Home Tour: A Family-Oriented Brownstone in Brooklyn
Martha Stewart Living editor in chief Pilar Guzman; her husband, Chris Mitchell; and their two boys, Willem and Henry, gather in the kitchen of their Brooklyn brownstone. "We spend about 80 percent of our time here," Pilar says. The couple retrofitted the room, which was originally a formal parlor, as a kitchen; former closets house appliances and dishes, and a marble-top island was built by designer Tyler Hays.
The Dining Room
The kitchen opens onto a living and dining area, with Danish Modern classics -- including a Finn Juhl Model 45 chair and a vintage Arne Jacobsen Swan chair -- and a modern chandelier by David Weeks Studio.
Wishbone chairs, in Ash, justscandinavian.com
Coats and bags are hung in the entryway; lacking a front closet, the area can become a "towering inferno," Pilar says. On the opposite wall is a photo of Pilar's parents, taken by paparazzi (her father was a director and producer; her mother an actress and singer).
The Front Stoop
Pilar and Chris on the stoop with their extended family, including Chris's brother and his family, who live in the building's garden apartment, and the Mitchell brothers' parents, who live a few blocks away.
Living Room Details
In the living room, a Visual Comfort lamp and a painting from a flea market hang above antique English candlesticks, family heirlooms given to the couple by Pilar's aunt for their wedding.
The most recent addition to the house is a leather sofa in a corn of the kitchen, which is where the family eats dinner most nights. "We added it for the cozy factor," Pilar says. "Doesn't everyone always ask for the banquette in a restaurant?" They chose tufted leather for its warmth and toughness. Chris collaborated with upholsterer Andrew Camp on the banquette design; easy to wipe clean, the material shows no sign of the food (or even papier-mache) spills that have taken place on it. Two prints by Enzo Mari add graphic shots of color against the charcoal walls.
Tolix raw-steel bar stools, conranusa.com
Located on the second floor, the den is outfitted with a custom sofa, vintage Spanish chairs by Borge Morgensen, and the only television in the house. "It was tempting to put a TV downstairs near the kitchen, but having it upstairs makes you watch less," Pilar says. The family spends Friday nights here, as part of their sushi-and-a-movie ritual.
The built-in shelves hold books, artwork, and objects.
In the hall, salt-glaze crocks from the 1800s hold firewood.
In the guest bathroom, the couple painted the original claw-foot tub black and added a walk-in shower. Much of the room's original subway wall tile was damaged, but they were able to salvage some of it and use it to line the kitchen cabinets; they replaced it with new subway tile on the walls and marble brick from Ann Sacks on the floor.
The same marble brick was used on the fireplace (which was missing many of its period tiles) in the den; a BDDW captain's mirror hangs above it.
Downstairs, the couple turned a former pass-through between the woman's and man's bedroom into a nook that functions as a reading room, a space for the boys to build forts, and a guest bed in a pinch. They covered a three-quarter-size bed with a coverlet made with fabric by Bennison and a kick plate covered in the same fabric. "Chris's brother, Gregg, is the vice president of the company).
Master Bedroom Details
The third-floor master bedroom is simple: a wall-mounted nightstand by BDDW, 1920s Parisian task lamps, and a king-size BDDW bed. "We ended up getting this giant bed because our kids were coming into our bed every night," Pilar says.
Mahogany doors originally from the kitchen were repurposed to create a grand entrance to the en suite master bathroom, which has an egg-shaped Agape tub and Ann Sacks tiles. It serves as the primary bath for everyone in the family.
Hammam towels, 78 inches by 38 inches, in White with Black Irregular Stripe, brookfarmgeneralstore.com.
The Kids' Room
Though the brownstone would allow for the boys to have their own rooms, their parents wanted them to share one. "Even after they fight like crazy, they always beg to sleep in the same bed," Pilar says. A David Weeks sconce provides lighting over both beds, and a mural of a train, drawn by Uncle Gregg (with artistic direction by Henry), creates a magical backdrop.
Standard Elin pillow cases, in Saffron, areahome.com.
In the boys' room, lightweight powder-coat metal shelves from CB2 give them a place to display their prized Lego creations. "Some things they build, we take apart and put back in the bucket," Pilar says. "But some are like works of art."
When Henry and Willem moved in together, the couple turned the former nursery into what they call the "cloffice," a closet-office with walnut built-ins and a desk.