House Tour: Tom and Justin Gently Shape their Landmark

published May 20, 2009
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name:Tom and Justin
Location: Brooklyn Heights
Size: 1-bdrm, 410 sqft. co-op in a 1918 landmark apartment building
Years lived in: 6 months


(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This is Tom’s first owned home and first renovation. An art dealer, Tom is confident of his tastes and preferences, but never had to think about sink faucets and custom cabinetry configurations before. Without reading a single home decor blog, Tom plunged ahead and made hundreds of design decisions on his own…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Tom knew he wanted to respect the original integrity of the landmark building, but he struggled with how to fulfill his need for clean, modern lines and livability. The challenge of this balance provided endless internal debate. Luckily, Tom worked with a very experienced contractor who was able to accommodate as well as propose ideas to his liking.

Tom lives with his partner Justin, but took the lead in the renovation process. Other than Justin’s particular requests, Tom had a lot of leeway in aesthetic decision making. Justin insisted on a long couch, a king-sized bed, Croatian marble on the kitchen floor, and marble countertops in the kitchen. The latter, because, according to Tom, “someday he may bake.” Tom does a ton of home cooking and the kitchen is generously sized, so he splurged on contextually large scale appliances, high-end materials, and custom built cabinets. Every inch of the kitchen is used to the max!

Tom claims he is a “20th century doofball” crammed inside an “18th century person.” It’s great to walk around his relatively modern space and open cabinet doors to discover his 18th century teacup collection or his crazy English silverware arsenal. It’s also wonderful to know that that the more time spent in this somewhat unassuming apartment, the richer the experience and the more it conveys HOME!

AT Survey
Style: artful intuitive middle-aged homosexual pretention
Inspiration: I was definitely thinking about light and color, but equally about the four elements and about transparency.
Favorite Element: the view
Biggest Challenge: the space
What Friends Say: “shut up, it’s perfect”
Biggest Embarrassment: the expense
Proudest DIY: The whole shebang except anything remotely having to do with the actual construction.
Biggest Indulgence: The blue marble bathroom floor which was inspired by the re-opening of the antiquities wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the (Dux) bed – like sleeping on clouds.
Best Advice: Sadly, no one ever dared to give me advice, but my advice to others would be: the more extensive your research the happier your results.
Dream Source: A toss up – The Louvre or the MoMA

Contractor: Conex Interiors Inc., Astoria NY

Fixtures: AF NY
Appliances (Bertazoni range, Liebherr fridge, Miele Dishwasher): Gringers.
Hardware: Simon’s Hardware
Carrara Marble and the Croation Limestone from Hvar: European Stone in Gowanus.
Glass tiles as backsplash: Artistic Tile.
1930’s French Chandelier in Kitchen: Okerson (W. 24th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues)

Fixtures: AFNY
Floor tiles: Cancos Tile
Green Murano bathroom chandelier and glass door knobs: Olde Good Things,

Living room :
rug: ABC Carpet
couch: B&B Italia,
Paul Cobb ottomans: Ebay and Atlantic Avenue antique store
c1800 Italian bench in the hallway and the two Neopolitan side chests: L’Antiquaire in Westport CT,
English Bell Jar pendant at entrance: Bijan Royal on E. 11th St
1950 armchair and desk chair: Prague Kolektiv in DUMBO
Shades: Shade Store.

Dining Room:
French stacking school chairs c. 1950: Orange in LA
c. 1800 Sakya West Tibetan Landscape cabinet: Singapore.
Alvar Aalto table: West
1960 Bohemian glass chandelier: Okerson (W. 24th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues)

faux Regency bedroom chandelier: Bijan Royal on E. 11th St
bed: is a dux mattress over a platform built by the contractor.
Leather clad pulls: Samuel Heath & Sons, Birmingham, UK via Simon’s Hardware
Hand-blown lamp outside the bathroom: O’lampia on the Bowery

The print on the floor is Joseph Albers, the print on the cabinet is Andy Warhol, the small Brooklyn waterscape is Diana Horowitz, the little interior watercolor is Susanna Coffey.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Images: (Jill Slater)

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