24th January 2014

In my previous post I mused briefly on the meaning of luxury, and how the term can mean different things to different people. While this apartment in Brooklyn isn’t for sale or available to let, for me this space is a fitting partner to my last post as it showcases features that I’d consider ‘luxurious’: beautiful materials, and equally beautiful handcrafted detailing to create a home that feels ‘crafted’ while retaining a sense of simplicity.


I’ll be honest, I was smitten by this kitchen the first time I saw a photo posted on the brilliant Unhappy Hipsters Tumblr, so was delighted to discover the whole shoot featured on Dwell. This compact four bedroom duplex apartment sits on the top floor of a brick building in Brooklyn, and the interior was designed by Workstead. This was one of the company’s first home commissions and the clients (photographed) approached the design team with a brief that included a desire for colour (a feature in all their previous homes).

Workstead’s Stephanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith and their associate Ryan Mahoney responded with a mellow colour palette featuring mostly grey-painted walls and floors in stained ebony. The ‘colour’ is provided by the gorgeous slab of timber used on the kitchen island – all the bespoke timber detailing was made by craftsman Markus Bartenschlager – and by the use of brass detailing.


Now here’s a thing: if you’d told me a year ago that I’d be admiring (really admiring) brass finishes, I wouldn’t have believed you. For years brass has been associated with traditional (dare I say dated?) styling. But something has shifted aesthetically and brass has never looked more right. Tom Dixon has used the material to create must-have lighting – his Beat Lights are modern classics – along with sculptural bowls and vessels, and more recently he launched the six-piece Form tea set in spun brass. The roots of this collection may be in a bygone era but each piece feels gorgeously contemporary. Dixon is currently launching his latest range of brass home accessories based on cogs at the trade fair Maison&Objet.

And brass has been popping up on other blogs: special credit goes to Kate Watson-Smyth of Mad About The House who has a ‘thing’ about brass the way I have about copper. As a taster, check out Kate’s posts on brass vases and brass taps, where she also highlights this kitchen above.


So yes, brass is looking great again, and it’s looking fantastic here used as drawer pulls and switch plates, and forming the over-sized hood for the extractor, as well as the light fittings, which were also custom-made by Workstead. Interestingly, the kitchen tap started life as a chrome fitting before being stripped and re-plated to achieve the desired look, so it pays to think slightly outside the box when you’re sourcing fittings.

Special mention also goes to the bespoke wall of storage that’s built in under the staircase – again the work of Bartenschlager – which was hand-painted by a Brooklyn artist to create a subtle patina to the finish. It’s precisely this attention to detail that makes this space – and this home – really stand out. That, to me, is luxury. What does it mean to you?


Photography by Matthew Williams; see the feature on Dwell here.