First-Time Renovators Create a Dream Brooklyn Townhome

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It’s not often that I see a home where I wouldn’t change a little something here and there. Not because anything is wrong with the space, but just because I daydream about living there myself and how I would put my personal touches on it. But then I saw photographer Julia Sherman’s home. I knew Julia had impeccable taste in salads and artwork – her project at PS1 and her blog, Salad for President, combines both – but I had no idea how much her incredible eye extended to home design.

Julia lives in this beautifully restored home, along with her husband Adam Katz and their dog, Lucy, in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. Originally built in the 1890s, Julia and Adam’s home was in dire condition when they found it three years ago. Eager to put down roots somewhere quiet and near a park, the couple ignored friends’ warnings that a gut renovation job wasn’t something they should tackle. Instead they found a space that needed a total overhaul and had serious “haunted” vibes. After working through fallen ceilings, black mold and moldy carpet floors, the couple saw signs of light when crown molding, parquet floors and original Eastlake hardware were revealed. Despite not having any prior renovation experience, Julia and Adam were able to eventually finish their renovation using a mix of local salvage and building material resources. At the end of the day they have a totally custom home (they loved getting to choose every tile, light fixture and paint color) that still retains the original architectural beauty of the home. “The house is ours like no pre-fab home could have been,” Julia says. I couldn’t agree with her more. This is the sort of space that will only continue to grow and improve as the years go on. xo, grace

Photographs by Maxwell Tielman

  1. Hana says:

    amazing how each room has it’s own character. bravo!

  2. Emmy says:

    This home is so wonderful! Love your droop-y wall hangings in one of the last photos.

  3. Coveting that wallpaper by the entrance.

  4. Jill says:

    Most amazing kitchen ever!!! I am absolutely in love. It’s not even really my style, but I would adopt this style in a second if I could live here. It’s high end, yet unpretentious. Well designed with an organic feel that is so inviting. My jaw is on the ground!

  5. Coralee says:

    I am honestly at a loss for words with this home. (That’s not common)
    It just seems very special and I mean that in the very best way.
    I think my jaw literally dropped when I saw the eastlake door knobs and then there is the front entrance, kitchen, master bath etc.
    If your home could talk after this renovation it would be radiating joy as it said thanks.

  6. Rebecca M says:

    I love the dog’s space in the fireplace. Too cute!

  7. Klein says:

    I love their bedroom. They have the bohemian feeling with the blankets.

  8. Shawn says:

    So beautiful! I would love to know the PAINT color in the living area.

  9. Gabi H. says:

    This home is a visual dream. All of the different tiles and patterns are wonderful. A friend of mine just introduced me to Sister Corita Kent the other day! The piece in the living room is incredible.

  10. Nazparv says:

    i am so sorry to ask the tacky New Yorkervquestion but would you kindly share the budget for this project? We are thinking of buying a house in bed stay and doing a gut renovation but we are so fearful of spiraling costs – would love some ballpark figures to see if we should do it or keep saving. Huge thanks.

  11. madie says:

    This house is perfect! I love everything about it…the tiles, the paint, the furniture, the textiles, the wallpaper, the art, not to mention the fabulous original details. My favorite house tour ever.

  12. Elisabeth says:

    Pardon my gaucheness, but I would like to echo NAZPARV’s request. We are also in the planning stages of a similar renovation in Park Slope, and I am completely in love with Julie’s results! Just some ballpark figures would be so endlessly helpful.

  13. Brandi says:

    Fantastic! But oh how I long to see before photos!

  14. Katie says:

    This is absolutely perfect. Wow! I wouldn’t change one thing.

  15. Carolyn says:

    What a gem! You’ve done a beautiful job … and those doorknobs! Sigh.

  16. Jenny says:

    Where o’ where are those bar stools from?

  17. Mary says:

    Lucy’s fireplace/bed is too cute!

  18. Melissa says:

    Wow, this is GORGEOUS!!! I’m curious to know why they hung the boots (timbs) from the chandelier in the living room… it is such a NYC outer borough thing, but it obviously stands out in this type of setting! (To me they’ve always meant illicit activity nearby…!)

  19. Emma says:

    So so beautiful! Lucy’s bed takes the cake. The accent colours and patterns are so on point.

  20. connie says:

    the shoes hanging from the light are hilarious! well done!

  21. Annie says:

    Such beautiful details and smart, hard work to make it their own! I also love how they mixed old, new, antique, thrift, and finds in cohesive way.

  22. Miriam says:

    This house is PERFECT. I know I’m too old but I wish they would adopt me (I went to the same college as Adam!). I’d love to know which white paints they used throughout. I recently moved and am in the process of painting the walls in my house. It’s so nice to see a big, open house still in the process of being filled, which is how mine feels at the moment.

  23. cate says:

    Very beautiful. Just FYI, this house is an Italianate and most likely built in the 1860s or 1870s. The Eastlake knobs probably came later.

  24. Christina says:

    Love the apartment and the decoration is just perfect!

  25. Tara Mangini says:

    This house is GORGEOUS. Congratulations on creating such a beautiful home. It must be a dream having such a big beautiful space in Brooklyn. If you don’t mind sharing secrets, I’d love to know more about your custom painted tile and how you guys went about getting that done. Thanks so much!

  26. Audrey says:

    The bedframe is just fantastic. Can the homeowners/D*S let us know where that came from, and what the ‘style’ of that piece is? (Eg. if I wanted to find a similar looking one, what furniture style does it hail from? Mission-style?)

  27. Sawyer says:

    Beautiful space! I also live in Clinton Hill and love the architecture around here. And you’ve renovated and decorated beautifully. Kudos!

  28. LeeLee says:

    Gorgeous house. Love the pendant light in their entryway.

  29. Danyelle says:

    Saw this again on Apartment Therapy and had to comment. So lovely. Where did they find that pot rack?

  30. Kari says:

    Beautiful! What paint color did they use on their kitchen cabinets?

  31. See says:

    Love the renovation. I am Hmong and love seeing the beauty of my culture inspire others.

  32. Eva says:

    This is perfection. I totale get what you’re saying Grace. Hard to think it was once moldy and rotten!

  33. Michael Boyd says:

    Those doorknobs and backplates are the very ones that were on my 1884 home in Lafayette Square, St. Louis. If any one knows where I can find the larger ( 1/4″ long version of these plates, please contact me. Thanks! thearchitective@aol.com

  34. Michael Boyd says:

    That size for the backplates would be 9-1/4″

  35. Natalie says:

    Anyone know roughly how much those cement tiles (used in the kitchen arch) cost, per square foot? I have a design in mind that I was thinking about just stencil-painting onto my kitchen, but it’s a small enough area that I might splurge if it’s not prohibitively expensive.

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