A Designer and an Artist’s Cozy Carroll Gardens Home

published Sep 14, 2018

A Designer and an Artist’s Cozy Carroll Gardens Home

published Sep 14, 2018
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Amy Ilias, Jim Denney (and kitties McCabe, Billie Pilgrim, and 3)
Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Size: 3,200 square feet
Years lived in: 21 years, owned

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As the Executive Vice President of Art & Design for ABC Carpet & Home, you could definitely say Amy Ilias knows design. And the Carroll Gardens house she’s owned for over two decades is a beautiful display of her elegant and design-forward style.

Alas, after 21 years, Amy and her partner Jim—an artist—are selling this house. “For 21 years this home has been a true sanctuary,” Amy writes in a recent Instagram post. “I have lived here longer than anywhere else, and the most important events of my life have unfolded within these four walls, with the most beloved people. I can honestly say that every single time I walked through these doors I took a deep breath, grateful to be home. It is time to pass the torch to the next people lucky enough to cherish and steward this home. I hope they treat it with kindness and respect and honor its past and spirit.”

Amy reports that during the week when at ABC Carpet & Home, she will stay in New York to be closer to work. But her weekends—and for Jim, full time—will be filled with another beautiful home that the creative couple is renovating, a 200-year-old Victorian in upstate New York nicknamed The Lavender Ghost.

(Image credit: Elaine Musiwa)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A collector of scraps, patina, imperfection, and art.

Inspiration: I am inspired by people who wake up each day determined to make the world better—through beauty, art, activism, curiosity, and discovery. Artistically I am inspired by Anselm Keifer, Brancusi, Patti Smith, Florine Stettheimer, and endless others.

Favorite Element: The front door. This home is a sanctuary. Everything changes the minute I walk inside.

Biggest Challenge: The living room is 9 feet by 30 feet. It is perfect for a cocktail party, for hanging art, or a nap on the couch.

What Friends Say: When people come for the first time they usually take time to look around. Most of our friends have been coming here for years, usually at night when it is darker and more dramatic. There have been many beautiful moments, tons of food and conversation in this house over the years. It is a really comfortable place to hang out.

Biggest Embarrassment: The enormous floor-to-ceiling scratching post/cat condo tucked into a corner of the stairway. [not photographed!]

Proudest DIY: This was four separate apartments when I bought the house, and has transformed gradually. The most gratifying home improvement was taking down the dividing walls allowing the house to breathe.

Biggest Indulgence: When I first bought the house my parents gave me a few thousand dollars as a housewarming gift and I spent it at ABC—I bought the antique chandelier in the kitchen which came out of a restaurant in Spain, the antique chandelier in the living room with the white bisque flowers, the black Victorian cabinet in the living room, and a vintage Afghan rug. This felt absurdly indulgent at the time.

Best Advice: Go slowly, collect, and try not to be influenced by trend. Buy what tells you a story, haunts you. Invest in items that you feel good about, that are low impact, made sustainably, or vintage. Don’t ever think you are done— your home should evolve as your life unfolds.

Dream Sources: A market or souk anywhere in the world.

(Image credit: Elaine Musiwa)


Benjamin Moore Aura, Super White throughout

Jim Denney art
Painting — Darren Waterston, DC Moore Gallery
Paintings — Heidi Pollard
Photography — Patti Smith via Robert Miller Gallery
“War is Over” Vintage Poster — John Lennon/Yoko Ono
Ganesh statue — abc carpet & home
Petrified wood stool — abc carpet & home
Patchwork Fresco rug abc carpet & home
Pendant — abc carpet & home

Sofa — Inherited from great Aunt, recovered by Beckenstein Fabrics
Coffee table — Inherited from parents
Rugs, fresco, tulu, and silk — abc carpet & home
Amelia chair — Saba abc carpet & home
Antique Victorian cabinet — abc carpet & home
Carnaby Street Stool — Verpan limited edition, no longer available
Art — Jim Denney; Rebecca Purcell; Roger Shimamura; Heidi Pollard
Pillows — abc carpet & home
Vintage panels — abc carpet & home, in-store only
Arm chair — Horseman Antiques
Antique lighting — abc carpet & home
Eames wire base low table — HermanMiller

Vintage flocked wallpaper
Photographs — Mark Hogancamp
Vintage chandelier — abc carpet & home
Vintage and antique textiles
Art — Jim Denney

Dining table — Jim Denney special order at abc carpet & home
Eames vintage dining chairs — Dumpster in Midtown
Vintage Mexican café chairs — Box Road
Table linens, Samantha Verrone — abc carpet & home
Kitchen cabinets — IKEA
Marble bar-height table — Horseman Antiques
Cookware Mauviel, Staub — abc carpet & home
Coffee Maker — Technivorm Moccamaster
Antique cabinets — abc carpet & home
Vintage amethyst glass — Michele Varian
Oven and hood — Viking
Blender — Vitamix
Antique café table — abc carpet & home
Art — Christopher Lucas; Heidi Pollard; Darren Waterston DC Moore Gallery; Gary Panter; Jim Denney art; Judith Sparks
Sculpture — Maggie Wells
Carved birds — Randy Dunbar

Vintage Indian bed
Linens — Society in store only abc carpet & home
Down comforters and pillows — Simply Down abc carpet & home
Pillows — abc carpet & home
Antique Chinese embroidered panels
Vintage Hudson Bay blanket
Vintage Paul McCobb dresser
Vintage rugs — abc carpet & home
Haiku fan — Big Ass Fans
Art — Jim Denney; Darren Waterston DC Moore Gallery; Heidi Pollard
Antique mirror

Tub — Badeloft
Vintage light — Inherited from parents
Vintage Turkish sink — In store only, abc carpet & home
Shower — Kohler
Marble tile — Country Floors
White shelves — Blu Dot
Towels — abc carpet & home
Floor tile — Artistic tile

Antique pedestal, India — abc carpet & home
Infant of Prague — Sacred Heart Antiques
Vase, Ashcloud — abc carpet & home
Art —Jim Denney; Darren Waterston DC Moore Gallery; Amy Ilias; Tom Blodgett
Vintage poster — War is not healthy for children and other living things
Crystals — abc carpet & home
Lighting sconce, Flos — abc carpet & home

Thanks, Amy and Jim!

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