Before & After: A Traditional Brooklyn Brownstone Receives a Chic Makeover Inside and Out

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By Anna Squier
Stewart-Schafer transforms a 1901 Brooklyn brownstone into a stylish, contemporary, and light-filled dwelling.

Design duo James Veal and Christine Stucker, co-principals of the architecture and design studio Stewart-Schafer, purchased this property in 2017 with the desire to gut renovate the entire residence and bring new life into the historic home. The result is a showcase of the couple's unique personal style, accented by midcentury modern and Scandinavian-inspired design elements that blend nicely with the traditional bones of the home.

Before: The Entryway

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The existing entryway compartmentalized the front room into small spaces.

The existing entryway compartmentalized the front room into small spaces.

After: The Entryway

What was once walled off as a enclosed entryway is now open to the living space, creating a grand, welcoming, and light-filled front room.

What was once walled off as a enclosed entryway is now open to the living space, creating a grand, welcoming, and light-filled front room.

The renovation updates the traditional home with contemporary touches to create a residence full of simplicity, beauty, and functionality. Stewart-Schafer filled the interior with furnishings by renowned brands to give the home a clean, timeless aura. The team emphasized daylighting to transform the spaces into bright, light-filled retreats

Before: The Living Room

The existing front room and living space had great historic details, including the original fireplace, but desperately needed a facelift.

The existing front room and living space had great historic details, including the original fireplace, but desperately needed a facelift.

After: The Living Room

The home's furnishings and decor reflect the couple's personal style, with a blend of midcentury modern and Scandinavian-inspired pieces.

The home's furnishings and decor reflect the couple's personal style, with a blend of midcentury modern and Scandinavian-inspired pieces.

The designers were able to retain the existing fireplace, making it a beautiful centerpiece of the living room.  They painted the existing brick white, providing a neutral backdrop to the eclectic art collection and custom chandelier.

The designers were able to retain the existing fireplace, making it a beautiful centerpiece of the living room. They painted the existing brick white, providing a neutral backdrop to the eclectic art collection and custom chandelier.

Before: The Kitchen

The kitchen cabinets were relatively new and in decent shape.  The designers were able to keep the cabinets and appliances, providing finish updates elsewhere to help elevate the kitchen to a contemporary space.

The kitchen cabinets were relatively new and in decent shape. The designers were able to keep the cabinets and appliances, providing finish updates elsewhere to help elevate the kitchen to a contemporary space.

The existing kitchen had great, tall windows—but it lacked any sort of design.

The existing kitchen had great, tall windows—but it lacked any sort of design.

After: The Kitchen

By painting the cabinets and installing a white tile backsplash, the designers were able to transform the kitchen into a modern cooking space without redoing the layout or the flooring.

By painting the cabinets and installing a white tile backsplash, the designers were able to transform the kitchen into a modern cooking space without redoing the layout or the flooring.

Custom built-in wood shelves provide a unique storage solution and a stylish design element in the kitchen.

Custom built-in wood shelves provide a unique storage solution and a stylish design element in the kitchen.

The designers refinished all the flooring, created custom light fixtures, and installed custom millwork throughout the home. Functional revisions blend with aesthetic updates and clean, crisp white interiors.

Shop the Look
Vintage French Oyster Basket
Vintage French Oyster Basket
Straight From The Sea. We like to collect things for our home that have a story and a history. This vintage French oyster basket was used on the coast of France to grow oysters in the sea beds.
Threshold Worn Stripe Black Outdoor Rug
Threshold Worn Stripe Black Outdoor Rug
Add a bold accent to your patio or deck with the Outdoor Rug from Threshold™. With classic black and white stripes, this outdoor area rug easily pairs with your existing decor and enhances the look of your space.
Halston Mugs
Halston Mugs
Your morning coffee should be anything but routine.




Before: The Master Bathroom

The existing master bathroom was outdated, cramped, and lacked functionality. 

The existing master bathroom was outdated, cramped, and lacked functionality. 

The designers kept the existing clawfoot tub for use in the new design.

The designers kept the existing clawfoot tub for use in the new design.

After: The Master Bathroom

Colorful, patterned tile provides the perfect backdrop for the revamped clawfoot tub. Stewart-Schafer added new plumbing fixtures to make the tub double as a shower.

Colorful, patterned tile provides the perfect backdrop for the revamped clawfoot tub. Stewart-Schafer added new plumbing fixtures to make the tub double as a shower.

Before: The Backyard

A peek at the existing, run-down backyard, which lacked space for play or entertainment. 

A peek at the existing, run-down backyard, which lacked space for play or entertainment. 

After: The Backyard

Multiple seating areas extend the livable area of the home outside, providing space for dining, socializing, and play.

Multiple seating areas extend the livable area of the home outside, providing space for dining, socializing, and play.

Not only does the backyard have colorful seating and a fire pit, but there is even an outdoor shower hidden by a wood slat fence.

Not only does the backyard have colorful seating and a fire pit, but there is even an outdoor shower hidden by a wood slat fence.

An outdoor dining space is the perfect place to entertain and socialize with friends and family.

An outdoor dining space is the perfect place to entertain and socialize with friends and family.

The renovations extend to the backyard space, increasing the livable footprint and providing a secluded, outdoor oasis in a urban neighborhood.

After: The Staircase

Stewart-Schafer finished the existing staircase and railings by hand.  All of the spindles are painted black to give the traditional formwork a modern aesthetic.

Stewart-Schafer finished the existing staircase and railings by hand. All of the spindles are painted black to give the traditional formwork a modern aesthetic.

The revamped staircase blends traditional and modern.

The revamped staircase blends traditional and modern.

After: The Master Bedroom

The master bedroom retains the original character of the home by maintaining the exposed brick, creating the illusion of a headboard.

The master bedroom retains the original character of the home by maintaining the exposed brick, creating the illusion of a headboard.

Large windows draw plentiful daylight into the master bedroom.

Large windows draw plentiful daylight into the master bedroom.

New built-ins provide additional storage.

New built-ins provide additional storage.

After: The Kid's Room

Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and a midcentury modern mobile create a stylish kid's room.

Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and a midcentury modern mobile create a stylish kid's room.

The playroom mixes contemporary design with playfulness.

The playroom mixes contemporary design with playfulness.

Custom built-in wood shelving adorns the playroom, providing a unique way to display books and toys.

Custom built-in wood shelving adorns the playroom, providing a unique way to display books and toys.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record, Interior Design: Stewart-Schafer / @stewartschafer

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