Every Inch of this Home Is Unexpected
Tour an artistic couple's color-charged Brooklyn home.
Published Sep 28, 2018 6:22 PM
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Ask comedy writer and author Laura Lane how she would describe her style and her answer just might surprise you: “A mix of bold, bright ‘why not’ eclecticism with open, soft-muted, sentimental minimalism,” she notes. In short, “Cool-Grandma got an MFA.” At just under 2,000 square feet, the Williamsburg loft, which she shares with husband, Nic Rad, and their dog, Samo, boasts most of its original wood columns and beams, wide plank floors, and 11-foot ceilings. Quite the foundation for the inspired design that would inevitably ensue.
The couple, who took on the bulk of the renovation themselves, worked with an architect and contractors to select everything from the lighting to the furniture. It all started with a big sofa, a wall earmarked entirely for art, and the circular shelf, which would become the focal point of the open-layout living space. Once that had been settled, the duo went on to handpick items that would connect the various rooms of the home together with a thoughtfully curated approach.
At the tail end of the revamp, the couple enlisted the help of interior designer Casey Debois for the finishing touches. “She came in at the very end when I was stuck and helped style everything, place furniture to create the perfect feng shui, choose some final pieces and suggest some accessories, which really made the place feel finished,” says Lane. “It was a big testament that little changes go a long way. She quickly got a sense of our style and helped the place feel more polished.”
Before settling on the circular-esque ombre shelf—a concept inspired by a similar display found in the nearby shop, Mociun—the couple contemplated a series of configurations not limited to hexagonal and even a diamond-shaped shelf. “We have a lot of knick-knacks we’ve collected and wanted a place to display them artfully without feeling cluttered around the house, which is how we decided on doing a dramatic shelf,” says Lane.
The Jonathan Adler chairs, which the couple had purchased prior to the addition of the shelf, informed the color palette of the accent wall. The Ben & Aja half circle mirror in the dining room—which sits directly in front of the sitting area, emulating a sunset—provided the ideal complement to the dramatic setup.
Nic’s personal art decks the entirety of one wall of the dining room, imparting the space with a major dose of character and color. “He’s my favorite artist for obvious reasons so it was a dream come true getting to pick out as many pieces as could fit from my favorite artist’s collection,” says Lane of her husband’s work. “We just chose ones that we connected with and that fit into a sort of puzzle piece configuration on the wall. Shockingly we found pieces to fit perfectly.”
The art wall establishes quite a statement amidst the surrounding elements, which evoke a more modern and sensible aesthetic, subtly contrasting the existing architecture of the home.
In the office, a color-coded approach to the book display invites a vibrant wealth of personality to the otherwise dark scheme.
The kitchen, which once boasted a rustic farmhouse vibe—complete with mint green cabinets and a green tile backsplash to match, nonetheless—transformed into a daring space that would be a welcome departure from the whitewashed variety we’ve come to be accustomed to. “I remembered this charcoal-looking wall I had loved at the bar at the Grace Hotel in Santorini, on our honeymoon. Once I had that in my head it was all I wanted to do,” says Lane of her decision to forgo the standard and ubiquitous subway tile in favor of a more dramatic detail. “It sets the mood for hosting parties and since I’ve been really into copper and rose gold lately, nothing looks better against that than black and dark grey.”
In the primary bedroom, slabs of concrete set the backdrop, inviting a major dose of drama to an otherwise minimalist space. Originally earmarked for the primary bath, the couple opted to use the concrete slab in the bedroom instead, replacing the yellow fabric pillow wall that paneled the space behind the bed—a decorative detail in dire need of a revamp. Bright textiles and plants were brought in to help instill a warm and inviting element to the space, softening the industrial-meets-modern aesthetic.
A saturated red decks the windowpanes, imparting the room with a bold dose of color by subtle means.
With the guest room being one of the smaller spaces in the home, it gave Lane and Rad the chance to get a little more creative and heavy-handed with the prints. First up, the eye-catching Eskayel wallpaper, which would establish visual interest within the tight quarters. Next, came a slew of more relaxed accent pieces, which would complement the intensity of the print and finally, a pop of color to tie the elements together.
The eclectic mix of art that comprises the gallery wall of the entry boasts a series of works collected over time from garage sales, charity auctions, gifts, and even a mix of Rad and Lane’s own work. “We laid out all of the art we considered hanging on the floor and I took masking tape to measure out the exact size of the wall we were going to put it on and then we just played with configurations,” notes Lane of their process.
As to his secret for building the ultimate, statement-making gallery wall? Nic’s approach is one we can definitely get behind: “Trial and error! Don’t trust logic. Put weird things in weird places and think about it! Every time you move something an inch the whole thing looks way better or way worse. Keep doing that until it looks way better. Clear your calendar. Find a good playlist. Pour yourself a glass. Be bold! The stakes are very low!”
“Samo really does love her room and hangs out in there whenever she wants alone time,” says Lane of the colorful nook she’s carved out for the family pup. “Eventually it will become a baby nursery, but for now, she’s enjoying it.”