Tour a Brooklyn Brownstone With a London Feel

Homepolish designer Louisa Roeder made her perfectly lovely Prospect Heights home even lovelier.

Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish

Louisa Roeder, a designer for Homepolish, became her own client when she found the townhouse of her dreams in Prospect Heights.

This Prospect Heights brownstone spoke to Homepolish interior designer Louisa Roeder the minute she walked in the front door and took in its graceful proportions and original moldings. “I grew up in London in a townhome, and this felt very familiar,” Roeder says. She closed in March 2014, got work permits seven months after, and completed the work in June 2015; today, the pain of renovating while living in the house is all but forgotten. She rents two of the bedrooms to friends so the brownstone has a family vibe. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
“I felt guilty about painting the wood moldings,” Roeder confesses. “But they felt heavy and dated the space.” Painting the stair risers white and adding a runner also gave the grand staircase a lighter touch. The floors were stripped and then refinished. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The 1870 house is landmarked and was in pristine shape. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The living room has a working fireplace (the others are now only decorative). “I have been using it all winter,” Roeder says. She painted the walls here using Benjamin Moore AF-65 and found the club chairs on eBay from an antiques dealer in Hungary. She later reupholstered them. The large sisal rug was custom cut from A-1 Interior Carpets on the Upper East Side, and the kilim is from Roeder’s parents. The area rug in front of the fireplace is from an antiques store in London. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The most dramatic changes took place in the kitchen, seen here, with its Downton Abbey vibe, before work began. Roeder was able to disengage the built-in cupboard between the windows, selling it on Craigslist. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
“Since the kitchen faces the garden and not the street, I didn’t realize what a big deal it would be to create the bay window,” Roeder says. Because of the building’s landmark status, “it was actually quite difficult to do.” When all is said and done, it adds so much more light to the room, and it is the perfect spot to read and gaze at the garden. All the backyards on this block open onto one another, creating a communal garden much like those in London. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
This roomy bathroom, with its original claw-foot tub, really didn’t need much of anything. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
But painting the ceiling and adding a colorful rug, one of many that Roeder found in Morocco, plus a snappy shower curtain from West Elm, make a happy difference. All lighting fixtures were custom designed by Paul Pisanelli. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The master bedroom lying in wait of decoration. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
Here in the bedroom, she’s created what feels like a family room that has grown into itself over the course of generations. She designed her salon area opposite the bed (not shown here) with a chaise she found on Etsy, then sourced the cushions locally and covered them with Duralee fabric. The mid-century chair was found in Brooklyn, and Roeder reupholstered the bench, which she found on Craigslist and now uses as a coffee table. The area rug is one of her Morocco finds, and the animal pictures on the salon wall were bought in India. The painting over the mantle is by a Greenpoint-based artist, Michael Sherman. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The worn wooden deck off the back of the house overlooking the garden needed to be replaced. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish
The glorious garden can now be enjoyed from a new deck by Trex with a steel-cable railing. The pink chairs are from Industry West, and the drum table is from Pier 1. Photo: Claire Esparros for Homepolish