Interiorssneak peeks

A Hidden Garden in the Middle of Brooklyn

by Shannon Grant

Douglas Riccardi says that he never wanted his place to look too “decorated” and rather prefers to keep things simple in terms of decor. But with an eye for aesthetics, (he is head of his own design firm, Memo Productions) Douglas has certainly found the perfect spot for many of his collected design artifacts in his Fort Greene, Brooklyn home. He loves to entertain, and wanted to create a comfortable place for guests. With a cozy guest bedroom and some architectural changes on the parlor floor designed by his architect brother, Russell Riccardi, he has transformed his home into a peaceful, light filled oasis in the middle of the city. His favorite thing about his home is a feature highly coveted by city dwellers: his very own garden. Tending to his plants and picking fresh figs right off the tree evokes a feeling of being miles away from the city hustle that exists just outside his front door. Thank you, Douglas and thank you Kelly Campbell for the photos! Shannon

Image above: My friend Lloyd Miller send me two Wolfgang Weingart posters after my trip to Basel in 1983 and they were rolled in a tube for over 20 years until I recently got them framed. I sort of forgot how fantastic they were and how much I loved them!

Image above: When the parlor floor was renovated, I replaced two small doors with this large window/door combination — which means that I get a ton of light and a wonderful view of the garden. Someone way back when planted these not-so-nice yew trees at the back of my property. But now I thank them, since yews never lose their leaves and I get total privacy all year long.

See more of Douglas Riccardi’s Brooklyn home after the jump…

Image above: Reusing a few classics: my parents bought the rope chairs by the windows in the ’60s. The sofa is on permanent loan from my sister in law, designer Erica Millar. It belonged to her grandmother who lived in LA and was designed by the once-famous Beverly Hills decorator William “Billy” Haines.

Image above: I really love this weird wooden pick ax which I bought at the RISD museum store. It was made by a fellow RISD alumnus (I wish I could recall their name). I made the table from some wood I salvaged for the beach in the Hamptons one summer.

Image above: No matter what kind of party I have at home this island is where my guests seem to congregate.

Image above: One big problem I had with the parlor floor is not having any utility space. The washer and dryer just fit under this stairs. I made this curtain to hide them but since the cat “bathroom” is under there as well, I needed to create this doorway for them.

Image above: Luckily someone before me had the idea of putting a skylight in the hallway which means this space is flooded with light. It took me years to get past the stark white walls of the stair hall — but now that I have, I find myself constantly adding to the art hung there. The two posters are from Le Rouleur Lent — and celebrate two classic, hellish European cycling climbs.

Image above: I know it sounds really extravagant, but one of the other nice things about moving from a Manhattan apartment to a Brooklyn house was that I got this super tiny guest room which really does come in handy. Plus Bruno the cat loves to sleep on this bed all day long.

Image above: It took me forever to get up the courage to paint the bedroom this dark grey, but I couldn’t be happier with the choice. It’s cozy and welcoming — like sleeping in a cocoon.

Image above: This vase is one of my prize possessions — it was designed by Ettore Sottsass, who I used to work for in Milan. I got it directly from the factory that made his ceramics outside Florence, and could kick myself for not buying more. I am addicted to Diabolik, the Italian mystery/crime comic, which help me keep my Italian up to date.

Image above: Even though the piano would be better suited on the parlor floor, I decided to put it upstairs so I could play any time of the day or night without causing my friend who lives in the apartment downstairs to go crazy. This room is where I spend 99% of my free time while I am at home, either reading or playing the piano.

Image above: I designed this poster for Restaurant Florent and it has always been one of my favorites. Oscar night was VERY IMPORTANT at Florent, it was one of the high holy days, the others being Halloween and New Year’s eve.

Image above: Frankie — a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Image above: Bruno — almost 16 and still going strong-ish.

Image above: The house gets great sun in the back in the morning, just enough for my fig tree on the deck to be very happy. I sort of felt that an Italian American living in Brooklyn really needed a fig tree. My grandmother had one (albeit in New Jersey) — but nothing beats fresh hand picked figs for breakfast.

Image above: The ferns have gone a little crazy this year.

Image above: My tiny urban oasis.

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