Brooklyn brownstones, like West Village brownstones have some mysterious quality. There are many in a block’s stretch and although the facade may be of many varied styles- (Italianates are prevalent in Brooklyn) I have always wondered about the many ways a long and narrow building can be designed.

My six years in New York, as a student and a design professional, always makes me curious about what those brownstones might look in the inside. It always happens to me that as I walk along Waverly Place or Bleecker Street, even along the perimeter of Gramercy Park. Especially at night, on a balmy day, a good long and easy walk a wee peek into brownstones with drawn drapes or shades is my idea of pleasure. The facade is a fragment of the entire space. And what an inviting piece it is- even if that fragment of a peek was a bookshelf, a sculpture, a floral arrangement, a desk and the usual furniture &/0r fixtures we always love to position by the light from a window. The guessing of what is beyond feeds my imagination as I walk all the way home.

I have not had many opportunities for a Brooklyn “excursion” hence this Architectural Digest article on jeweler Ippolita Rostagno’s brownstone in Brooklyn was a pleasure to read- this time enjoying a glass of Chateaneuf du Pape and not walking hurriedly between subway rides.

This wooden staircase I would have kept though. They replaced it with a black iron staircase- which looks clean and modern; but in my opinion takes away from the character and age of this building. It gave it a loft-y feel which the space is not.

But many of design decisions are a product of the homeowner’s aesthetics. Ippolita’s jewelry, see here, can be described as modern, solid and straightforward. Then I understood why the wooden staircase had to go.

The addition of a home office is today’s cool thing. Many years ago, its equivalent would be the open kitchen with a huge island. All an element that enhances lifestyle. Who doesn’t work at home these days ? It seems from my recent projects that more people work at home than cook at home.

Brownstones like most building facades are like book covers: most often the content can surprise.

All Photographs courtesy of Architectural Digest, November 2014 issue.