From a converted factory in Gowanus to a designer’s own apartment on the Upper East Side
Curbed’sCurbed’s weekly original home tours series, House Calls, takes you inside homes with eye-catching style and big personality—from modern tiny homes to pedigreed gems and everything in between.
Here, we’ve gathered 10 of our home tours, from a renovation 47 (!) years in the making on the Upper West Side to a Brooklyn-based creative director’s uproariously colorful apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Feast your eyes.
When it comes to New York City apartments, die-hard commitment isn’t always on the table: Roommates move in and out, new partners arrive, babies are born, or animals are taken in—not to mention the vagaries of changing salaries, new transportation needs, and gentrification. There can also be pressure to steadily seek out the next big thing: more square footage, a washer-dryer inunit, more light.
So when Nozlee Samadzadeh and Jarrett Moran moved into their 400-square-foot studio in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood in 2010, they weren’t quite planning to stay for the next eight years plus. It just happened.
Five decades is a long time to call anywhere home—whether that’s a city, a house, or an apartment. But New York City has a way of making days feel like hours and years feel like months; all of a sudden, the buildings across the street seem new (they probably are), the restaurants may have switched ownership (definitely), and the soles on those once-new shoes have worn out.
For prolific award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan (whose latest work, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook was published last month by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a chance encounter led to the Upper West Side apartment that has anchored her and her husband, Michael, in the city over the past 47 years.
When Alyse Archer-Coité returned to Brooklyn from Berlin in late 2015, she did the reasonable thing and found an apartment near her new job in the borough’s Greenpoint neighborhood.
A position as a director at A/D/O, which bills itself as a “space for creative exchange” for artists and designers, had brought her to the area, which has a mixed architectural fabric that’s two-parts industrial, one-part residential. It was a change of pace—and somewhat of a hike—from her previous neighborhood, Fort Greene.
The story of Dan Pelosi’s character- and color-filled Brooklyn home is an example of why it’s wise to never say never.
The creative director had arrived in New York City several years ago and, in a stroke of luck, landed a place in the West Village that was so sweet, he swore that’s where he’d stay. Only one thing could get him to uproot himself: The promise of a dining room table.
“I swore I’d never leave,” Pelosi says. “But then, I saw a photo of a beautiful Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment posted by a friend on Facebook, and suddenly I was asking myself if I should move to Brooklyn.”
On one small street in Tribeca, where this three-story house stands, it still looks something like the 19th century.
But the changes this home has seen since it was constructed in 1828 are mind-boggling. When it was built the Revolutionary War had happened a mere 45 years before, and the Hudson River was just across the street (today, infill puts the water a couple of blocks away). A genteel family lived there initially, until the area became an wholesale produce market and the house was transformed into a spot where eggs and poultry were sold. In the 1960s the market moved, and vast swaths of homes in the neighborhood were demolished to make way for new development.
Of all the homes in New York City, perhaps there’s only one inspired by the late Quentin Crisp. That home belongs to bicoastal interior designer Tim Campbell, who had the great raconteur in mind when he crafted his Lower East Side apartment.
It could be argued that Crisp was a modern-day Oscar Wilde (Crisp was born eight years after Wilde died). Crisp was raised in staid suburban London, but his penchant for unconventionality in a buttoned-up era set him apart.
When designer Sarah Zames and her husband Jonathan remodeled their apartment, she broke some of her own rules. “I basically did a couple of things I tell my clients not to do,” she says.
Like many of the best architects and designers, Sarah always comes to the table ready. “For my clients, I am completely prepared, and I figure out as many of the details as I can beforehand,” she says. But when the table was her own, it was a different story.
“I did this project after hours, when I was done working for my clients,” Sarah says. “A lot of the design was executed on the fly, without drawings. That’s the opposite of how I usually work.” (Hear that cracking noise? It’s the sound of rule no. 1 breaking.)
Homes are the stages on which life happens, and designer Michael Yarinsky believes in treating them with care, attention, and affection.
For Yarinsky’s own home, in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, he focuses on natural light and the textures and colors of a wide palette of materials, creating a space that evolves as continuously as his practice.
“Designing space,” says Yarinsky, “is about… touching things, smelling things, and feeling the sun on your face.”
Tenements are the residential structures most symbolic of New York City’s Lower East Side, but on Grand Street, a stately six-story building with a lush interior courtyard stands apart from the masses. Its curved archways bring to mind Art Deco detailing, stucco panels punctuate crimson brick, and an exterior fountain and landscaping feel plucked from posh gardens. Shuffle by on certain days and the corner feels reminiscent of prewar Europe.
That’s part of the charm that drew architect David Bench and producer Elizabeth Skadden to it back in 2014.
The couple also inherited close to 200 plants, mostly succulents and cactuses, from [Rachel] Johnston’s late father around the time that they moved into the apartment. [AJ] Pires notes that while they weren’t planning on the green additions, they’ve been a welcome presence, and even helped direct the color story of the interiors.
“When we started inheriting the plants and realized we were going to have a ton of green in the apartment, a lot of the other color ideas sort of faded away,” Johnston says, noting that the collection has thrived with the floor-to-ceiling windows. “We wanted to keep the palette more neutral so the plants could provide the color.” The commitment to a restrained color range can be seen in the couple’s bed linens and light fixtures, as well as touches like their daughter’s bed frame, their dining chairs, and the wall colors.
Like what you see? Check back here every month for more New York City home tours.