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Brooklyn: A Full Circle
26 June 2010,
The simple clean palette and delicate design, this stunning Brooklyn home illustrates how talent and precision creates a serene retreat.
In this case, two is definitely better than one. Nestled in Brooklyn, the two gems that I am talking about are they are designers from The Brooklyn Home Company, which is a family run development that has created custom homes in Park Slope and Fort Greene in Brooklyn – Fitzhugh Karol- a sculptor and woodworker and Lyndsay Caleo- a jewelry designer and goldsmith. The construction process took three years to complete. Not only do they draw and design the overall look, believe it or not, even the furniture is hand crafted from reclaimed wood. “And one of the joys of our house is that it will never be ‘done’”.
Fitzhugh, that you are Toshiko Takaezu’s apprentice – how has lessons with her assisted in woodwork and sculpting?
After college I was apprentice to Toshiko Takaezu and lived and worked with her at her home in New Jersey. The experience that I gained working with her, tending the garden and learning new ways of thinking has really shaped a lot of the way I work and see my work. .
Lindsay, how much has your background as a jewelry designer and goldsmith influenced the concept of the home?
I grew up in upstate NY, in the town of Pittsford and spent most of my youth on a friends’ farm. In our projects, I’m trying to get back to the feeling of being back on that farm! I studied ceramics in undergrad before I turned to making jewellery. Designing jewellery and designing interior spaces is actually a very similar process, for me they are each about creating systems- just on different scales.
What would be the concept of your home?
It was really all about creating a departure. We both grew up in the country and we designed the house to be an escape from the city. We designed the layout based on our needs, how we lived and what we had. Our design philosophy involves playing with the balance between new and old. We mix architectural elements that were created 100 years ago with furniture we make, natural elements and modern designs.
Where there any difficulties that you encountered during the process of putting the home together? Or even getting the place for that matter?
I would say the most difficult part was the fact that this house project was the biggest construction project we’d ever been involved with. We knew we were taking a risk in doing this project and becoming comfortable with the process was a learning experience. There were many physical issues we encountered with the house – too many to count. Our persistence in making all the details just right was what ended up winning out in the end. That continues to be one of the keys to success in architectural design.
We are really impressed with the way the two of you put all these amazing pieces together. Can you give us some tips for doing this ourselves? What are some of the pitfalls?
Take risks. Trust your emotions. Don’t be afraid of doing something that seems bigger than you’re used to. Doing a project like these forces you to overcome challenges – when a problem or situation arise you have to address it because if you don’t things won’t get done.