design hunting

These Brooklyn Brothers Designed Their Apartment With Goethe, Tolstoy, and Melnikov in Mind

Carroll Gardens “dacha.” Photo: Annie Schlechter

Adam Charlap Hyman, 27, and his brother, Alexander, 24, have been best friends and doppelgängers since childhood. While young Adam was making architectural models of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, young Alex was memorizing the layouts of Upper East Side apartments. The two grew up in a creative household; their grandfather is jazz pianist Dick Hyman, and their aunt is the sculptor Carmen Almon, whose husband, Thierry Job, was Le Corbusier’s godson. However, the Charlap Hyman brothers did not expect that as adults they would not only share an apartment in Carroll Gardens but also run a business together. “I think it would have never crossed our minds that this was the way it would go down,” Adam says. But when his younger brother graduated from Columbia with a degree in architectural history and was looking for a job and a place to live, and Adam was looking for a third partner to join his design practice, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, as well as a roommate, the logical thing to do was to join forces on both fronts.

Each room in this apartment (their second together) is designed with specific historic references in mind: The dining room and library were inspired by Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov’s house in Moscow. The green of the living room is a nod to Goethe’s bedroom and shades of pistachio used in Milanese lobbies that Adam has a particular affection for. Alex’s bedroom is swathed in fabric that he says “took some cues from Tolstoy” and from a Delacroix painting of Charles de Mornay’s room. “Alex’s room is very Nureyev-y,” adds Adam, who says his own bedroom was inspired by the famous Horst P Horst photograph of Pauline de Rothschild peeking into her salon vert, covered in hand-painted 18th-century wallpaper. In childhood, Adam recalls, “my bedroom was all white and black everything. Meanwhile, Alex was kind of living in Gilded Age splendor, hoarding our grandmother’s antiques. You can sort of see that today; our tastes are very different, but very compatible.”

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Living Room

The eye paintings and lampshade are by Pilar Almon, mother of the Charlap Hyman brothers; the large painting is by Kevin Zucker, from 11R Gallery; the pair of bamboo chairs are ’60s Italian; and the lantern on the floor “is Gustavian and is filled with a beautiful striped plastic bag and dried flowers,” says Adam Charlap Hyman.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Dining Room

The tall pine chair is by Mario Ceroli, the iron face chair is by Adam Charlap Hyman, and the painting over the fireplace is by the brothers’ father, David Hyman. The hanging lamp is by André Rotte for RAAK, and the lace Deco curtain fabric is from Clarence House.

Photo: Annie Schlechter 2017

The Brothers

Alex (left) and Adam Charlap Hyman, in the living room.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Alex’s Bedroom

The painting over the bed is an 1880 study by Lovis Corinth. A Bessarabian rug is used as a bedspread, and the striped fabric on the wall is from their mother’s textile collection.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Adam’s Bedroom

The fabric on the walls and bed, painted by Pilar Almon, was originally created for the set of the opera La Calisto. The eye lamp is by Nicola L. from Johnson Trading Gallery; the night table is the “Boby Trolley,” by Joe Colombo; and the stool next to the bamboo chair is by Misha Kahn.

Photo: Annie Schlechter


A painting by Ukrainian-born artist John Graham hangs over the sofa. To the left is a column of caricatures painted by the Hymans’ great-grandfather during the Spanish Civil War. Tiffany plates hang on the wall, and Katie Stout’s Eye Rug layers over a Persian carpet. Ingo Maurer’s Spring lamp — the same one seen in the 1969 French film La Piscine, Alex points out — is in the foreground.

These Brothers Designed Their Home With Tolstoy in Mind