home tour: a 1900s brownstone in harlem

02_LIVING_roomso, i stumbled across this beautiful brownstone on design*sponge a week or so ago and immediately pinned the crap out of it so that i would a) remember to write about it and b) save the inspiration for the day that pigs fly (also known as the day i too can afford a 1900s brownstone, well, ANYWHERE). i have long loved the home tours on DS; grace and her team have an incredible eye – but this one really took the cake. something about all those prewar details (SWOON!) and that INSANE FIREPLACE (hello, gorgeous!) had me having a pre-menopausal hot flash.

i mean, would you look at that light?! those windows? that exposed brick? THESE PEOPLE EVEN HAVE A WINDOW SEAT – something us average peasant folk can only dream of. while the living room design is a bit modern for my taste, i can’t help but fall in love with the entire space. i would move in yesterday if i could.

let’s see a bit more of the space, shall we? that, below, my friends, is a FIREPLACE. like, a real, true, working, santa claus could come down it if he wanted to FIREPLACE. and it’s original hardwood. my heart palpates just looking at it. fireplaces, along with washers and dryers, are on the list of things new yorkers acquire when they know they’ve “made it.” you know how they say in the suburbs that you’ve “made it” one you have a garage? well, we don’t need garages here because we use our own two legs to get around (TAKE THAT, SUBURBIA!//it’s a hard knock life for us city dwellers), but what we do need, and want, more than anything in the world, is a washer dryer unit in our very own apartment, and then, after that, closet space and a fireplace.


point being, these homeowners have made it. clearly. i really can’t get over the original detailing on this beautiful mantle. i tend to be more of a painted wood gal myself, but this just screams historical and important and “DON’T YOU DARE PAINT OVER ME!” okay, fireplace. i hear you.


more beautiful original woodwork, this time on the front door to the home. and would you believe that bookcase is a bunch of ikea expedits stacked together? yeah, me neither, but apparently, that’s the case. i always wish i could be one of those ikea hack geniuses, but every time i attempt to even put a piece of ikea furniture together, i fail miserably. alas, i guess that’s why god invented guy friends who i can bribe with cookies.

08_DINING_tableanother angle of the living/dining room. can we talk about that otomi/saarinen/persian rug situation? heart palpitations, yet again. this room achieves that effortlessly cool, bohemian layered look that so many strive for (and fail to achieve, might i add). it’s simply yet stunning, comfortable yet stylish, and doesn’t even carry a hint of “trying too hard.” color me impressed, there’s a table in here for four. (pretty woman, anyone?)


a close up of that amazing otomi. according to design*sponge, the owner found it “hanging behind the table in the dusty back room of an antique store for a steal.” GIRL, what antique stories are you frequently, and can i come along?


let’s talk about this bathroom. simple, yes, but also oh so clean and serene. give me subway tile or give me death, i say. i know it’s played out and i know it’s everywhere, but it’s so classic and beautiful that i still can’t get enough. and when you’re stuck in a rental apartment whose bathroom contains floor to ceiling pinkish beige marble (i just threw up a little bit in my mouth as i typed that), you start to daydream about white subway tile and all the things you’d be able to do if you lived in a clean white bathroom.

ps: as a certified CCL (crazy cat lady) myself, i can’t NOT mention that painting above. there’s something about really weird art that’s so magical and transfixing, and this piece is no exception to that rule. on her own, the woman might be a little bit strange, but add the cat to the picture and VOILA, you’ve got straight up wacky. i love it, i want it for my own. oh wait, i can’t hang it in my all marble bathroom. a true champagne problem.


last but most certainly not least, the bedroom. small but perfect, there’s even more amazing woodwork in here. my very first apartment in new york (which was more of a $1300/month closet than it was a home, but that’s neither here nor there) contained those same over the closet storage cabinets, and let me tell you, when you’re living in a teeny tiny bedroom, those babies come in handy. out of season clothing, suitcases, all the random stuff you can’t stash under the bed – it goes in those cabinets. at least here, they’re an excuse to highlight those incredible reclaimed wood shutters, which makes the fact that you likely have to stand on a ladder to reach them a little less annoying.


if i lived in this room, i’d never leave this bed. there’s just something about crisp white linens that makes you feel like just about anything is possible. george clooney by your side come morning? in a white bed, YOU BET.

okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what i mean. crisp white just never gets old. so, there you have it:  the latest home to inspire some incredible “can i live here” jealousy. harlem might be hella far uptown, but if this is what home looks like on the upper upper west side, count me in.



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