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BROWNSTONE VOYEUR is a joint project of casaCARA and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, taking you behind the facades of those intriguing houses to see what’s inside. Look for it every Thursday on both sites!

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DK HOLLAND’S house is the kind of place that makes people say, “I can’t believe this is New York City.”

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The property consisted of three lots when DK bought it in 1990: a three-story, 1,800-square-foot building that was a tack house before the Civil War; a one-story structure, originally a stable, now occupied by Olea, a Mediterranean restaurant; and a vacant lot in between, on which DK built a wooden extension with a new kitchen and side porch, “grafted on”  to the original brick house, and created an enclosed garden with a flagstone patio.

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DK did a top-to-bottom renovation in 2002-4. She added the front porch and opened up the second floor as a loftlike bedroom/study. The renovation exposed original brick and ceiling beams, which she painted white, and she retained later 19th century additions, including wainscoting and staircases. The furnishings are country-ish, bought mostly at auction in Vermont.

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As a graphic designer, DK knows color. The main spaces are a calming pale yellow, but elsewhere all hell breaks loose.  The lower level, used as guest quarters, is deep purple/blue; the stair balusters, doors, and wainscoting along the living room wall are an intense terracotta.

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The old-fashioned country kitchen, with its farmhouse sink and vintage Chambers stove, is black and white, a departure from the bold colors elsewhere.

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DK’s color choices were influenced by her travels, especially what she calls the “jewel box” colors of India.

She learned a lot about color from Seymour Chwast, a former colleague at Pushpin Studios (Chwast helped choose colors for the exterior in accordance with Landmarks requirements). In his view, says DK, “There are no bad colors, except chartreuse.”

DK’s cousin, Tom Britt, an interior designer, was another influence. He told her, “All colors go together in nature.”71-upstairs-open-loft-area1

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COLOR TIPS FROM DK

  • Limit the number of colors and repeat them
  • Use easy-to-live-with color for the main walls and save the jazzy colors for accents
  • Ideally, plan all colors at once
  • Let a piece of art you love inspire your color choices

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