When Lauren and Ben Lindsey set out to find a home for their family of four in Brooklyn, they immediately fell in love with the charm of this 1899 pre-war townhouse. Boasting beautiful crown moldings, high ceilings, oversize windows, and plaster details, the space had great bones and serious design potential. With lots of natural light, a backyard for their young boys, and enough space to host visiting family and friends without feeling cramped, it checked all the boxes.
However, before the family of four could move into the 1200-square-foot duplex in South Slope, the house needed a lot of work. "Operating on a shoestring budget, and with zero prior remodeling experience, we set out to keep the pre-war details intact while modernizing bathrooms and kitchen to create a perfect blend of modern amenities and historic style," Ben explained. As you'll see ahead, the dichotomy between these two extremes is precisely what makes this cozy family home charming.
Keep scrolling to take a tour of this inviting South Slope home. Prediction: Art lovers will swoon over the expertly curated artwork and handcrafted homewares throughout this space. Step inside.
Lauren and Ben have somehow managed to fit their family of four into 1200 square feet. "Our personal apartment is a duplex located on the first and second floors of a four-floor townhouse," Ben explained. "The third and fourth floors of the house are each around 600 square feet, offering up private floor-through living spaces."
The dining nook posed one of the biggest small-space design challenges for the family of four. "[It's] probably the smallest dining room we've ever seen!" Ben exclaimed. "Our motto is never let a small room make you style small, so we never allow the dimensions of a room to limit us," he said. "Give us a small room and we find the biggest pieces of furniture we can find to anchor it. True to form, we worked with the team at Uprise Art to have this oversize work by artist Inka Bell brought over from Finland to tie the room together.
Go big or go home!"
In the kitchen, handcrafted utensils double as utilitarian pieces of art, allowing the couple to get double duty out of their beautiful kitchen wares. "The versatility of Mquan's ceramic work is unreal," Ben confessed. "At once, they are somehow delicate and sturdy, tribal and contemporary, stark and playful."
The abundance of natural light is one of the couple's favorite things about the space. "Living in NYC can be a drain and there's never enough time to spend outdoors," Ben lamented. "Nearly every nook and cranny of our house is drenched in natural light at different points throughout the day, enabling you to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee and just unplug."
The couple has just one word to describe their home décor style: deliberative. "We've made a pact to only acquire pieces that both of us feel strongly about," Ben elaborated. "As a result, our designs tend to straddle the line between masculine and feminine," he said. "Design discussions can get heated in the moment, but we always cuddle up and appreciate the results afterward!"
"We brought two pieces of furniture with us when we moved in," Ben confessed. "A credenza that was our first purchase as a couple, and a Chesterfield sofa we love so much that it's literally been cut in half and reassembled multiple times to make it work in our spaces," he added. "These pieces anchor our home, and we refresh and reboot around them seasonally."
The living room is, hands down, the family's favorite room in the house. "Cozy is the name of the game here," said Ben. "The discontinued sofa is from ABC Home, and it's the workhorse of our home. Its versatility allows you to simply pile on the throws and pillows to look good, feel good."
"This season, we decided to keep it simple and accent with creams and browns to allow the sofa to take center stage," Ben explained. "The ceiling height helps make the room feel much larger than it really is, so we like to take advantage and style art vertically, often stacking pieces on top of one another.
The couple advocates making small changes to your home décor on the regular. "Rotating plants, flowers, scents, textiles, and small objects—even if only relocating to a different spot within your home—allows for a sense of growth and change," suggested Ben. "Right now we are crushing on the insanely affordable Cru Rug from Joinery. It's plush underfoot and looks way more expensive than it is. Plus, it's machine washable!"
That said, they are also huge believers in acquiring major pieces of home furnishings slowly over time, Ben explained. "After all, certain items are worth the wait to find the perfect piece and are worth the splurge for something truly special," he said.
Another room Ben and Lauren like to rotate pieces in and out of is the bedroom. "We have amassed a collection of throws and pillows to keep the space looking and feeling fresh," said Ben. "The faceted bead garland by Mquan is the best thing ever, and we think the pillow and bedspread combo from Five Six Textiles perfectly complement the chunky wall eye-candy."