National Geographics Help Redefine Brooklyn

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Inspired by exotic travels, a designer redefines her own space in Brooklyn. A Sangeet/Henna party before a wedding at The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, India. “I’m obsessed with it,” the designer shares. “The design details are so beautiful. I’ve used them in my earlier work, replicating the pattern on a living room wall.”
Designer Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo at home in her dining room. A modern chandelier from Design Within Reach hangs above a custom table by Cliff Young that is surrounded by chairs from Boffi and Hans Wegner for Carl Hanson and Son. On the wall, a Jasper Johns signed print hangs beside two smaller works by Rocco Ungaro, an artist the designer met in Puglia, Italy.

Designer Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo had been living in her Brooklyn Heights apartment for a few years when she married and decided to give the apartment a full facelift.

“I needed to instill a more modern, fresh vibe,” the designer says, noting simple-lined, dog-friendly furniture was a must, as was an airy, soothing palette that used several hues from the gray scale, rich wood tones and pops of color. “With that in place,” she explains, “my passion for global decorating – with its textures, colors and influences – could be added.”

The brownstone itself dates to 1898 and was transformed from a one-family dwelling to a coop building in the late 1980s. It was at this time Blumenfeld-Russo’s penthouse apartment was added to the structure. The designer recently redesigned the building’s common space as well. Inside the penthouse, a wall of windows and skylights allow natural light to flood the space, and the open, loft-like floor plan of the living areas lends itself to flow among areas.

“I didn’t want an apartment that matched throughout,” the designer says. “Choosing a color palette that transcends, without being the same for each room was key.”

Her global travels played heavily in the home’s new interior as well. Having visited more than 40 countries, the designer emphasizes that much of her design inspiration comes from shopping and curating overseas.

“Globally-inspired decor would have to be layered through the apartment,” she says. “My goal was to weave pieces from each country I’ve visited into an overall design scheme without looking cluttered.”

A trip to Copenhagen and several more to India held large influence over her completed design.

“Travel is the most powerful influence in my design,” Blumenfeld-Russo states. “I am as equally inspired by the Danish modern aesthetic as I am by the quirky eclectic details of Indian design. Bringing them together is a great challenge, but in the end, the contrast is elegant and full of personality.”

Her apartment is indeed a work in cultural contrasts at all turns. A wood-burning stove in the living area is as at home in the overall space as the industrial-styled kitchen; the dining room marries a glamorous chandelier and cerused wood table with sleek Hans Wegner chairs; the bedroom is a romantic explosion of Indian influences, from the bedding and pillows purchased on a trip to New Delhi to the Ikat wallpaper; and the bathroom takes its renovated influence from the designer’s stay at La Sommita, a boutique hotel in Ostuni, Italy, whose “exquisite marble bathrooms” inspired Blumenfeld-Russo to create a similar experience at home.

[nggallery id=95 template=”sliderview” display_content=”0”] Interior Photography | Tim Williams Photography
Travel Photography | Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo

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