Home Tour: An Artful Monochromatic Home in Brooklyn
Designer Jen Shalom was researching lighting for her Brooklyn home when she came across Cuffhome's Rope-Wrapped Chandelier, now hanging in her dining room. She called to inquire, and thus began a yearlong collaboration with Cuffhome's Wendy Schwartz and Kristi Bender, culminating with Shalom working as the design firm's East Coast point person on multiple other projects. Despite being on different coasts, the designers’ aesthetics blended seamlessly. "Our personal aesthetic is casual, artful, and undecorated, but we love the opportunity to complete projects that reflect our client’s lifestyle and taste," explains Bender. "Our initial dialog created a level of comfort and trust, plus an understanding of her aesthetic that soon after evolved into her bringing us onto the project,” explains Schwartz. “We ended up specifying additional Cuffhome pieces like the Stacked Dining Table, Gem Facet Chest, and Spin Art Glicee."
Keep reading to see the rest of the beautiful home.
Shalom’s Brooklyn home is an exercise in minimalism and restraint. "Jen was clear that she wanted to stick to an overall palette of whites and neutrals with black accents. We remained true to this throughout the process," says Schwartz. The team played with layers, texture, and a juxtaposition of materials and shapes, creating a distinct sculptural coolness. They were inspired by everything from Scandinavian design to Paris apartments to California vibes. "I was looking for someone to bounce ideas off, and I felt like nobody got me until I met the Cuffhome team," says Shalom. "I wanted a house that felt like how I dressed. Nothing makes me happier than the perfect white T-shirt, and that's how I wanted my house to feel. Understated and simple, but exactly right."
Shalom and I are old friends, and I first saw the house when I dropped off “Cabanas,” a giant framed print of the beach club where we spent our childhood. I immediately asked to shoot her ultra-cool, super-sculptural home. A year later, while we were both nine months pregnant, no less, we finally got the house shot. I tried to do the house justice, highlighting the grandeur in its simplicity, the very soft-spoken edginess to it, and the architectural details.
"I like a juxtaposition of styles and materials. If something is going too far in one direction, I like something unexpected in the mix to balance it out,” says Shalom. “I prefer a minimalistic, clean, almost neutral palette. I lean towards natural and textural materials.” The living room, she tells me, is her favorite at the moment. "It gets the most light. I love the way the different materials play off each other. I love the way the hard and soft materials play off each other. I think when you use a neutral color palette, you can pick up on the nuances more easily."
The living room's internal door was added after the fact. The couple noticed that it was really hard to block out the noise from the house in that room when watching TV, so they added an oversize, barn-style door to the room. "It’s almost like an art piece. I love the door," says Shalom, "so I'm super-psyched about it being huge!"
The dining room was a jumping-off point for the collaboration. The Cuffhome pendant was one of the first pieces sourced for the house, and the sculptural dining table looks like art standing in the middle of the room. It’s also super-durable and stands up to use. "A clean white dining room serves as a great backdrop for food and people during large family gatherings," Schwartz tells us.
The metal doors were inspired by French casement windows. It keeps the entrance to the dining room feeling wide but also separates it from the hallway.
The walls are covered in Waterworks tile. Calacatta slab marble makes for a durable, bright, open, and modern yet classic kitchen. The team tried to keep the kitchen balanced and evergreen. They paired the flat-front cabinets with the Shaker-style doors in the pantry for a sleek-meets-traditional space. "The brick tile makes the look cohesive,” says Shalom.
Cerused oak was one of the designers’ favorite materials. It adds a little glamour and statement in a small room. The brushed gold faucet works perfectly in there.
The small space feels cozy with black grasscloth walls, which have an enveloping feeling and serve as a backdrop for old family photos.
The Serge Mouille light fixture was something Shalom wanted somewhere in the house. And an updated Moroccan-style rug from Restoration Hardware completes the look. The fireplace uses alcohol gel cartridges, so it’s non-venting. The team searched for a fireplace with the best-looking faux logs and were really happy with this one!
The walls were meant to look like Moroccan plaster—they have a suede/concrete-like quality.
"This was the most color I could handle,” says Shalom of her sons’ two-tone rooms. "I loved the idea of a room that looked ‘dipped’ in paint, including the doors and the moldings. I wanted the rooms to coordinate but be different, so we went for variations on a similar look. The boys shared rooms their whole lives, so I envisioned this as a suite, and at first they wanted to share one room. Now they have signs up and are like ‘DO NOT ENTER!’"
The boys’ bathrooms coordinate as well. The bathrooms have old-school elements, like black matte penny tile, but they are kept current with super-cool custom Urban Electric sconces and black grout.
The tonal and textural bedroom serves as a relaxing refuge for the busy parents.
The nursery was inspired by Jenna Lyons’s son’s room with its wallpapered ceiling—though incidentally, they look nothing alike. "Ideas come from weird places!" says Shalom. Per Schwartz’s suggestion, the spin art wallpaper took the papered ceiling idea to the next level. An antique style crib plays off the modern chalkboard dresser.
Which room is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.