– the transformation of a Brooklyn brownstone into a whimsical wonderland
Wildlife motifs and splashes of bright colour transformed this
dark Brooklyn townhouse into a whimsical wonderland.
Below: flora and fauna are dominant themes throughout the house, including this large statue of a deer and palm tree in
the living room.
Manhattan-based interior designer Fawn Galli, has created the perfect getaway from city life in her Brooklyn brownstone. After 15 years living it up as a hard-working party girl in the West Village, a pregnant Galli and her architect husband Julio Salcedo crossed the Brooklyn bridge just over a decade ago to set up home in the family-friendly neighbourhood of Carroll Gardens.
They purchased a 760 square metre, turn of the 20th century townhouse, which was painted red inside and was somewhat dark and dreary.
Galli immediately set about bringing light into the four-storey home with a quirky design aesthetic she describes as a mix of “70s disco, Alice in Wonderland and modern vintage”. Key to the look is Galli’s love of nature and her desire to include flora and fauna motifs throughout the home – including a life-size black fibreglass deer acquired at the Chelsea Flower Market, which stands proudly by the fireplace in the living room.
“The nice aspect of this townhouse is the front garden,” says Galli, while discussing her affection for her home. “I feel like there’s a real kind of restful moment from the streets and the craziness of New York City as soon as I enter the garden.”
The influence of the garden is evident throughout the house, thanks to Galli’s vibrant colour palette of bright green and hot pink. “I love colour and a sense of animal life and fantasy, which I wanted to incorporate into the interiors,” she explains.
Galli, her husband and sons, Gaspar and Laszlo, occupy a duplex over the two lower floors of the brownstone and rent out the upper floors. The main floor contains the living room, dining room, kitchen and powder room, while the bedrooms and
Below: an acrylic chandelier hovers above the white marble Saarinen Tulip table, the chairs are vintage white leather, the walnut bookshelves were custom-made.
bathroom are all on the lower floor at garden level.
The couple kept renovations to a minimum, instead choosing to open up the space with colour and clever design tricks. “With most townhouses there’s an issue with light,” says Galli. “So I used some metallic wallpaper to reflect the light from outside, because brownstones can be very dark places to live.”
In the living room, two pieces of Roy Lichtenstein wallpaper hang in frames by the window, surrounded by the silver metallic Florence Broadhurst wallpaper. Together with a white leather Natuzzi sofa adorned with colourful cushions, the art adds a disco vibe to the space. Either side of the sofa sit matching table lamps, which Galli found in a store on the Lower East Side, and above it hangs a cuckoo clock she bought in SoHo.
Galli used green curtains (custom-made for her from Laotian
Above: a picture by New York artist Meghan Boody hangs above the fireplace in the dining room, Galli’s favourite space in the house.
fabric), a chair upholstered in vibrant green velvet, a single potted palm tree and, of course, the fibreglass deer, to bring the all-important sense of nature into the room.
“I think it brings height to a living space and gives it a kind of tropical flourish,” she says of the tree, “and I really love to use animals because I grew up in the countryside. I love animals in the interior. I feel like it gives it this kind of other-worldly ambiance.”
This ‘other-wordly’ feel continues throughout the house where you find floral wallpaper with matching curtains, a gold ornamental rabbit by Paul Smith displayed alongside a bright pink rabbit on a marble mantelpiece, and ceramic birds dotted all around.
Downstairs, a door leads from the garden into the hallway off which the bedrooms are located.
The couple had a door put into the master bedroom to give them direct access to the garden and create a constant loop to the outdoors.
“Walk straight down the hallway and there’s the master bedroom with a walk-in closet and doors that bring you out to the garden again,” says Galli, highlighting how the layout of the house embraces its surroundings.
A bright orange mohair headboard on the kingsize bed brings warmth into the master bedroom, while curtains and wallpaper from Scottish company Timorous Beasties surprise with their large images of iguanas, birds, and other flora and fauna.
I really love to use animals because I grew up in the countryside. I feel like it gives it this kind of other-worldly
Above: the couple had a door added to the master bedroom to give them direct access to the garden, the orange mohair headboard was custommade, the Iguana wallpaper is by Timorous Beasties. Below left: a green rug from Star Carpet and ceramic parrot lamp from Roost continue the
nature theme. Below right: the bathroom features white subway tiles and bird wallpaper from Stark.
White ceramic parrot lamps sit on each of the bedside tables.
When not enjoying the wonderland she has created in her home, Galli does residential and commercial work in New
York City, Connecticut, and the Hamptons. Asked to choose a favourite spot in the house, she says she spends a lot of time with her family in the dining room, which is connected to the kitchen via a long pass.
An acrylic chandelier hangs low over a white marble-topped Saarinen Tulip table, which is surrounded by four vintage white leather chairs. Custom-made floor-to-ceiling walnut bookshelves loaded with the family’s books line one wall. “The children do their homework there and we share meals there,” she says of the room. “In the warmer months, we like to have friends over for barbecues on the terrace off the kitchen.”
Then, of course, there is the garden, where Galli and Salcedo like to drink their morning coffee when the weather allows and where the children play to the sound of birds in the trees and the hum of New York City in the distance.
Below: a palette of bright green and hot pink reflects Galli’s love of colour. Right: the white leather sofa and framed Roy Lichtenstein wallpaper add a 70s disco vibe to the room.