in place. So she and her husband spent a year turning the house into a home.
The arched alcove (above) was crumbling, so the Julia seized the opportunity to add pattern and colour with tiles. The bespoke cement tiles are based on Moroccan mosaics she had seen on her travels.
This empty original fireplace makes the perfect cosy hideaway for Lucy, the dog.
The apartment has a topsy-turvy arrangement, with the kitchen and living areas on the brighter ‘parlour level’ and the bedrooms and bathroom below. No surface or structure was left untouched. The roof was repaired and windows were replaced; floors were sanded and stained a rich brown; walls were painted art-gallery white.
The kitchen, the creative hub of this apartment, sits at the rear of the house with a view of the backyard, separated from the living and dining space by pocket doors. Designing the layout was a puzzle as there are so many doors and windows, a fireplace and very little wall space.
The couple decided to make the most of the room’s height by installing cupboards just beneath the ceiling, which they reach using a library ladder reclaimed from a bookstore. Julia also wanted a big, luxurious island with a hob facing the living space, so she can be part of the party while she’s cooking.
The long living room has enough space for a dining table. The table’s mismatched chairs sum up the couple’s low-key approach to furnishing their home. Virtually everything in the house is from reclamation yards; every door has been salvaged and each doorknob was bought individually.
The couple like to find furnishings in thrift stores and on their travels, and buy artworks from fairs and friends. The only furniture bought new for the apartment is the pink Muuto sofa.
The living room’s finished look has a lightness of touch. Strip away the colours, patterns and porcelain boots sculpture swinging from the chandelier and the apartment is a true-to-its-era restoration. With them, it’s quintessential New-York- art-scene cool.
The decor has been kept relatively simple so as not to detract from the apartment’s period features, such as original fireplaces, wood floors and ornate plasterwork.
Julia’s favourite features are the glass table lamp bases, which look like ruffled skirts. The couple found the bed in a salvage yard. It had been used in a movie shoot but was in perfect condition.
The couple designed a huge shower, as they were putting in a new bathroom from scratch. The wall tiles are actually enamel medallions found by Julia’s husband in a warehouse in Providence when he was a student. Dark grout makes the circular patterns stand out.