A Jaw-Dropping, Beautiful Modern Brooklyn Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Jaw-Dropping, Beautiful Modern Brooklyn Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Ruthie Schulder, her husband and twins.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 2,500 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

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A house becomes a retreat from the world and a place of comfort when you add meaningful things to it. The elements that reflect what’s important to you and your family. Ruthie and her husband’s Brooklyn house had space on its side when they purchased it. And a smart, modern renovation made it even more beautiful and functional (not to mention light-filled). But it’s the way Ruthie approaches designing her space that makes this such a fresh, remarkable space.

I first heard about Ruthie, President of The Participation Agency, and her home from Danya Shults, who launched the lifestyle brand and website Arq last December. Danya founded Arq to “help people (not just Jews!) connect with Jewish culture in a more modern (read: relevant, inclusive, and convenient) way through original content, meaningful experiences, and beautiful products.” (Find Arq on Instagram, as well.)

Danya recommended we tour Ruthie’s home not just to get a look at the gorgeous renovation — but because it’s a home thoughtfully filled with Jewish objects from Ruthie and her family’s faith. Like Ruthie’s grandparents’ ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract): “My grandparents, my mother’s parents, were Partisans, so they hid and fought in the forest during World War II, and got married in the forest. So you can see there are all these different pens because they were in the forest and they had to use what worked.”

Ruthie and her husband’s own beautiful ketubah is also displayed in the home. “My husband’s brother is actually a Jewish scribe — like you have to have a degree to be able to write lettering that goes in the Torah and official prayer books and documents. We bought this in New York and he lives in Israel — we sent it to him in Israel, he actually wrote it, and then we got married in Israel. We wanted to try to infuse some family meaning,” describes Ruthie.

There’s an amazing challah cover that Ruthie’s parents brought back from South Africa that Ruthie loves. On the bold blue cabinet in the kids’ play area, Ruthie’s late mother-in-law’s brass candlesticks are kept out “on display, always, next to a photo of her and my husband when he was a boy.” Even some of the art that Ruthie inherited from her mother is created by Israeli artists.

When Ruthie and her husband initially bought this home, they thought they might do a little painting. But then decided to renovate. Then found out they were expecting twins. Ruthie hired General Assembly for the renovation when she found out she was pregnant. Sarah Zames of General Assembly helped her sort through materials and fixtures, designed the sleek and modern kitchen and bathrooms, designed the showstopping beautiful large glass wall. And perhaps most importantly, made a stressful NYC renovation much less so for a very pregnant Ruthie! Along with Ruthie’s great eye for design, Consort Design then came in after the renovation was finished to help bring together decor and accessory elements into one cohesive idea. But the warmth and personal objects that fill this space with meaning? That all came from Ruthie.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, comfortable, modern and clean lines, but with warmth.

Inspiration: Beach casual meets sophisticated city, everything in my Instagram bookmarks, my travels.

Favorite Element: The open floor plan on the main floor, the glass back wall, having a laundry room that’s a whole separate room, a pantry in NYC, our powder room.

Biggest Challenge: The renovation!!

What Friends Say: They love how much light we have, all our built-ins, and the art.

Biggest Embarrassment: The plastic kids’ toys we just can’t avoid co-mingling with our clean-lined decor vibes.

Biggest Indulgence: All of it, really. But if I have to choose I’d say our walk-out terrace and our pantry.

Best Advice: You will go over time and over budget, everyone does — be prepared.

Dream Sources: Consort Design, Matter Made, The Primary Essentials, and custom pieces.


Couch — montauk
Coffee table — vintage
Chairs — from my mom, re-covered with Zak and Fox fabric
Console — custom
Mirror — vintage
Wall Sconces in the Living Room — RBW Radient
Living Room Pendants — Custom Sailcloth lights by Birgit Ostergaard

Table — custom (slab sourced locally, legs sourced from a vendor in Greenpoint)
Benches — custom
Dining table — custom
Chairs — vintage
Credenza — Hand me down from my mom!
Kid-sized furniture — Vintage chairs and an eames (reproduction) table
Little kitchen — From Acorn on Atlantic
Blue wall storage — custom
Rolling crates underneath — Serena & Lily

Cabinets — Ikea
Pulls — Schoolhouse Electric
Concrete Pendant Lights over the island — Homestories

NURSERY Wallpaper — Flat Vernacular

Daybed — Kalon

Bed — Custom
Bedding — Cultiver
Bedside lamps — Schoolhouse Electric
“That’s all folks” piece — Consort Design

Thanks, Ruthie and family!

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