Homepolish designer Ana Claudia Schultz helped a growing family craft a Brooklyn brownstone that honors its traditional charms with their modern sensibilities.
Photos by Sean Litchfield.
When you’re able to get your hands on a stunning Park Slope brownstone built at the turn of the century—the very first year of the 20th century, that is—it can be daunting to decorate. After all, what could hold sway in the same space as those charming original moldings, hand-carved woodwork, and the most elegant stone fireplace you’ve ever laid eyes on?
Thankfully, Homepolish designer can help. Jennifer Riguardi, mother of two (soon-to-be three) had been living in the space for six months and was a bit paralyzed with the design process when she reached out to Homepolish for help. But even with minimal decorating on Jennifer’s end, Ana Claudia could sense her underlying style.
“When I arrived in the space, the client was flustered with the lack of design and had little time to commit to selecting furniture,” Ana Claudia tells us. “She had brown leather couches and very bachelor-esque furnishings. That said, I noticed she had touches of pattern and color in the space—so that’s where I focused our attention.”
With an overarching goal in mind, Ana Claudia could focus on honoring the home’s classic features while making it work for a modern Brooklyn brood.
“Contrasting the brownstone’s architecture with bold colors and design is what inspired the space,” Ana Claudia explains. “I also had to keep in mind that she needed lots of storage and it needed to be kid-friendly. By going the opposite of the traditional architecture, we brought new life to the space.”
Once the duo decided that balancing out the home’s older bones with vibrant colors, visually intriguing patterns, and statement art, they got to work on creating the beautiful space.
“I wanted to add life to the space but didn’t want it to be overwhelming,” explains Ana Claudia. “There is a nice balance now of old, new, neutral, and color. I loved that Jennifer was not scared of pattern and color! At the same time, we both lean towards minimalism so there are not too many pillows, accessories, and the like scattered about.”
Select pieces downstairs play up those colorful design dreams. Brightly-hued graphic rugs anchor the living and family rooms, while sleeker accents like a clean-lined credenza and sharp sectional balance out the brilliance. Art dotted throughout the space adds touches of cheekiness, and ornate and vintage accents infuse a grown-up vibe to adult-centered spaces, like the dining room.
Upstairs, the family can find refuge in the soft neutral palette and rich natural textures of the bedrooms. A rough-hewn wooden bed frame gives the space a modern-rustic look that Ana Claudia complemented with creamy linens and luxurious hide rugs.
Soft shades were the focus, but bursts of color snuck in. Whimsical figures—literally—and shapes in muted hues dominate the artwork, while greenery adds an extra organic touch.
“Jennifer has what some might call a ‘brown thumb,’ but we both wanted to add plants to the space,” Ana Claudia recalls. “So we selected durable plant species—already in their planters—from Sill. I also went to Brittany Hollow Farms in Rhinebeck and picked every flower from their field, then transported it to the city in two buckets inside an Amazon bag. It was well worth the effort because in the end, the plants add even more personality to the family’s space.”
And personality, as this design shows, is always paramount.
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