sneak peek: sarah bedford & alan hill

Sarah Bedford is a painter who grew up on a ranch in Montana with dusty antiques and family heirlooms stashed in trunks. Her sensibility leans toward “more is more.” Alan Hill grew up in a 70s Los Angeles contemporary with Herman Miller and Danish modern designs. He runs a graphic design firm in New York, so his aesthetic is usually less is more. Over the years, they’ve honed their mutual tastes and modest budget to some folksy flea-market finds mixed with well-designed pieces by Wegner, Moller, Larsen, Widdicomb, Miller, Knoll, and others. For their home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, there was no master plan, just the general goal of creating a space that felt open and airy. Thanks, Sarah and Alan! Amy A.

After a decade in Manhattan, we longed for more space and no co-op board! Luckily we saw this house listed over Thanksgiving weekend, and it was love at first sight — we pounced. Its previous owner had bought it in the 70s from the Little Sisters of the Poor, and had lovingly upgraded the house in a minimal, historic way. They re-lined three of the six fireplaces — bless them — and the day they were moving out, [they] suggested a paint color for the living room — a greenish-gray Benjamin Moore hue “November Rain,” which we still have on the walls. Over time, we re-plastered the walls, sanded the old pine floors and restored the original bedrooms upstairs. A few years later, we got to the kitchen and later still, the study.

Photo: Amy Barkow

Image above: The dining room tends to be the epicenter of our household — from newspapers, homework and loitering cats to large dinner parties where everyone congregates. That said, we decided to downplay the heavy baroque element of the chandelier (left by the previous owner) and large marble fireplace by going with modern furnishings and consolidating a lot of artwork by various friends on one wall. By sheer luck, we found six near-perfect Moller chairs at a store around the corner in Greenpoint (sadly, it has since moved). Table from Room and Board; platter from Pip-squeak Chapeau; rosewood sideboard by Ib Kofod-Larsen. That was a piece I had been tying to find for years and had shipped from Washington, DC. Crocheted “snow ball” sculptures are actually covered rocks by my sculptor friend Stephanie Syjuco; assorted ceramic mushrooms and feathers are my own. Artwork on the wall: my own as well as artists listed/linked above, including Tom Burckhardt, Kate Shepherd, Mark Grotjahn, Amy Barkow and Sebastian Bremer.

Image above: [We] renovated the kitchen and decided to keep it small rather than cut into the dining room. [We] found the stove locally — an Italian brand called Bertazzoni that looks amazing but seems to have no manual and kind of feels like it will burn the house down. Color — went for gray, as it goes with everything. Madeline Weinrib rug. Um Project milking stool.

Image above: Our son’s play room. My old Herman Miller desk, Knoll chair and Ikea stool. Giant poster for Del Monte Round-up was a Mother’s Day gift from my husband and a play on the word “Roundup,” which is the name of a town close to where I grew up in Montana.

CLICK HERE for more of Sarah & Alan’s Brooklyn home!

Image above: I remember when we first saw the house, I was so excited that this fantastic 19th-century cupboard still existed in the kitchen. Later on, we discovered a section of the marble buried in the back yard that happened to be the missing part of the counter. We were able to restore missing parts with shelves.

Image above: Our daughter’s room. Old rope bed bought for $10 and re-made to function. Artwork is mine. Mustache bunny from Kid Robot. Tord Boontj garland around lamp.

Image above: On the master bedroom mantle — primitive soapstone heads found in a junk shop in Montana. Black Forest cuckoo clock face/frame, assorted beads.

Image above: I had been searching for these Hans Wegner chairs for some time and finally discovered them on Rivington Street — really comfortable, even though they appear otherwise. Sheepskin from Ikea; couch Knoll reproduction from Cite; rug from ABC. Chrome lamp is from Restoration Hardware; the taller floor lamp is from Mitchell Gold. Plus miscellaneous flea market tables.

Image above: Handywoman special! Though the wood mantle existed, the previous fireplace was covered up with drywall — I found the metal surround at a salvage place in Clinton Hill and did the tiling. Wegner chair; teak side table; antler candlesticks from Golden Calf. Painting from the 1930s of Longs Peak in Colorado by a local ranger, found on a vacation there a few years back.

Image above: Back entry to the garden. Auction painting of (slightly Scandinavian) matron reminds me of a nurse and has loomed over various rooms over the course of our marriage. Cupboard and chair from tag sale.

Image above: Work desk downstairs. I try to keep this table (from Moon River Chattel) free of clutter for about an hour a day; otherwise, it’s piled high with art materials. Photos of children by friend Josephine Schiele.

Image above: Boy’s room. If I could go every year with a big truck, I would do Renningers Kutztown Extravaganza (sometimes the best bargains are to be had the last two hours.) For example, this fold-down English brass bed was bought for a song. Assorted other items: artwork above chest was a wedding gift from my friend Mark Grotjahn; snowman picture is actually a two-sided teaching diagram from Canada; hanging modern lamp (can’t remember who designed it!); rug by Madeline Weinrib.

Image above: My desktop (though now against a wall). Grandmother’s brass letterbox; children’s art is always great to look at for inspiration; bronze figs and ceramic flowers are some of the things I’m working on right now; paper pile of collage stuff.

Image above: Daughter’s room. Ikea chair and floor lamp; some hand-me-down red metal chairs from friends; giant fur bean bag from PBTeen. Artwork on mantel: portrait of a girl by my friend Julia Warr; larger print behind by my friend Maki Tamura; tree vase from Golden Calf; and other art on the wall is mine.

Image above: Master bedroom with sweet nook. Bed from Room and Board; Euro pillow linens from Pip-Squeak Chapeau; lamps from Pottery Barn; rug from Carini Lange; and antique side tables found out and about.

  1. may says:

    Love your home. You are right about the bertazzoni range. It does need a height clearance of cabinets and definitely needs a high powered venting hood. I know this because i was to install it but went with a blue star instead. Both have a High BTU range and need a hood, so be careful.

  2. JuliaW says:

    Sarah, I wish I was your daughter….and Alan, your son too…

  3. mollie says:

    I’m so swooning over these perfect color choices. Thanks for sharing the names- especially in the dining room. Neutrals are so hard to get right. Love, love, love this post!

  4. A. Fraser says:

    Thanks for the paint colours!

  5. Jo Chopra says:

    There is such a joy in this home. Good people, good sense. Nice to know that the Little Sisters of the Poor handed their dwelling over to a family who appreciates its grace and beauty.

  6. mona says:

    I love every inch of this house but that cuckoo clock frame made me swoon.

  7. mona says:

    Oh and thanks so much for coming back and supplying paint colors!! So often we want to know but never hear back. It should be req’d of peaks!!

    1. grace says:


      we ask all peek home owners for paint colors but they don’t all know or keep them ;)


  8. denise says:

    Thank you for the colors…I too love Pratt and Lambert colors. In my last home I used lots of Milk White….lovely, but didn’t think of using BM base.

  9. Michelle says:

    Echoing what May said. I am in love with the Bertazzoni ranges, and have been drooling over them for the last couple years. They are powerful, high BTU stoves, and truly need a venting hood, or at very least, 36″ clearance from the burner to an object above it. Your cabinets do not look like they have enough clearance under them. Definitely be careful! (Also, their manuals can be found in PDF format on their website.)

    But besides that… gorgeous home!!

  10. Kate says:

    that kitchen dresser is perfection.

  11. Wow, some seriously desirable interiors there.

  12. Ashley Owl says:

    Wow, what a beautifully designed space. I love the mix of primitive and worn items with bright and modern ones.

  13. Pat says:

    I am Megan’s friend from Roundup. We met by way of Seattle, where I now live. You have a beautiful home. I am guessing you are related to Clay, I went to school with him.

  14. LM says:

    Gorgeous home, please don’t burn it down accidentally with the crazy Italian stove!

    I love the alcoves in the bedrooms, they create a cozy ‘fort’ or ‘cubby’ like space. Beautiful home!

  15. Jen says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for posting all of the paint colors! We simply love your home!

    I am wondering if you can also tell us where the kitchen cabinets themselves came from. I love the simple lines of them. They are gorgeous!

    P.S. In what neighborhood do you live in Brooklyn?

  16. abby jenkins says:

    Home Sweet Home! How beautiful, comfortable, charming and elegant all at the same time.
    I am crazy for your kitchen cabinets, we are in the process of renovating the one here in our 1800s hunting lodge in CT. I was torn between using salvaged glass paneled butlers pantry doors and traditional cabinets underneath to using a freestanding armoire to store all my teal and brown plates. Seeing your kitchen has me leaning towards the cupboard I saw yesterday. Either way the interior will be teal, at least we have that decision made!
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Krista says:

    I keep going back to the kitchen and that milking stool. Then I rec’d my first issue of Country Living in the mail and there it was again! Perhaps a sign. Beautiful home.

  18. Charlene says:

    this is exquisitly beautiful. perfect palette, scale, function. very satisfying to view, like a long drink of water when thirsty. the best design doesn’t just have something to say, it tells a story. And this is a beautiful happy story! i could go on…love it and thanks for sharing! brightened my day!

  19. Eva says:

    what a nice place! those old cabinets are to die for. i got a lot of inspiration seeing your home, thanks for sharing!

  20. sarah Bedford says:

    Wow, I know I paid a few of my friends to comment on here but what about the rest of you?? Everyone has been so nice – really, thank you! It also confirms that I should go to the grave with my stack of World of Interiors. Just kidding, but I do like it. I think the best homes are always a mix of personal interests, quirks, color and clutter (the last of which I hid from view).

    May, Michelle, Jen – For the stove, I was just was going for the dramatic effect. It’s really not that hot (like a Garland), maybe because it’s the 30″? We don’t have a vent because we opted to keep the original cabinet frames above. They seemed solid and perfectly fine at 20 + years. We have a local friend (Williamsburg) who’s an amazing cabinet builder. I’ll need to see if it’s o.k. to post his info., but he also did some great bookshelves not featured. Working together, we designed the shaker style doors and rebuilt the lower part completely. It’s so small, we opted for the changeable panel dishwasher to blend in on the right. I asked him to hand-paint the cabinets with a brush, because I’ve never liked the fact that you can’t (easily) touch up nicks on those perfect, spray-painted doors. This way I could re-paint them down the road and not have to send them out. Another few tips for cabinets: – 1. Before you paint any cupboard, take a large wood scrap and test the paint next to a sample of your countertop (especially if you’re getting a new one that isn’t installed yet). Honed surfaces like marble are particularly refractive (change color depending on what is next to it – ie. daylight etc..) so it took me a while to sort it out. 2. Handles – go for a single drilled hole, so if you want to change it some day, you’re not stuck filling all of the extra holes left by double pulls.

    Abby – I want a hunting lodge in CT! I’ll bring a gun. I’d say go for anything with the original glass.

    Krista – That yellow milking stool – Francois is an old friend. His workshop is in Greenpoint and he has other wonderful things there (I got a free bag of wood chips! – for an experiment). I think the stools can also be bought at ABC, in the city.

    Pat from Montana – Hi, I knew someone would pop up. Yes, Clay is my older brother. He’s at home on the range – wrangling cattle in wranglers.

  21. misa says:

    oh. my. god. i think i want to weep from jealousy.

    by the way–longs peak! woot! i’m from longmont, co.

  22. Schuyler says:

    Where did you find those simple, beautiful gray rugs in your son’s play room and in the photo with the equally gorgeous wood mantle? Your house is amazing.

  23. this is one of the most beautiful homes I’ve seen on DS…it’s inspiring me to clean out the clutter! The house itself really shines through with the minimal (but beautiful) furnishings!

  24. Kate says:

    BEAUTIFUL, Sara! I’m also a native Montanan…and one of my best friends from back home just moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago. If he hasn’t already seen this, I’m sending it off to him as I know he’d love it.

    As for me, I went to MSU for my art degree and split my time between MT and California. I’m a bit jealous of you being in New York, though. How amazing, I’m sure…and a far cry from small-town Montana.

    Anyway, love your work and love your house! Thanks for letting us peek!

  25. Caroline says:

    One of my favorite sneek peaks so far! Beautiful and inspiring artwork is woven into every aspect of this house. Perfect wall colors -Sarah has an exquisite eye. Love the yellow stool in the kitchen from Um Project. Thanks Sara!

  26. Julia says:

    I totally want to steal the whole kitchen.

  27. Alexandra says:

    I want to see the crouched axe! :)

  28. kristina says:

    I think the most elegant kitchen is white cabinet with white marble. This house is so nice. Love it, thanks for sharing it with us!

  29. sarah Bedford says:

    Kitchen Cabinet Maker (as well as fab built-ins not pictured) our friend Andrew Maas. He does exceptional work:

    Again, SO LOVELY – everyones uplifting comments! The Axe sculpture – I need to photograph and put it on my website. I think it was the angle in the photo. You be the judge.

    Lastly, a shout out to all those pretty Western Stars out there – Montana or otherwise. Thank you. I still miss the sky!

  30. Diane says:

    I’m still squealing over these colors and arrangements. Incredible balance, serenity–what a true home should be. Hands-down the best I’ve seen here.

  31. charlene says:

    moody. love that kitchen.

  32. Janet says:

    I volunteer to move right in if you ever decide to leave! What a beautiful space.

  33. wow, amazing, i love the simplicity of this house.

  34. Nia Basset says:

    Beautiful house!

    Sarah, do you mind telling us how many square feet are in your house? It seems like a nice size.

  35. JT says:

    Thank you for this peek (stumbled across it over a year later). I so connected with every room… inspirational. Great design, color, balance, editing.

  36. Charlotte says:

    Thanks Sarah for sharing and the resource details. Your home is gorgeous!!

  37. silverzone says:

    Beautiful house! I love your work and love your house!


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