House Tour: Nicole's Extravagant Monastic Parlor

House Tour: Nicole's Extravagant Monastic Parlor

Jill Slater
Apr 1, 2009

Name: Nicole
Location: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Size: 800 sqft 1-bdrm in a turn of the century brownstone
Years lived in: 4 years


"We like the monastic style," says Nicole's husband. The first thing one notices upon entering the apartment (first seen as an AT House Call) is the stratospheric ceilings, the extra ornate original woodwork, and the furnishings that are just the opposite &mdash low to the ground and utterly simple. For every twist and turn of the apartment's carved wood molding, there is a sleek lined, stark piece of furniture.



Nicole firmly believes in the idea that a home is a reflection of the occupant as well as a source of calm and energy for that person. So much so, that her interior design and organizing company focuses on good design that incorporates emotional, psychological as well as aesthetic concerns.

Nicole emphasizes the importance of pure materials. She finds these to be rare and valued in a world full of mash-ups. Nicole thinks our society is beginning to crave simplicity and single-material items. In her own apartment, Nicole uses lighting rather than more stuff to add texture and warmth. The woodwork in the apartment is imposing enough, so Nicole lets the simple lines of the furniture quietly complement the original details.

And when Nicole and her husband want something different, instead of buying a new credenza, they just invite friends over for a dinner party. The couple prepare meals at home multiple times per week despite their tiny kitchen.

It's a stunning space, made even better by a respect for the architecture and a penchant for the stark.

AT Survey
Style: Warm, balanced, contemporary furnishings with ornate historical architecture.
Inspiration: John Pawson's architecture, and the philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity.
Favorite Element:: Clarity
Biggest Challenge: To initially spend the time bringing awareness to everything in the space and deciding if it was enhancing our quality of life. If not, we let it go. If so, designating a place for it.
What Friends Say: They are amazed at the wood work when they first visit, but more exciting is that they come over often and spend lots of time here with us cooking, enjoying wine, and sharing the stories of one another's days.
Biggest Embarrassment: The clumsy fridge
Proudest DIY: Putting dimmers on everything!
Biggest Indulgence: Buying flowers and big green leafy bunches every week.
Best Advice:: Furniture should know it's place, to support the people and the activities going on. Buy once, buy the best (at least for the main pieces like bed, sofa, and dining table). Pure materials such as marble, solid wood, and natural leather get better with age and patina over time. Furniture is an experience, even with the best planning and imagination, you won't know the way it feels in your home until it arrives and you live with it over time, so enjoy it!
Dream Source: BDDW, Espasso, Wright20

Bed: Jasper Morrison/Cappellini
Couches: Jasper Morrison/Cappellini
Media Center: Antonio Citerio/B&B Italia
Coffee Table: Jasper Morrison/Cappellini
Dining Table: AJ Franzioni/Capellini
Desk: Antonio Citerio/B&B Italia
Swivel Chairs: Vincent Van Duysen/B&B Italia


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