Phase 1 - Local Inspiration

The Inside Man: David’s Blogger Brownstone

Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
Name: David Dunlop

Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Style: Classic Brooklyn Brownstone

Say hello to David, the first of five guys that I’ll be working with over the summer! I’ve teamed up with
Valspar Paint to go offline and on the road, where I’ll be helping a handful of guys re-do a room in their home.

First stop — Brooklyn, New York, where David’s living room is in need of color and some more style. David’s a web engineer, he’s got his own photo blog, and he’s a creative guy who needs some help figuring out how to kick it up a notch at home.
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


David says,
“My living room is spacious, but it’s not comfortable for hanging out with a group. I would like a set up that is more cohesive and inviting. The room is painted completely white, including the brick fireplace. Any color at all would help.”

So far, I’ve only seen the space in photos, but it looks like David’s home has great bones. I’d love to play up the classic lines of his brownstone in a contemporary way, playing with tradition — sort of like a guy in a grey flannel suit with a lavender tie. Something young, hip, and smart but not too serious — like David.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

As a starting point, I’m thinking I’ll recommend some blues, grays, beiges, and lavenders from
Valspar Paint’s Ultra Premium Collection. These cool colors will go well with David’s laid-back skater style and they’ll bring out the classic architectural details in his living room. I’m thinking of the room as a guy you might meet on the street in Brooklyn — someone that’s into bespoke suits but wears them with a bushy beard.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
The Horseman Antiques on Atlantic Avenue


To give me a better sense of his style, David sent in a list of his favorite local haunts in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Our room re-do team (which includes me, a stylist, a painter, and a photographer) will be scouting the area for unique finds that could work in David’s living room.

The steampunk, vintage look has been big in Brooklyn for a while now, and there are a bunch of cool antique shops that David’s singled out for us.

Home Stores

Find Home Furnishings (tailored, clean-lined vintage stuff)

The Horsemen Antiques (old-school antiques)

Vintage Signage (old adverts from the 50s and 60s)

Make A Frame (DIY art and framing)

Brownstone Treasures (mid-c and more)


Lucali (pizza)

Calexico (tacos)



BookCourt (independent bookstore)

Soula (skater shoes)

Smith+Butler (clothes, home, and vintage motorcycles)

For more good stores in New York, check out Apartment Therapy’s

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
David’s living room before the room re-do


David’s room is a total blank slate. He owns a beige sofa, a mid-century coffee table, a bike, a skateboard, and that’s about it. I have yet to meet him face to face, but today (as this post is going up, in fact) I’ll be bringing my ideas to him and seeing what he thinks.

The challenge will be helping David to uncover his personal style while making the most of the brownstone’s good bones. The paint colors should play up the traditional quality of the space in a contemporary way.

Keep a lookout for Phase 2, on Thursday, when I’ll be posting my face-to-face meeting with David. You’ll find out what he thought of my ideas, how he feels about paint colors, and the next steps in our plan!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


We’ve teamed up with
Valspar Paint to create The Inside Man, a special feature dedicated to daily (Monday – Friday) posts from Apartment Therapy and GQ about men’s color conundrums and style questions. From sofas with cup holders to brilliant bachelor pads, we’re focusing on the décor dilemmas men often bring to us.


• Read more about guy style at

• Check out GQ’s guide to guy style at

Photos: David Dunlop, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Apartment Therapy

Maxwell Ryan


Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver. Since then he has grown, added, our home cooking site, and has authored four books on design. He now lives with his daughter in a lovely apartment in Brooklyn.