Interiorssneak peeks

In the Hudson Valley, Room for Work and Play

by Shannon Grant

One thing I love about writing Sneak Peeks is the occasional opportunity to revisit the home of someone we’ve featured in the past. It is not unusual, of course, for a space to have changed dramatically, as many design-oriented individuals are in a constant state of collecting and trying out new ideas in their homes. What is even more interesting, however, is to see how one has adapted one’s style in a completely new home or context. With this, we are able to see how style evolves through time, space and even lifestyle changes. That happens to be the case today as we check back in with Kevin Burke and David Kimelman, a mere year and a half after we featured their Clinton Hill home.

This peek is a powerful testament to how much life can change in a short amount of time, as they have since moved out of New York City, are raising twin baby boys, and running their new business, BURKELMAN, out of their home. While they’ve certainly carried over some of the overall aesthetic of their previous space—described by them as 60s science, magic and the natural world— their new Hudson Valley home is decidedly more grown up and kid-friendly. Pre-parenthood, Kevin and David were hosting lively parties that included such things as caviar, potato vodka shots and everyone dancing to Robyn. Since becoming parents, however, they’ve swapped out the ragers for intimate dinner parties with the neighbors.

As if family life isn’t keeping them busy enough, their other labor of love is BURKELMAN. The online shop offers a unique collection of home decor and accessories with a focus on quality craftsmanship. David works on the photography and graphic design while Kevin is the buyer and stylist. As the business grows, so does the amount of space it takes up in the house, as it started on the garden level and has now made its way to the attic and other rooms throughout their home. Who knows what the next year and a half will bring, but it’s apparent that this space will allow their family plenty of room to grow. Shannon

"The living room is divided into into two spaces by a marble mantel piece and two decorative archways," Kevin and David say. "BURKELMAN's shipping and receiving area occupies the space on the other side of the arch. You can see some of our shipping boxes stacked up. The drawing on the mantel is 'Twins' by Jacob Fossum, the large patterned painting is 'Squeezing Moons' by C. Finley and the portrait is 'Winter Kitchen' by Hannah Barrett."
"Our kitchen is long and narrow, which makes our dinner parties super cozy and lends to lively conversation. It almost feels like you are on a dining car of an overnight train. At night, a singular porcelain pendant light from Souda, one of our featured designers at BURKELMAN, illuminates the table in such a gorgeous way. The mismatched chairs are hand-me-downs from David's family. David's large-scale portrait of outrageous performer, Bridget Everett, oversees each meal and provides a comic surprise to the people who see it from the sidewalk through the long bank of windows."
"Since all the kids' clothing and toys are so colorful, we knew from the start that black, white and grey would be the foundation of the twins' room. We love the way the art becomes the focus. Baby's first Warhol and two prints from British Illustrator Serge Seidlitz, a childhood friend of David's, provide plenty of color pop."
"A touch of drama. The house gets so much natural light in all the rooms that we decided to contrast that by painting the main hall and stairwell with dark and sexy tones. It's unexpected to see an old farmhouse with the stairs and floors painted black and we love the juxtaposition against the adjacent rooms. One of Davids' photos from his new series fills the main wall. A portrait by artist Karen Azoulay leans on the floor next to a vintage Japanese ceramic cat that Kevin's grandparents brought back from Okinawa in the 60s. The handmade rug is from Mexico. After an 8 am tasting tour of a Oaxacan mezcal factory, David's father was feeling 'generous' and bought one for each of his kids. This is one of Lisa's favorite spots to chill out and watch us from."
"Entertaining is something that we love to do as much as possible and part of that is making our overnight guests feel special. Kevin worked with Brian Foster of GroundWork Home to create a custom made headboard specifically for this room. The natural edged spalted maple slab sits on top of an industrial blackened steel base with attached side table. It's absolutely huge, making it perfect for leaning up against for reading in bed. "
"A small, framed carved-bone drawing of Ganesha from David's sisters' travels through India sits next to a horn we found on a Senegalese beach in Dakar with two plastic giraffes just because we love them."
"Guests are greeted by an unfinished defaced painting of a girl that Kevin found on the street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn years ago. Some say it's haunted, including Kevin, but only one guest has ever asked to have it removed during her visit."
"When we moved into the house, there was a wall that sectioned off the stairwell from the upstairs hallway because the home used to be a 3-family. We tore down that wall and restored the banister. It made such a huge difference for the architectural flow and light. We swear we heard the house say 'Thank you.' Kevin got inspired to do something with strong color and decided to really go for it in a 60s sort of way. It's fun being able to tell guests before they go upstairs that the bathroom is the blue door and they will be staying in the room with the pink door, and whatever you do, don't open the green door (sleeping babies). David's portrait of performer Justin Vivian Bond and 'Dream Machine' by Laurel Sparks add additional personality to the space."
"The first thing we did after moving in was design new built-in shelving to display and store all of our favorite books and travel treasures. Reclaimed New York City scaffold boards from Build It Green, in Queens, were used to create the bench seats under the windows. They also function as storage chests. We are into the mix of old and modern elements that make up the overall aesthetic of this room. It has a lot going on, but it's a very comfortable place to hang out with friends or play with the babies."
"Our bedroom is minimal compared to the rest of the house. We painted the mirror to match the walls so it really blends in. The focus is on the painting by Brian Donnelly. "
"This is such a classic, old school New York brownstone-style bathroom. We talk about a renovation but at the same time we like that it reminds us of our many years living in the city. When we paint white we pretty much always use Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. To us, it's just the perfect white. Never cold-feeling. We used it here, the boys' room, upstairs hallway and also in the kitchen."
"Our cat, Lisa, with her favorite pillow."
"The side of the living room opposite our sitting area doubles as our TV room and BURKELMAN's shipping and receiving station. We use the space to pack up orders during the day and when we want to watch a movie at night, we push the packing table to the side and throw down a couple of bean bags. Packing orders is a family affair but David is really the master at it. He can wrap a box like nobody's business. He got his training when working at Moss in the 90s. The large trophy on the wall is vintage and was previously owned by former Sony Exec Tommy Mottola and ex-wife Mariah Carey. Kevin scored it at Tommy's estate sale last year."
"The entire lower level of the house is the BURKELMAN offices, stockroom and photo studio, where we style and shoot all the products you see on our site. The floor was carpeted when we moved in. We ripped it all up and painted the whole space white. It faces south so it gets really great light and in the summer we get a nice view of the gardens. The deer like to walk past the bay window on their way to the stream that runs through the back end of the property. "
"Our first family portrait. David standing with Ulysses, and Kevin sits with Maximiliano."

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  • I feel like I had something nice to say about their house, but then I got to the last picture and now all I can think about is those adorable babies! Oh my gosh those little faces! So much personality – I bet they will just be a riot to watch grow up and play together.

  • What a beautiful home and family! I love the bedside lamp in slide 8; would you mind sharing the source?

  • I need to buy a crib for a brand new granddaughter. Where are those great cribs for your adorable twins from.

  • Hi JB, thanks so much! The lamp in our guest room is from Flos. We are looking to carry those in the new year in our shop.
    Hi AMY, the cribs are from Babyletto ( style: Hudson 3 in one) They convert to beds as the babies age. We love them!

  • More than any other home you’ve featured, this has to be my all time favorite. It’s a kid-friendly space, but it isn’t overloaded with toys and clutter. It’s clear that even though these fathers have two babies, they have not given up their unique decorating taste. The kid-adult balance is something we’re trying to achieve, as we now own a historic home and have an opportunity to make it our own- but we have to be mindful of our young boys who have a propensity for destroying things :) This home is colorful, whimsical, original and inventive. The integration of interesting art is icing on the cake! I recently discovered Burkelman…and it’s no surprise that their aesthetic is woven into their home. If David + Kevin can offer tips on how they keep their abode so orderly and clean, I’m all ears. Well done! Your place is gorgeous. Happy holidays!

  • the home is amazing but the family portrait at the end is just the icing on the cake, what cute lil babies! So glad they’ll have such an interesting home and parents to grow up with, so many treasures!

  • I love this house- it opens its arms to people and embraces them in beauty and comfort. Wherever you turn there’s light, color, and family action. It seems like the interior equivalent of David’s delicious seafood dinners and Kevin’s perfect cup of morning coffee. The baby’s room is the biggest coup -so happy and organized it brims with anticipation for the lives of Uli and Max.

  • This is how I fantasize my home will be after I have kids–beautiful, grownup, fun, and clutter free (yeah, right). I knew it was Chantilly Lace in the upstairs hall (called it!) but is that White Dove in the dining room? I desperately need to know.

  • Hi Saffie, Thank you so much. The white in the dining room is actually Chantilly Lace too. It’s semi gloss finish so we can easily clean the baby messes and wine spills. Cheers -Kevin-

  • I loved looking at both tours and seeing how your art and furniture from “before” fits into your “after” life. What a wonderful family home filled with interesting things, patterns, and colors!

  • It is amazing how you have managed to have the feeling of great interest without the clutter..I have the interest part in my old home, but can NOT figure out how to do it without clutter. I imagine one thing that would help is a space to put things away that I still love for rotation back in later. I don’t know if you have ever heard the story of Brancusi? But he made full size models of every sculpture that he sold so that he could keep a copy in his studio because once it was there he got so accustomed to it that he did not want it to go away. (I know, sounds a bit obsessive but..) sometimes I have a similar problem. What do you do to have it so clean while still having such great interest?
    and yep!! the babies are totally charming :)

  • you guys really take the big jumps with passion and i so admire that. loved the brightly painted doors in the hallway. i will follow burkelman and its legacy. enjoy the twins. they will grow up in a blink.

  • As a shop owner in Cold Spring, I am thrilled to welcome Burkelman to Main Street. They have set up the most amazing store in a very short time and people have discovered them on their opening day. Their exquisite taste is evident in all the merchandise on display and I predict a bright future for them in the Village.