Lesley Townsend Duval’s apartment on Fort Greene Place presented her with the opportunity to design a home from top to bottom. “I’d been amassing random furniture over the better part of a decade,” she says. “I decided that it was time for a clean slate.” Townsend Duval collaborated with The Brooklyn Home Company, based in Columbia Heights, to create rooms that juxtapose vintage and handmade items, giving a traditional brownstone interior a few modern-day surprises.
Except for one room, which she painted a deep aubergine, Townsend Duval selected an overall neutral color scheme, including a metallic Venetian plaster finish for the accent wall in the living room and a soft grey for the bedroom. “I had dog-eared a quote from [an] interior designer who said that a grey wall with white trim is like the perfect grey suit—crisp, clean, and fashionable always,” she recalls.
Townsend Duval added vintage furniture pieces as she found them and then worked with Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol, lead designers at TBHC, to fabricate custom elements, including a sideboard that she envisioned as a random stacking of drawers. Together with Karol, she selected the different wood finishes and assorted drawer pulls for the cabinet, then tried out a series of configurations before settling on the final design. The living room coffee table also came about by chance, when Townsend Duval noticed a rugged tree stump in Karol’s studio and asked if he could sand it into a usable surface.
Townsend Duval introduced an animal theme when decorating the apartment. She added a leather armchair and cowhide rug to soften the living room, and hung ostrich and egg photographs along with vintage animal drawings and etchings on the walls. In the bedroom, she placed a cowhide desk chair from Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago and a leather-framed hanging mirror, made by TBHC, with a dainty antique desk, giving it a playful, animalistic twist. An Ochre chandelier—a more modern touch—hangs in the room as well.
The Brooklyn Home Company painstakingly restored and refinished the wide-planked floors so that now they gleam a rich dark brown, grounding the pale tones of the walls and underscoring the earthy details and furnishings throughout.
Fort Greene Place, Fort Greene
Post by Anne Hellman