The Inside Man: David’s Blogger Brownstone
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Name: David Dunlop
Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Style: Classic Brooklyn Brownstone
We’ve come a long way already, and we’re closing in on the big reveal! With the help of
Valspar Paint, we’ve finished the walls, trim, and fireplace in David’s apartment, and we’re wrapping up the details.
You might remember that I first
met David in June, when his apartment felt unfinished, improperly arranged, and fairly colorless. We’ve been working like crazy to change all that, and each task checked off the list brings us closer to the room that David and I have been imagining. Get ready for final photos of the new living room on Thursday, but in the meantime, enjoy this preview of what we’ve finished so far and what’s to come.
When I first talked with David, I had an idea for a classic/contemporary room that would feel sort of like a gray flannel suit with a hint of lavender. Something classic but a little bit edgy at the same time. Working off a fan deck that we held up to the light in his space, David and I narrowed the options down to two main choices:
Winter Calm 4001-1B (a classic gray with lavender undertones) and
London Coach 4002-1B (a classic gray that’s just a touch warmer).
PROJECT #1: WALLS, FIREPLACE, AND TRIM
We ordered samples and David tried them on the walls — we both liked the
London Coach 4002-1B best in the warm light of his living room. For the fireplace, I decided to go one shade lighter, using
Modest Silver 4002-1A, and I kept the trim really simple, with a crisp off-white. Painter,
Mark Chamberlain, did a great job on the living room, which has a ton of trim and brick to cover.
DAVID’S BROOKLYN BROWNSTONE PALETTE
London Coach 4002-1B (classic gray on the walls)
Modest Silver 4002-1A (just a shade lighter on the fireplace)
Dove White 7002-07 (a crisp off-white on the trim)
Larson Chair with Wool Upholstery and Walnut Frame
PROJECT #2: FURNITURE AND SHELVING
Since David was really starting with a blank slate, I had a lot of fun shopping for furniture with our stylist, Joe Maer. We kept David’s beige sofa, a really nice sectional from West Elm. His Dad made the mid-century coffee table, which is a great, personal piece that we wanted to feature. Our shopping list consisted mostly of lighting, artwork, shelving, a rug, a chair, and a few accent pieces.
THE BASIC SHOPPING LIST
Look for a full resource list on Thursday.
- Area rug: We found a great flokati-style, which you’ll see in the final reveal.
- Armchair: We settled on a mid-century-style piece, the Larsen Chair from White on White.
- Three lamps: We picked up some new lamps and shades at IKEA and CB2.
- Elfa shelving: We decided to go with platinum rails and sycamore shelves to match the walls and floors.
- Curtains & rods 2x: We went to West Elm for these…details to follow.
- Small table for plants in window: Joe found a vintage dresser, which we’re updating with paint (see below).
- Large mirror: Another fun painting project (see below).
- New artwork: A mix of original pieces, maps, and prints — all framed and finished with coordinating mats.
PROJECT #3: DETAILS & PAINT PROJECTS
- Painted Dresser: We gave new life to a vintage dresser and coordinated it with the rest of the room by using Modest Silver to upgrade the drawers…look for photos on Thursday.
- Painted Logs: David’s fireplace needed some styling, so Joe found some birch logs. He also had the great idea to paint some slimmer logs with London Coach, which gave them a nice, tailored look. It’s a really simple and inexpensive project, but it’s a great way to add that final layer of detail to a room.
Elfa shelving with platinum rails and sycamore shelves
PROJECT #4: ACCESSORIES AND FINAL LAYERS
The fun part is arranging all the new stuff, adding the final layers (throw pillows, curtains, rugs) and making it all come together. Keep an eye out on Thursday, when we’ll bring you big, beautiful “after” photographs of the final room!
ABOUT THE INSIDE MAN
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.
MORE FROM THE INSIDE MAN
• Read more about guy style at
• Check out GQ’s guide to guy style at
Photos: Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, David Dunlop
Published: Aug 3, 2010