A Sophisticated Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation

A Sophisticated Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation

A Sophisticated Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation


Shirley Kwok and Art Samuels


In the Park Slope neighborhood, a couple took on a two-year renovation of a Brooklyn brownstone, thanks to their Homepolish designer Michelle Young.

Photos by Daniel Wang.

When it comes to any big project, it helps to break it down into manageable, smaller tasks that way you don’t get overwhelmed, run away, and go hide in the safety of your bed, burying your head in the blankets. Designing a space can be one of those seemingly insurmountable projects, especially in the case of Shirley Kwok and Art Samuels. They weren’t just redesigning a single-room space… they were tackling a full Brooklyn brownstone renovation.

Luckily, within a month of move-in, they sat down for a consultation with Homepolish designer Michelle Young, who was prepared to help the couple tackle the home, one space at a time. The home had been covered in faux painting and murals, going for an “Under the Tuscan Sun” vibe from the previous owner. Architectural details, moldings, and accents were chipping away under poor upkeep. The couple wanted to take that look, which clearly didn’t fit with the Park Slope surroundings, and change it into a timeless sophistication. With a good helping of “sparkle,” as per Shirley’s request.

A full restoration of a historic brownstone does not come cheap. Michelle began with the basics of the home, sanding down rough edges and repairing gaps and cracks in the wood and details with putty. Circle medallions were added to the ceiling fixtures to give a sense of that old world glory. Of course, that Italian-esque motif was painted over in a calming off-white, with moldings in a cool gray. Neutral colors for the win.

Once the foundation was laid, the room-by-room work started. The kitchen, the heart of the home, came first. Marble was polished, and the cabinetry was repainted in a sleek bi-tonal scheme. To match the countertops, the dining table is also marble, appointed with a luxurious crystal chandelier and a giclée in the home’s same grayscale color.

An almost European air takes the living room with ornate curves, glittering lighting, and architectural details on the fireplace. Wingback chairs couple with a more modern sofa, but comfort was key for all seating choices. And note the Instaglios on the walls? A tip of the hat to Grecian artistic influences.

Mid-reno the couple received some big news: they had a baby girl on the way! Michelle was able to work in a nursery in addition to the final touches of the master bedroom. As a finishing touch, accessories were brought in from vintage and thrift stores in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, giving a sense of history. It all alludes to the ornate brownstone’s charm… and yet nods to the couple’s glam sophisticate sensibility.



We absolutely love how Michelle transformed our house! She helped us combine a fun, glam style with classic Brooklyn brownstone charm. Our home is now perfect for entertaining friends or for finding a cozy nook to read ‘Goodnight, Moon’ again and again with our baby Belle.

- Shirley Kwok, Homepolish client



For related stories, check out:
A Brooklyn brownstone renovation by Homepolish designer Elizabeth Bomberger
The Brooklyn brownstone home of Homepolish’s Louisa Guy Roeder
Brooklyn Blonde’s brownstone makeover by Homepolish’s Matthew Cane

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