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Interiorssneak peeks

A Brooklyn Brownstone Built Around Family and History

by Grace Bonney

When I met Jodie Patterson and her family this summer in their Brooklyn home, I knew I was meeting someone very special. I’ve admired Jodie and her businesses, DooBop and Georgia, for a while now, and getting to talk with her about her life and work at home was a joy. After a quick tour of her brownstone, she showed Sasha and me down to the basement to check out the speakeasy that used to fill the home’s basement. We were so blown away by the history of the home and the way Jodie and her husband Joe have chosen to honor that, while still adding their own modern touches. I knew we’d have to return soon for a full home tour, and I’m so thrilled that today is the day.

Jodie, who is currently writing a memoir about raising a transgender child, and her husband Joe, who runs start-ups in tech, education, beauty and music, share their home with their children, Georgia, Cassius, Penel and Othello. They’ve called this turn-of-the-century brownstone home for the last three years. Jodie and Joe were drawn to the home’s original details like wall tiles, chandeliers, wood cabinetry, stained glass and even an old-fashioned intercom system. “Holding on to history was hard, but I think we did a good job,” she says. 

I love that Jodie and Joe worked together to balance the home’s historic architecture with modern details like graffiti-covered couches and modern marble countertops and glass showers. But most of all, I love how much the family worked together to make the kids a central part of the home’s design. It’s not often that we see family homes where kids have been encouraged to be such a huge part of the design decisions. It not only makes this home beautiful, but it makes the entire space feel real and really special. I’m so honored to share a peek inside Jodie and Joe’s home today. Thank you to the whole family for welcoming us! xo, grace

Photography by Sasha Israel

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An incredible original wooden room divider separates the living room and kitchen/dining area.
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The home's main staircase echoes the sort of grand details found throughout the brownstone.
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The view into the living room from the entryway staircase.
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The family's living room, looking in from the entryway.
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I love all of the details in Jodie and Joe's home that celebrate their kids. Various drawings and notes from each of the kids decorate the family coffee table.
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A detail of the room's woodwork and original ceiling.
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The family, cutting loose in their living room.
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The view from the kitchen facing into the family living room.
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The living room sofas are from IKEA. Jodie decorated them with her kids using spray paint!
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A mix of old and new: Jodie and Joe kept the home's original parlor floor kitchen and its original woodwork. To contrast the original architecture, they installed a modern marble countertop.
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The home's original floors feature amazing wood inlay.
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A detail of the woodwork in parlor-floor kitchen.
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One the second floor of the home is Jodie and Joe's master bedroom and Jodie's home office. This entryway leads into the master bedroom.
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The master bedroom.
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Through the master bedroom's walkway is another guest room with Jodie's home office.
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Next to the fireplace is one of Jodie's inspiration walls, which includes a mix of magazine clippings and family photos.
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Jodie's home office gets plenty of bright light from the main street.
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Jodie's gallery walls are one of my favorite parts of her home. This space above her desk features paintings of inspiring women.
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Jodie's inspiration wall decorates the space between the upstairs laundry/sink room and the master bedroom.
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Photos and magazine clippings create an impromptu gallery between windows.
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The second-floor bathroom has remarkable plaster and tile work, as well as a stained glass window.
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The kids' room upstairs combines practical modern bunk beds and lighting with historic details, like the home's original fireplace and tile work.
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The kids' room has two sets of bunk beds and every child's dream: a playtime area complete with a wooden fort with windows.
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The upstairs bathroom has beautiful marble tile work and a scarf serves as the room's curtain.
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The basement floor of Jodie and Joe's home is a former speakeasy! When the family moved in they discovered most of the speakeasy intact, including banquettes and old liquor bottles.
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This pink box at the bottom of the stairs houses a buzzer to let guests in from the ground-floor entrance.
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Hidden cubbies, mirrors and old signs decorate the space. The bright colors and beaded detailing around the doorways feel reminiscent of Caribbean decor.
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Jodie and Joe decided to leave the space as-is right now. The history (and mystery) of the space is just one of the many unique and unexpected details of their home.

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Comments

  • this is, by far, one of the COOLEST home tours i’ve seen in a while. i love, love, love the mix of old and new, traditional and offbeat, stunning and welcoming–fantastic work, jodie and joe, and many thanks for sharing this, grace!

  • It’s remarkable that they found a place with all its original woodwork in tact. I agree, this house is a great example of how we can mix traditional with modern. What a happy feeling place. I think if I were invited, I would have a smile to on my face the whole time I spent inside.

  • I am a fan of Jodie’s style and her fierce love for her children. Owning a gorgeous brownstone in Harlem is something I’ve always dreamed of; Brooklyn is looking mighty sweet now too! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for this beautiful, inspiring, unique house tour! I grew up in Brooklyn and honestly most Brooklyn house tours just make me sad. Seeing the houses of the ultra-rich in my hometown is depressing since most people I grew up with can’t afford to own a home here anymore. This was a breath of fresh air. It reminded me of the homes of artists I knew as a kid – just totally creative and not curated within an inch of its life.

  • What an amazing home. This is one of the best I’ve seen. I love the combination of old rich wood and heavy Victorian detail and new sleekness and lightness, and especially the colours. It looks like a home in which people hang out, talk together, and play. The speakeasy is a real bonus! Thanks for showing this home.

  • This house is wild in the absolute best way! The architectural details are stunning, and you can just see the joy that Jodie, Joe, and their family put into this home. What a treat.

  • LOVE this home!!!!! Such great bones and their style! What a combo. This is a house where real people live.

  • THE WOODWORK! <3 Ugh, it makes me want to strip and refinish all the original doors and moulding in the 1870s rowhouse I live in, even though I'm a renter and even though I'm sure I would bite off more than I could chew, in doing so, I'm just in love with the wood features of old houses being kept natural looking and not being painted. And a speakeasy? Man, this house is too cool. You can tell that love and creativity lives there. Amazing tour!

  • Your home is lovely, but I just read your memoir on your family’s experience raising your special child. I am so impressed with your acceptance and philosophy,… towards life in general, I would say. I think your home is simply the external manifestation of that. I wish more people of this time reflected the maturity, thoughtfulness, intelligence and open-mindedness that your family seems to embody.

  • Wow, what an incredible space. You can just feel the energy. I found myself wishing for some blank space to just rest my eyes or to be able to just focus on the woodwork instead of photos and patterns everywhere, but that’s why we each have different taste! I love seeing how other people live!

  • This is one of the coolest house tours I have ever seen! I love all the amazing historic details and how they decorated around that with their own personal style! It meshes together so well! This is a very special space with an awesome family :)

  • Yahtzee!!!! Beautiful home, great family….wonderful to see more brown faces gracing Design Sponge pages. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!!

  • Agreed. One of the best home tours in ages. Happy to see a home where trendy modernness doesn’t trump the character and beauty of the home and history.

  • I LOVE how much this house feels like a home! So many places don’t really looked lived in, but this seems like a place where a family lives out loud, and it’s fantastic. (Side note: I’m not the Erin that asked the above question, despite my handle! :-)

  • This is the most “wow” house I have ever seen! From how they mix the old and the new, how it looks both elegant and vintage, how they incorporate their personalities into each room, it’s all so beautiful and dynamic. Just, wow!

  • Grace, you are killing it. I’ve actually been meaning to comment for a while now. I love the changes you have made in your content. It is fresh, inclusive, and different from pretty much anything out there. Thank you for raising the bar, something that was sorely needed in this field. You really are breaking down walls.

    Also Jodie and Joe, this is hands down one of the most visually interesting home tours I’ve seen in years. There is just so much love in your space.

  • It’s just spectacular to see how history, vision, care, creativity, passion, great bones, lotsa love and a great eye can all come together in a place to make it magical. And well served with a beautifully written post and pics too. Love.

  • I have to echo the masses. This might be the best tour I have seen on Design Sponge ever. I love homes that look as if they have evolved over years. This families home is unique, colorful, playful and reflects a lifetime of good taste, creativity and lots of love. I’ll be visiting this one again!

  • They just don’t make houses like this anymore! That woodwork-the kitchen, inlaid floors, mantels, crown molding- in this day and age would cost a fortune.

    And spray painting IKEA couches- ingenious.

    You can tell this family is authentically cool.

  • Wow — totally amazing. You can really feel the energy of the people who live in this house. Totally not my style, but I love it and I want to see more! haha!

  • Finally brown ppl like me that I recognize! This is what my friends and family are like. Was so so so so so glad to see PoC and no subway tile or mcm trendiness. Imagine that!

  • What a gorgeous home! I adore the woodwork (lovely rich color), molding and trim and all the color used throughout. They did a fabulous job making this historic home not stuffy. I love that they didn’t paint the trim white. So refreshing!

  • Thank you to Jodie and Joe and their family for sharing their lovely, warm and welcoming (and also FUN) house with us. Too many design blogs feature the same old/same old: white interiors with too little personality. With Jodie and Joe’s house, I feel like I have pulled up a chair at the table and laughed over good food with them. Designsponge, while the trend-following houses can be pretty, this house is the kind of personal, true, heartfelt home that needs to be shared.

  • The owners here were bold: making contrasting choices in when to highlight, paint or simplify in this house with a big personality. They are living in harmony here with the abundance of interior do-dads/gingerbread molding and I love how they have peppered the color in playful beats throughout the spaces: loving and living shine through here! a happy place.

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