Old Meets New in Workstead’s Brooklyn Interiors

A peek at the rising portfolio of the layout studio Workstead reveals an encouraged fusing of the modern and conventional, realized as a result of meticulous craftsmanship and soothing coloration palettes. The Gowanus-dependent company has produced a identify for by itself by combining present day finishes with historic facts in tasks ranging in scale from a Boerum Hill townhouse to a Park Slope condo complex fashioned out of a converted 1920s clubhouse.

The typical purpose for each individual task is to respect the historic aspects of a building’s interior and architecture although updating it as a result of a modern-day lens, said founding associate Stefanie Brechbuehler.

“We design and style a single-of-a-variety jobs that equilibrium natural beauty and requirement,” stated Brechbuehler, who fulfilled her partners, Ryan Mahoney and Robert Highsmith, at the Rhode Island School of Style and design.

workstead interior

A vintage chandelier in the variety of 3 stags hangs in the Prospect Park South library above a Neri&Hu sectional. The millwork is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Library Green

“We have been all skilled by the identical people today at RISD,” she explained. “One point that snuck up on us is how a great deal we revere heritage. We just want to restore the historical past to the greatest of our capacity and weave in some thing that is contemporary.”

The agency was launched by Brechbuehler and Highsmith in 2009. Mahoney joined a 12 months afterwards.

“Our extremely 1st challenge was someone inquiring us to renovate a kitchen area in a modest 1-bed room condominium,” she reported. “We were proper out of design and style school. We went again to fundamental thoughts, like ‘what is a cupboard?’”

From there, the team went on to structure properties and such large-profile lodge tasks as The Dewberry Charleston and Williamsburg’s Wythe Resort. The agency also established a lighting company that is primarily based in Hudson, N.Y.

Ten households designed by Workstead are featured in a new book, “Workstead: Interiors of Natural beauty and Necessity,” posted by Rizzoli in Oct. Its 3 Brooklyn initiatives incorporate a beautiful 6,500-square-foot household developed in Prospect Park South in 1905 by H.B. Moore.

workstead interior

In the Prospect Park South kitchen, an L-shaped get the job done location built from black locust wooden surrounds an island painted in Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green. “The previous kitchen area felt detached from the rest of the home,” Mahoney said. “It also lacked a gracious entry from the yard. We arrived up with a plan that opened the kitchen area up to the eating space, supplied a tiny breakfast nook in the sun, as very well as a mudroom leading to a generous staircase framing the backyard pool.”

“We required to celebrate the dwelling — convey it back again to its initial grandeur, sustain its quirkiness — while also earning it perform for a contemporary relatives,” Mahoney said. “Over the many years, sections of the dwelling had develop into chopped up. A lot of our get the job done was to carry the residence back with each other. We also labored closely with our consumers to guarantee the quirkiness of the household also mirrored their relatives.”

The Colonial Revival dwelling was in disrepair and needed a entire interior restoration. As very well as assisting to choose wallpapers and furnishings, the agency suggested on the swimming pool and an adjacent 13,000-square-foot garage with a glass doorway.

“It’s insane going to that residence because it is so spacious and warm,” Brechbuehler mentioned. “It’s by no means ending. Even just renovating that staircase was a enormous endeavor.”

workstead interior

The Prospect Park South major bed room wears pale eco-friendly wallpaper and a chandelier by Stephen Antonson. “We reworked the bedrooms on the 2nd flooring to generate a principal suite,” Mahoney said. “One lesser bedroom turned the principal tub, a compact closet turned the h2o closet, and an initial tub became the dressing room.”

In Boerum Hill, a townhouse owner who afterwards grew to become a repeat customer collaborated with Workstead to personalize an inside acquired from a developer.

“There’s some thing pretty lovely that transpires when the connection develops,” Brechbuehler reported. “It’s like a short relationship. This was a shopper with impeccable taste who loves the approach of design and style. He was really included in a way that not all customers are. He loves antiquing and integrating.”

In its place of holding the townhouse’s off-the-shelf developer kitchen area, the consumer questioned Workstead to design and style a new kitchen from scratch. The organization developed built-in handles for the beech cabinets that were being hand-planed into zig-zag designs. Every cabinet experienced to be the very same thickness at the prime and the very same thickness at the bottom, making the floor topographical.

workstead interior

The beech kitchen cabinets in a Boerum Hill townhouse have built-in handles that are hand-planed into zig-zag shapes. The counter tops are Pietra Cardosa

“The wedge variations, relying on how major the drawer is, building a sort of motion,” Brechbuehler explained. “We like policies, so at the commencing of any job, we give ourselves some unique policies and comply with these procedures from beginning to stop. It sets the tone for the job.”

In Park Slope’s triangular Rosario Candela making on Plaza Street, a couple employed Workstead to create storage and increase identity to their four-bed room apartment. The designers refaced the “perfectly fine” current kitchen area cupboards and painted the walls, moldings and millwork in a interesting gray by Farrow & Ball.

“The triangular flooring approach is wild. We decided to bathe the whole apartment in this 1 coloration to simplify almost everything and form of chill it out a minimal,” Brechbuehler claimed. “Sometimes, we truly feel like you can practically do a renovation just by portray.”

[Photos by Matthew Williams]

Editor’s take note: A model of this tale appeared in the Spring/Summer 2022 situation of Brownstoner journal.

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