What's not to love about an old home? They have the charming detail you rarely see in new builds and, quite often, an interesting history. Design-wise, the only downside tends to be the floor plan, which can be quirky — or the result of myriad changes made by previous generations of homeowners. But when it came to this 150-year-old brownstone, located in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, designer expertly transformed the space while still maintaining character.
Before Martinez could work her decor magic, the home (which was was previously owned by Vogue's venerable creative director Grace Coddington) needed a few key changes. "We wanted to replace a steel spiral staircase with a new staircase, then add a bedroom and new bathroom to the bottom floor," Martinez says. "Before we started, the bottom level was all open. The new stair divided the living/kitchen area from the new master bedroom and the bathroom. We also added a new entry vestibule and opened up the kitchen."
The result was a light-filled space that presented more opportunities for decorating. Here's a look at the gorgeous home:
The living room is anchored by a marble fireplace. Note how Martinez leaned artwork on top of the mantel, which feels pleasantly informal. "I love the flexibility it provides and the looseness," she says. Wall-mounted shelving from floor to ceiling functions like an architectural element.
A stylish island divides the kitchen space from the living room. "Since the apartment is small, I felt that the island should look like a piece of furniture rather than a built-in that matches the kitchen," Martinez says.
Though these stairs were newly-added, they feel like they've always been part of the home.
The bedroom has a soothing palette grounded by dark floors.
Martinez added a storage wall to the master bedroom, which offers a place for clothes, but doesn't rob the room of much floor space.
The bathroom features stunning marble accents that are similar to the the fireplace and the kitchen backsplash.