In Brooklyn a Couple With Opposite Tastes Strikes the Balance

As a child in Virginia, Michael Brown collected bird nests, fleas, and installed insects and butterflies. By the age of 10, he had completed a Goofs glass vase – cold-painted jewelery from the early 20th century often given as a fair gift – and an old-fashioned eyeglass frame that he found on site.

Used for flea market gatherings. His first job at the age of 18 was designing windows in a Richmond Thalheimer department store, and on weekends he began collecting antique furniture and antiques, a habit he continued into his adulthood while working as an interior designer and retailer.

He works as an art director, rise. Wherever the treasure goes: 1920s lacquered Japanese sails, lives in Portland, Ore. Sun-bleached turtle shell from Maine vacation. When the 59-year-old woman found her current home in 2013, a top-floor, 1,000-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment on brown bricks in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stewesant neighborhood, she needed a 20-foot truck to pick up the items she needed. he bought. ‘d collected. he had to carry it. “I want to be one of those people who can buy something, live with it, throw it away, and move on,” he said. “But I can’t.”

A few weeks after Brown moved in, the apartment was almost unrecognizable. It is crafted from the well-preserved details of a 19th century building. But he has repainted the walls to create an atmospheric backdrop for the objects.

In the living room, whose wide alcove windows overlook the sea of ​​wild gardens to the south, she chooses a reddish hue that ripens into a pink shell at dusk; For a compact jewelry library, dark Prussian blue; And a soothing beige tones for the large bedroom, whose windows overlook a tranquil tree-lined street.

Its richness is demonstrated in a dense and ever-expanding setting, in a beautiful Renaissance space that ignores traditional differences in value or origin for the sake of pleasure. Hanging on the wall of the small kitchen in the living room style kitchen –

a modern idea in the west wing of the apartment after the house was converted into an apartment in 2011 – are various food pictures that Brown has captured over the years (including a close-up) – British photographer from Martin Parrs English Breakfast), a small rack of brown and white tableware from the 1880s for transfers and vintage Japanese sake cups.

The living room, an oak cabin built in 1890, now houses fruit and vegetable crepe paper purchased from Tale of the Yak, a popular gift shop in Berkeley, California. And there are ancient taxidermy birds everywhere. : Quail, sparrow, two jays, red woodpecker and, surrounded by a high glass dome, yellow canary.

“He was probably scared when he first arrived,” Brown told his partner Du Pham, a 34-year-old Vietnamese-born graphic designer who lived in rented apartments before living in Canada for 10 years. in New York. When he moved to Brown in 2018, he brought with him little more than a collection of art books, some of which,

to Brown’s horror, had thrown away their dust jackets. But Pham’s work and travel history have also taught him to adapt. “I use what I give,” he said. “For me, this is much more interesting than being an empty alley.” So he and Brown embarked on an ongoing process of integrating their seemingly inconsistent vision of what a home was – a useful emergency room; A private museum – in a space where both feel inspired.

First, they bought together some essential items that would give an old world an ornate feel. In each room, the couple put up Isamu Noguchi paper labels of various sizes, crisp white motifs offset by dark brown wood furnishings, including a pair of blue armchairs from the 1940s.

and covered with strips of brown velvet by Scalamandre. One day, while walking in lower east New York, they came across a gallery by Japanese artist Kazuko Miyamoto and purchased a model of a balsa tree, an irregular white cube he had made for one of Sol Levitt’s minimalist sculptures. While he served as his assistant – which is now hanging on the living room wall. He recently imported a 1960s Dieter Rams sofa from Amsterdam, a modular fiberglass base that contrasts the faded ocher with the colorful rug on which it stands.

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