An Englishman in New York

An Englishman in New York

Jun 28, 2010

Welcome to Patrick J Hamilton — patrick (the other one) — one of the bloggers trying out for a place on the Apartment Therapy editorial team as a House Tour Contributor. Enjoy his work!

Name: Nick Rigg
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,200 square feet — 2 bedroom, 2½ baths, 2 floors plus roof decks
Years lived in: Just over 2

Spoiler Alert! This House Tour features TRANSIT SIGNS. And a piece of art that treads dangerously close to "Keep Calm and Carry On." But if there's anyone who deserves to wear the badges of Travel and Calm with honor, it's got to be Nick Rigg.

Nick Rigg is a busy man. President of Leopard Films, the production company that brings us, among others, Dear Genevieve , and Home Rules, he criss-crosses the Atlantic for career and family the way many New Yorkers take the PATH train from Hoboken. So Nick knows "busy."

And no doubt he's paid attention to the "factual reality programs" (Brit-speak for "Reality TV") he's brought to HGTV, because Nick also knows a thing about how the condition of a home helps or hinders the life it contains. His own, quietly occupying the top two+ floors of a Brooklyn brownstone, is a study in the calm he undoubtedly savors between screentests and check-ins at JFK and Heathrow. How does he create a place as cool as a cucumber in a Pimm's Cup? Careful control over the stuff of life, and a printmaker's eye (he was originally trained to be one) that's drawn to linear looks, type-driven artwork, simple shapes and an edited color palette.

But the minimal, mostly white space is not at all lacking for warmth. It gets it (visual and actual) from two fireplaces, accents of party-ready red, honey wood furnishings, a happy scattering of family photos, floor-through views and a skylight that tracks the sunshine from the surprisingly panoramic Brooklyn skies.

Then there's his cheeky sense of style, evidenced in technicolor Union Jack pillows and a larger-than-life Nixon (is that redundant?) poster, which is, ironically, viewed most often through the bars of the stair railings. Talk about art in context!

It's interesting to see such iconic images of the American (and New York) experience through a decidedly British filter. And after an afternoon at Nick's home, you leave with some newfound appreciation for stars, stripes, transit signs, trophy mounts, Union Jacks…and even Tricky Dick.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Clean and simple and calming.

Inspiration: Mid century / but I love modern eclectic design and collections.

Favorite Element: Roof deck. Favorite piece: the flag or the wooden stag head.

Biggest Challenge: Carrying everything up 4 floors. Those plants were a killer.

What Friends Say: Love it. Feels like a hotel.

Biggest Embarrassment: Hmm…do I have to answer that? Large picture windows at night — and nosey neighbors…

Proudest DIY: I try and stay away from DIY but I transformed the deck single handedly from a blank cold space to a little oasis. It was a labor of love.

Biggest Indulgence: Several bottles of Pimms watching the sun go down from the roof deck. I'm British after all.

Best advice: Get an elevator if you're planning a roof top garden!

Dream sources: Velocity Art and Design, The Future Perfect

Resources of Note:


    "Calm" print by Louise Bourgoise — Tate Modern in London
    • Vintage flag: Flea market in Park Slope…for $15! (unframed)
    • Penguin print: "Alfonso" by Alexander Von Reiswitz, gal
    • Nixon poster: International Poster Gallery in Chelsea — auction. Bargain $50 (unframed)
    • Painting in media loft/living room: Homeowner's own

Thanks, Nick!

Images: Patrick J Hamilton

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