The Minimalist Melting Pot

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After an extensive remodeling of their historic brownstone in Clinton Hill, Devon Turnbull and Kassandra Lao Pietri’s home now reflects their love of Danish and Japanese aesthetics. Above, in the kitchen, an extra large island makes it easy for dinner guests to join in the fun of preparing a meal. The couple’s architects, Emily Abruzzo and Gerald Bodziak, created a window wall of French doors leading to a terrace and stairs down to the garden.

The back of the brownstone was free of the landmark restrictions that applied to the front façade. Abruzzo and Bodziak used a custom-designed steel staircase off the kitchen terrace to lead to the garden. Happily, the neighboring building has a windowless brick wall to further privacy. Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
“The backyard Japanese-style garden was a four-way collaboration between landscape architect Marc Keane, Abruzzo Bodziak, Brook Landscape, and the clients,” Abruzzo says. Devon Turnbull, one of the founding members of the fashion collaboration Nom de Guerre, spent lots of time in Japan during his years working on the label. “I had an office in Tokyo and considered it my second home,” he says. Today he is designing custom speakers. Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
In the dining area of the kitchen on the parlor floor, the original floors were restored. The swing arm sconce is by Serge Mouille. The dining table and the sawbuck chair are designed by Hans Wegner and manufactured by Carl Hansen and Son. The white PK8 chairs are by Poul Kjaerholm, manufactured by Fritz Hansen. The bench was custom-designed by the architects. “The idea was that we were going to do insertions,” Abruzzo says, “sort of surgical insertions of modern moments.” Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
The living room features some of Turnbull’s collection of Danish furniture, including pieces by Poul Kjaerholm from original manufacturer E. Kold Christensen. Fritz Hansen carries many Danish designers today. The speakers by the windows are custom designs by Turnbull. The gilded framed mirror over the fireplace belonged to Turnbull’s father, who loved Victorian design. Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
The master bath is enveloped in Carrara marble tile from Waterworks. The sink is by Boffi, and the Ofuro tub is from Rapsel. Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
Turnbull has his studio on the third floor of the five-and-a-half-story brownstone; this is where he creates and tests his custom-designed hi-fi speakers. He and Lao Pietri rent out the garden apartment. The floor, seen here on the third floor, is new, and the original details of the window moldings have been restored. Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
The soaking tubs on the roof deck are accompanied by a similar-shaped planter (not shown), and the owners use them all the time. “When you are in those tubs,” Turnbull says, “the space becomes about as drastically minimal as can possibly be. It’s just one material, one color, and the tubs. You’re in this sort of gray box, and the sky becomes almost like a James Turrell art piece. The framed-in section of the sky is really cool.” Photo: Naho Kubota for Abruzzo Bodziak Architects
This Brownstone Renovation Is a Minimalist Melting Pot