BROWNSTONE VOYEUR is a joint project of casaCARA and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. Look for it every Thursday on both sites.
ROBERT FARRELL, an architect and interior designer, has lived since the mid-1990s in a 600 square foot rental on the ground floor of a Carroll Gardens row house, with lumpy plaster walls and a tiny, tubless bathroom.
He stays mainly for the garden, a fifty-foot swath of lawn at the end of which he has constructed a romantic outdoor pavilion draped with nylon parachute cloth.
A corrugated plastic roof and waterproof parachute fabric make the garden room usable eight months a year.
Essentially a 15’x40’ rectangle, the apartment is bisected by a wood-and-glass room divider. The entry is into the kitchen/dining room; a home office is squeezed into one corner. The only other room is what Robert calls the “living bedroom library guest room den.”
To give the space more definition, he hung two sets of double curtains on either side of the existing divider, on rods five feet apart – linen on the outside, sheer underneath. “It softens the space and provides a choice of opaque or filtered light,” Robert says. “It also creates depth and drama: ‘What’s behind the curtain?” (Clothing, as a matter of fact.)
A sense of order prevails, thanks to a clear, linear furniture plan.
Liberal use of the same gray-green neutral paint on walls, carpeting and the drapery divider gives the apartment a cohesive feel. White accents like the mid-century Ant chairs and the glass light fixture in the dining room stand out. Strong doses of red in pillows, art, and glassware punch up the scheme.
Accessories include tribal weavings, baskets, and Danish modern glass. Each piece is carefully chosen and deliberately placed. “In a small apartment, you can’t have things scattered around,” Robert says. “Find the perfect place for each thing.”
The armoire and a pair of carved wood armchairs were found in a flea market.
A geometric kilim under the dining table is the only large area of pattern in the apartment. A glass table opens up the space.
A precise arrangement of framed Op Art, historical prints, and patterned pillows brightens the area around the bed.