Designer Megan Crawley offsets traditional architectural elements with modern furnishings and flashes of electric color in a Park Slope brownstone.
Photos by Sean Litchfield
An early 20th-century brownstone on the edge of Prospect Park might not be the first place you’d anticipate seeing striking fire engine red Bentwood chairs or funky modern ceramics. But for’s clients, an unexpected clashing of styles is the exact vibe they were going for. In their previous home, they offset sleek, minimalist architecture with more traditional furnishings. So it’s no surprise that in a more old-school environment, they craved more contemporary design.
“We chose pieces very carefully,” Megan reveals. “We knew we needed to add in some more streamlined, chunky pieces to balance out the traditional feel of the space and all the detailed, ornamented woodwork. Choosing a palette with some fun colors went a long way to create a more current design, since traditional brownstones can feel a little stuffy without pops of color.”
To remain reverent to the home’s century-old detailing, the designer made sure these flashes of color complemented the brownstone’s pre-existing features.
“We leaned into the very warm tones in all In the woodwork by using orange, yellow, and pink accents,” Megan explains. “This made the new elements feel more cohesive within the space.”
But the woodwork wasn’t the only inspiration for her choice of palette. Megan also drew from for this her client’s multi-colored Hermès scarf, which now hangs adjacent to a row of bay windows showcasing sweeping views of Prospect Park. She chose to balance the pops of color—think a large-scale gold and grey abstract rug and pale pink wall behind the fireplace—with more neutral furnishings, like the low-slung sectional chair and ottoman, circular coffee table, poufs, and floor cushions. To appeal to both kids and adults alike, Megan purposefully selected pieces that are low, inviting, and unstuffy.
In the family room, Megan chose to keep the color scheme more pared-down to allow the room’s statement features to shine.
“The exception was the window seat where we accentuated the charming cottage feel of the leaded glass windows by using a cute woodland-themed fabric,” she shares. “It felt like those two elements belonged together, plus the kids absolutely loved the fabric!”
Megan’s clients wanted this space to be a more casual space where they could relax and host guests. Playing off the built-in bench, she chose a sectional sofa to create a U-shaped seating area. In the center, a trio of honeycomb-shaped ottomans in blush pink deliver a soft, modern edge.
By keeping these larger pieces more toned-down, she was able to go bolder with many of the room’s smaller pieces, like the art, the crimson dining chairs, and decorative accessories. She also extended this juxtaposition of traditional and modern pieces in the daughter’s bedroom, sourcing a teal settee that invites a pop of fun, youthful color into the room. She also catered to the one very specific request.
“[My client’s daughter] told me she absolutely had to have a leopard print pillow, so we based the room around that,” she shares.
As it turns out, leopard goes great with turn-of-the-century architectural details.
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