Interiorssneak peeks

Creating a New Home inside a 150-year-old Building

by Amy Azzarito

We discovered Helen Dealtry’s beautiful scarves last summer. Helen specializes in hand-painted patterns and prints for fashion and interior markets. In addition to her line of scarves, she also teaches classes at her studio. Originally from just outside London, Helen, along with boyfriend Dan Barry (and their rescue dog Dudley and Moe the turtle) now calls Williamsburg, Brooklyn home. The couple found a completely raw space in Williamsburg and transformed it with the help of architects at Agencie Group. Their goal was to create a home that fit their modern lifestyle and love of entertaining but still respected the history of the 150-year-old building. Unfortunately, all of the original details had been destroyed by previous renovations and a subsequent fire, so they tried to choose finishes that helped the balance of all the new with some old. Similarly, their furniture is a mix of modern, mid-century and antique pieces. Mostly, they just wanted everything to feel warm and homey. Thanks, Helen and Dan! And a big thank you to Tara Donne for photography and Rebecca Donnelly  for the styling. –Amy

Image above: To contrast the modern mill work of the Henrybuilt kitchen, we added a tin ceiling.

Image above: Although the range is new, we love that Lacanche has kept largely the same design for many years, so it maintains a somewhat retro vibe.


See more of Helen’s Williamsburg home after the jump!

Image above: The painting above the “cocktail cabinet” is by Chinese-American artist Victor Wang.

Image above: The most loved and used area of the house is our living room. The windows look out onto a couple of lovely magnolia trees. When we first saw the house, it was winter and we tried to guess what kind they were. The first spring was such a beautiful surprise when the pink blossoms came out. The painting above the couch is by our longtime friend and fellow Williamsburg resident Sarah Bereza.

Image above: Andres and Sarrah at Agencie Group told us about Farrow & Ball paints and we used it throughout the house. The wall color in the kitchen, dining and living rooms is Strong White, the base molding is Blackened, and the mantel is Off Black. The floors are reclaimed oak. There were no original mantels left in the house and salvage mantels in good condition can be soooo expensive. We worked with one of our finish carpenters to put together this mock mantel/bookshelf. The box is birch plywood and the design elements are all off-the-shelf casings, moldings and trim from Dyke’s Hardware in Long Island City.

Image above: We kept the decor minimal in the bedroom and added texture and color over time. I like to change the headboard by draping my scarf designs over it and switch them out depending on the season. I designed a rather loud bedspread which is the perfect cover for our dog Dudley’s shedding! The walls are Strong White and for the floor we decided to go with hand troweled concrete. The color was mixed to our specification, a warm tone of grey and hand troweled to give subtle texture as it set. We put radiant heating under the most walked-on areas so the concrete wouldn’t be too chilly underfoot.

Image above: We really wanted the bathroom to be a calm, simple design so we continued the floor from the bedroom and made the bathroom a wet-room. It always makes me feel like I’m on holiday when I’m in there.

Image above: Much as I try to keep the surfaces clean, I can’t help but have a few nicknacks. I love to keep my jewelry in ceramics made by Bailey Doesn’t Bark, and I always have a candle for bath time by MCMC Fragrances, my favorite. Our bathroom is mainly neutral like the rest of our house, but I love the pop of color in the wall hanging from our friends at Cold Picnic.

Image above: The guest bedroom is one of my favorite spots to hole up with tea and a book. The walls are Cornforth White, the wood trim is Pavilion Gray and the fireplace bookshelf is Off Black. The beams were the only ones in the house we could expose, and I love the warmth they add to the space. The floor is a Spanish limestone similar to Travertine that we were lucky to have given to us by a friend who had leftovers at his commercial space.

Image above: I’ve never had a closet bigger than a door frame so this addition to the house was a bit of a dream come true. The custom built-in’s are cedar to help keep away the pesky moths!


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  • Hi
    Where are the black pendant lights from in the kitchen? I love your space.


  • I love how storied your home feels — love, too, the conversations that materials are having from room to room. Can you source the living room couch? You’d be sparing me hours of scouting it myself.


  • Love the warmth you brought to the modern space. And the fireplace bookcases, ingenious. The living room would be my favorite spot to hang out too!

  • Thank-you for sharing your home with us. Love all the warm tones, looks like such a soothing home to live in. Especially love your bathroom, it would be hard not to relax in that tub!

  • I adore that Helen Dealtry! She is so incredibly talented & such a sweetheart. Such a great combination. It is no surprise to me that her home is so warm & great looking. That stove will haunt my dreams and all that peaceful warmth looks heavenly.

  • how didi you do the bathroom? What plaster mix/ ratio did you use….I am building a bathroom from scratch and want a wet room much like yours. Thank u dana

  • I lived in Williamsburg just 12 years ago and, while I admire this gorgeous home, I can’t help but wonder if any of the artists or working class folk (who were already getting pushed out of the neighbourhood even then) once inhabited this previously “raw space.”

  • beautiful! I love the mix of new and old, and the amazing attention to detail on the walls and flooring…such unique choices, but seem really tailored to the owners. lovely home.

  • Fabulous. Thanks for sharing. Do you know where are the lucite hanging bud vases are from in the bathroom?

  • Super house, the decoration mixing with old and modern is very beautiful, the wall in bricks, the lamps in the kitchen, congratulations for this realisation very romantic.

  • What a beautiful and uniquely decorated home. The influences of modern and older styles connect so well. The tall windows looking out to the Magnolia trees are beautiful!

  • I let out a very loud noise when I saw the bathroom. It’s absolutely perfect. This is such a beautiful home, and the best part is all of the wood. Thank you for sharing this inspiring space!

  • This house made me feel happy. Just gorgeous. One of my D*S favourites (and I have loved them all!) I love all the wood, the exposed brick, the tin ceiling and those fireplaces filled with books. It’s warm and cosy and colourful – so homey.

  • Love this house so much! I was wondering if the backlash tiles are matte or glossy? I’m about to buy a lot of them for my own kitchen.

  • hey everyone, thanks for the sweet comments!

    dawn & rasheena–the couch is by giovanni erba. I bought it at ABC Home about 8 years ago. they continued stocking it for several years, but not sure whether they still do. good luck!