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Passion Project

The couple behind an Instagram account that documents Brooklyn’s most beautiful brownstones renovates one of their own.

Photo: Bernadett Pava
Photo: Bernadett Pava

In 2014, Eve and Ilya began the hunt for a brownstone rental in Cobble Hill. They strolled the neighborhood after work, admiring the historic houses and dreaming that one day they’d find their own. Four months later, they landed an Italianate brownstone in Carroll Gardens complete with lots of period details. Living in that house inspired the duo to create the Instagram @brownstone_voyeur, a collection of photographs of other brownstone interiors across the city, from a six-bedroom, five-bathroom on Pierrepont to a herringbone-floored beauty in Prospect Heights. Some four years later, 2018, they decided to purchase a place of their own. Naturally, their years of immersion in the past made it impossible to consider a modern condo. Their search for a property in their price range revealed a trove of gorgeous historic houses, including the one they ultimately decided to call home: a 20th-century brownstone with a limestone façade in Bay Ridge (seen above).

The living room. Photo: Bernadett Pava

“It was in turnkey condition,” Eve says. “The woodwork had been very well preserved throughout the years.” The original stained glass in the living-room windows was in good shape, but the plaster crown moldings needed to be restored. “For the living room, we had a clear vision for what we wanted: a feminine aesthetic, like an Art Deco formal sitting room.” They worked with interior designer Megan Crawley to arrive at what they describe as “modern Victorian” style. The green velvet sofa and beige settee and ottoman are from Rove Concepts. The ceiling medallion and crown-molding plaster restoration was done by Nevado Plaster. The vintage Venini Murano crystal chandelier is ca. 1960.

The original cast-iron radiators were intact in every room. Here, in the living room, is a pink marble side table from CB2 with a handblown-glass sculpture by SkLO. The oil painting by Lino Lago above the sofa was commissioned for the space. The area rug is from Solo Rugs. Photo: Bernadett Pava
The dining room is resplendent with plenty of original woodwork, including the built-in china cabinets. The Eames dining chairs are by Herman Miller for Design Within Reach. The table is by Calligaris, and the paper light fixture is from Ikea. Photo: Bernadett Pava
The bedroom. Photo: Bernadett Pava

The bedroom posed a design challenge for the couple: One wanted a luxurious, cozy atmosphere, the other a more bohemian vibe. Crawley found something they could both agree on: Venetian plaster walls by Lynx in a material called shimmer stone, which infused the space with warmth. The gold and wood wall sconces are by Rejuvenation, and the bed is by BoConcept. The Matisse print above the bed is from the MoMA Design store, and the jute rug is from World Market. The mantel was found through an Instagram contact who had salvaged hundreds of antique marble mantels from New York brownstones. The over-mantle mirror is from Anthropologie.

Under the bedroom bay window is a vintage vanity table sourced from Chairish. The fringed slipper chair is from Pier 1 Imports. The perfect balance of the owners’ aesthetics, they say, has been matched. “In the morning, the sun hits the taupe wall treatment,” Eve says, “and gives off a warm glow. It’s now very hard to get out of bed.” Photo: Bernadett Pava

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A Passion Project for Two Brownstone Obsessives