Life is a journey and for many of us, our homes are reflections of where we have been and what we have learned along the way. We celebrate our experiences by surrounding ourselves with meaningful treasures that fill our souls. Brooklyn-based designer Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo of LBR Home, has spent much of her life’s journey traveling the world and her eclectic, globally-inspired Brooklyn apartment is a testament to how these travels have influenced her life.
The 1890’s era brownstone was renovated from a single family home to co-ops in the 1980’s and her penthouse level apartment was added. Laurie describes the story behind her recent renovations:
“I had been living here for a few years, when I met the love of my life! Shortly thereafter we got married. After much discussion, we decided to keep the apartment and create our love nest/sanctuary in here instead of buying new one. We loved the neighborhood and the wall of windows – it stole our hearts.
“Our apartment naturally exudes charm and inherently had the ‘wow’ factor due to all of the windows, and skylights allowing the natural light to flood the apartment. However, it needed some design love to accentuate its good bones and bring it up to my design standards. In order to create our dream home, I needed to instill a more modern, fresh vibe.”
The apartment’s open floor plan was a plus, so Laurie capitalized on the loft-like feeling in her design choices.
“Simple-lined furniture (and dog friendly!) was a must, along with an airy, soothing palette of several hues from the gray scale, rich wood tones and pops of color. Choosing a color palette that transcends the space without being the same for each room was key.”
Once the basics were decided upon, Laurie’s world travels (she has visited more than 40 countries) were the inspiration for the home’s furnishings.
As a passionate traveler and designer, my goal was to weave pieces from countries I’ve visited into an overall design scheme without looking cluttered. I am as equally inspired by the Danish Modern aesthetic as I am to the quirky eclectic details of Indian design. Bringing them together is a great challenge and the contrast is elegant and full of personality. Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo
Large Artwork: Jasper Johns c1972, signed print | Two smaller works: Rocco Ungaro, Puglia, Italy
“We entertain quite often, so the dining area needed to be both glamorous and functional. The design was influenced by a recent trip to Copenhagen. I visited the Hans Wegner store and the Design Museum, and both blew my mind. It was clear my dining chairs would be Danish modern. The classic, casual and cool lines are works of art. I chose custom Boffi chairs to soften the lines of the space and serve as a contrast to the Hans Wegner chairs. I love the energy and texture of cerused wood, so the table was custom made and the perfect piece to bring in the glam. Every room needs a little sparkle; the Cellula chandelier was a natural choice.”
“The kitchen is all for my husband. He’s an incredible chef and does all the cooking for us. Lucky me! I wanted the kitchen to have an industrial look while at the same time blending into the apartment. The stainless steel shelving system was custom made, and we painted the cabinets Purbeck Stone, a high gloss from Farrow and Ball. It’s everything an urban home chef could want all in a fairly compact space.”
Sofa: Bo Concept | Glass Waterfall Console: allmodern.com | Black and White Artwork: Christine Dalenta and Benjamin Parker | Paint Color: Silver Satin and Steel Wool by Benjamin Moore
“The living room design is a confluence of all of our travels. I wanted to maintain the open floor plan and clean lines, but also it needed to be eclectic and showcase a well-curated collection of pieces from my travels. We chose a dark gray accent wall to ground the space, allowing the wood-burning stove to look sophisticated and integrated.
“The African mask and sandstone sculpture are from a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. The turquoise bowl is from our honeymoon trip to Santorini. The orange Burmese lacquer Hsun-ok offering bowl is from a trip to Myanmar. “
“The bronze Shiva statue is from India Mart, a boutique in Kochi, South India.”
Wall covering: Casamance | Chandelier: Kenneth Cobonpue | Sconces: FLOS | Bedding: Second Floor Studio and Shades of India
“The bedroom décor was influenced by my trips to India. The colors, textures and bling of India are romantic, soft and vibrant, all at the same time. I use two boutiques as my go-to for Indian bedding. The one I use most often is Second Floor Studio owned by a dear friend of mine, Punit Jasuja. The Ikat wallpaper came to be through the suggestion of an interior designer friend, Julia Mack.”
“The master bathroom needed a major renovation and re-design. I did a lot to change the overall flow of the space, including raising the ceiling almost a foot, and ripping out the tub to create a shower for two with double heads. It’s both romantic and functional.
“Design-wise, I wanted to do something wild! I was inspired by a trip to Ostuni, Italy. La Sommita, a boutique hotel where we stayed had exquisite marble bathrooms. The colors and striations of our Italian marble were so unique yet easily worked with the palette within the rest of the apartment.
“I chose un-lacquered brass fittings by Newport Brass. Neutral tiles by Porcelanosa for the floor and custom paint to match them and minimize the amount of contrast while keeping the design lines clean. I chose reclaimed wood in a hue similar to the marble for a custom shelving system. It’s a perfect organic and soft contrast to the marble.”
“My husband and I feel like we live in a tree house! We are on the top floor with expansive views of both Brooklyn treetops and majestic Manhattan. I brought the outside in with my collection of plants and they love all of the direct sunlight.”
Travel is the most powerful influence in my design. I use each of my trips as inspiration. The colors, materials, and exotic nature of each location bring such rich and layered feeling to interior design. On my travels, I work to create and foster relationships with local boutique owners for future design projects. Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo