sneak peek: karen wise and chandler kauffman


Fine art wedding and food photographer Karen Wise and her husband, Chandler Kauffman, a director, writer and cinematographer, live in an 850 square-foot prewar co-op apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. As photographers/filmmakers, their work often takes them to LA and various locations around the world. They share a love of beautiful sunlight, rich colors, wood, high ceilings and a proximity to fabulous Prospect Park, which is conveniently one block away. After an exhaustive search for the perfect live/work space in the neighborhood, Karen purchased the apartment, just before meeting Chandler. She opted for an extra-large light and airy one-bedroom where she could have meetings and host food shoots. The living room furniture gets rearranged when guests come over for dinner or when Karen has a meeting or a small still-life assignment. Their kitchen is one of their favorite rooms, as it is spacious by New York standards. They both really enjoy the abundance of light and sharing home-cooked meals. Thanks, Karen, for the photos, and thanks to Nina Interiors & Styling for help with the styling! — Anne

Image above: My workspace faces the brownstone-lined street and is infused with sunlight from morning until late afternoon. The desk is from West Elm, and the silk albums and folios on the green vintage French café chair were made by Cypress Albums. The red-striped Murano glass vase is from my collection of vases picked up while traveling and was purchased on the island of Murano, Italy.

Image above: We love the warmth and coziness of this corner in the living room. One of our favorite pieces of furniture is this custom-made orange chair from Les Ameublements Renaissance, made in my hometown of Montreal. It’s super comfortable, too. The pillow on this chair is from Jonathan Adler and was a wedding gift to us last year. The custom-made pillow on the sofa was chosen by Katherine Muller, a friend and interior designer in Montreal. It was custom made at Ogilvy. The lamp with a mango wood base is from Living on Seventh in Brooklyn, which is now closed. It emits a warm glow from its maize-colored linen shade. The ceramic vase on the wooden trunk was bought on a Wise family trip to Sicily in the town of Caltagirone and is by an artist named Tomasi. On the wall is a framed 11” x 17” “mammoth tintype” of orchids in a chemistry flask. I made this while taking a wetplate workshop in Manhattan. Most of the frames in our home are from San Art Framing in Park Slope. The living room wall color is Bare by Benjamin Moore.

More of Karen and Chandler’s Brooklyn home after the jump . . .

Image above: I took this photo of our hallway from the kitchen. You can see my reflection in my grandmother’s gold-painted mirror. The lamp was my parents’ from the ’70s. Next to the white Jonathan Adler vase is a black vintage metal vase with painted enamel found while antiquing in Florida. I knit the cotton and silk ribbon scarf on the table.

Image above: We recently painted our bedroom in Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. We wanted to keep our bedroom palette neutral to offset the bold color in the other rooms, yet we still dotted it with golden accents. Our bed is the Tate bed from Crate and Barrel in Linen. The quilted bedspread and glazed and gold-sequined pillows are from West Elm. The shag carpet is from ABC Carpet and Home. The gold and white porcelain lamp is from Anthropologie, and it is resting on a black Camden nightstand from Restoration Hardware.

Image above: We like to keep things simple with basic white plates but love using fun accents to pick up on the reds from the living room. The pitcher and serving bowl are from Anthropologie, the small bowls and napkins are from West Elm, and the cream-colored linen tablecloth is from ABC Carpet and Home and was used at our wedding last year.

Image above: One of our favorite rooms in the apartment is our sunny kitchen, painted in Cornsilk by Benjamin Moore. The previous owners put up the large framed peg board, which holds many of our pots and pans and helps to keep things organized since we don’t have a pantry. Our wooden shelves and cabinetry are stained with a French country-inspired light blue. We like to display different stacks of plates and bowls on the shelves and often sort and resort them by color or style.

Image above: Pictured is one of the mercury glass bowls we had at our wedding. The twig silver spoons are from ABC. Our counter top is a grey granite with black flecks.

Image above: The open shelves in the kitchen allow us to display our prettiest dishes. I use the top shelf to store my custom-made archival Japanese silk boxes from Talas. I give these to my wedding clients to house their wedding proof prints.

Image above: I researched elegant mid-century modern sofas for months before I found the perfect one on sale at Room & Board. The red embroidered pillows with mirrors were purchased on one of my trips to India. I took the photograph above the sofa at a Henna ceremony in Rajasthan. The footstool was borrowed from my childhood bedroom in Montreal and reupholstered with fabric by Robert Allen. The living room walls are Bare by Benjamin Moore and the floor lamp is Ikea.

Image above: On top of our Room & Board Grove credenza is Chandler’s favorite Super 8 camera. Purchased in his native Philadelphia, it was used to shoot a Keith Richards music video and an Italian Tourism advertising campaign. Chandler found this unique panther flower pot while “junking” with his mom near her ol’ Kentucky home. The pipe votive and green enamel frame holding our wedding portrait is from Jonathan Adler. The Fenton milk glass vase is also from Kentucky, and the rug is from Zeba in Soho.

Image above: We love the classic bathroom floor tiles, which date from the 1920s. The wall paint is Beacon Grey by Benjamin Moore. The diamond matelassé shower curtain in Shore is from Restoration Hardware, as are the Turkish hand towels.

Image above: The olive green silk and wool carpet is from ABC Carpet and Home. The original built-in bookshelves house our cookbooks (a couple of which were projects that I photographed), novels and a bronze menorah from the Clay Pot.

Image above: I made these 4 x 5 wetplate photographs in an antique photography workshop in Manhattan. They are all framed with various painted and stained woods by San Art Framing.

Image above: The black nightstand with matching dresser (not shown) are from the Camden line at Restoration Hardware. The Jonathan Adler Fontana bowl was a bridal shower gift to me last year, and the framed portrait of me was made from an enlarged 4 x 5 ambrotype by my friend and fellow photographer, Keliy Anderson-Staley.

Image above: We love the light that pours in through these windows next to my desk. We often place fresh flowers on the window sills.

Image above: Our building’s garden committee meets on Saturdays in the summer, planting herbs for the whole building to enjoy.

Image above: The façade of our Park Slope apartment is brick with prewar details.

Image above: Chandler purchased this Michael Weems vintage x-ray porcelain dish for me in Palm Springs, California.


Can you tell me what color paint you used in the rooms that are white or nearly white? Thanks!


I love the quiet, sweet feeling in this home. I feel like the inhabitants are the kind of people I would love to meet. :)


Serious sigh, I used to live in this building. Top floor.
It was so charming, now I miss it even more! Your apt is lovely.

Esquire Interriors

So often we see light blues against rich, dark woods. This post really illustrates that a variety of softer tones (i.e., pinks, yellows and creams) work so well with these types of woods and really open up creative possibilities. Beautiful home indeed.

Karen Wise

Thank you, everyone, for the nice comments! :)
Andrea: Our hallway and living room were painted in Bare and the bedroom was painted in Linen White, both by Benjamin Moore.


I always loved your apartment and the way you decorated it. It looks the same as I remember but with a lot of little tweaks. One of the best places to be inspired to do beautiful work and to feel relaxed. Beautiful pictures as usual Karen!!


What a wonderful home. Not only is it lovely to look at it it appears warm and inviting. Not stuffy at all. Beautiful but “real”. LOVE!


I LOVE the building – the internal courtyard, the beautiful home… heaven!


I adore your all images which you have posted and antique furniture is too good and looking lovely. I love your bed side lamp also. It’s a great idea. Thanks very much for blog.


Love those wet plate photos made in an antique photo workshop, i’d love to try that myself!

trish brady

beautiful home, so warm and cosy and welcoming! Love it ;o)


A lovely home.. the kitchen is a dream, just the right nice and love the storage rack on the wall. Where does the wooden tray in the second photo come from?

Karen Wise

Thanks everyone for your kind words!
Laura: the workshops were through the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. They were really fun, I highly recommend them!


I love the idea of a garden and herbs that the whole building gets to enjoy. Now I hope no one fights over the basil, which I would think would be the hottest herb in the ‘hood.


what a lovely kitchen
it has such a warm light and a calm general feeling :)
I would add a slightly bigger rug


I am definitely saving the kitchen photos for inspiration – that play between the bluish/greyish cabinets and that creamy pale yellow walls and all the details is fabulous! I want that in my home!


I love the lamp on your bedside table (where from?) and the artful simplicity of your interior design. Beautiful apartment. The garden is amazing.


You have a beautiful home :) I especially love your kitchen!


Simply lovely. And I, too, would love to know more about the lamp on the bedside table. It’s perfection!

Karen Wise

Thanks again for the sweet comments.
Aishling and PhillyLass: The gold and white porcelain lamp is from Anthropologie
Yeshen: The wooden tray in our living room is the Acacia Tray from Crate & Barrel
Stokey: So cool that you used to live in my building! The top floor must have been awesome.


LOVE your kitchen and I can see some of my redone dining chairs fitting really well with your decor. I also love the design of your site.


so beautiful…and I do love your KITCHEN full-filled with sunlight!


Lovely home! In your bedroom, the walls are linen white by Benjamin Moore, but what color is the trim and ceiling? It looks like a different shade of white.


You have such a beautiful home! What is the name of the color you used to stain the kitchen cabinets?