“Anna was familiar with our work and had a similar affinity for brownstones,” says Jordan Slocum, the other half of the decorating duo, who specializes in bringing modern home design to classic brownstones. “They knew the house needed a lot of work and asked us to renovate the space with them. We were so excited to create a fresh design that revolved around the existing molding and ornate plasterwork.”
But first Barry and Jordan had to deal with two massive challenges that always come with renovating old homes: small, weird converted spaces and a lack of natural light. “No matter how stunning the existing structure is, we always end up problem-solving to get more light inside the home,” says Jordan. Part of the issue is city living—light is blocked by other buildings or scaffolding from ongoing construction projects—so that’s why light and bright paint colors come in handy.
Here’s how Jordan and Barry used three colors from Clare to bring an open and airy quality to create a traditional-meets-modern home design for Anna and her family.
The Primary Suite: Creating a Zen Haven
Like any busy working parents, Anna and her husband wanted their primary bedroom to be a place where they could shut it all down and relax. “The room is designed enough to feel elevated and put together, while still leaving space to let the design evolve over time as their tastes and needs change,” says Jordan. “There’s nothing that would limit changes in the future.”
To keep the space bright, they installed white oak flooring that helped reflect the natural light coming into the room. The next step was adding color without going too dark or too bold. “We knew the color Anna would pick before we even showed her. She immediately chose Chill. Not only is the name appropriate, but it’s a beautiful color we loved more as we started painting,” says Jordan. “We were originally going to do an accent wall, but kept going to the walls, then the doors and finally the trim.”
Since Chill features rich undertones of blue and green, it gave Anna the modern home design flexibility she craved. Colors like white, dark blues, or dark greens could dramatically change the entire look of the room. The addition of natural wood-toned furniture, a custom millwork HVAC cover and open shelving help bring warmth to the space, while trim detail on the wall adds dimension to the paint color.
The Nursery: Designing a Space that Can Grow
The nursery was one place where the quaint tucked-away bonus rooms of a brownstone come in handy. This sweet flex space is adjacent to the primary bedroom, which makes it especially easy if the baby gets restless during the middle of the night.
“Our goal for the room’s design was masculine, yet whimsical,” says Jordan. “It’s a room that he can use when he’s younger but our choices allow the room to evolve with him through the years.” They used a deep gray-blue on the walls, Set In Stone, which feels accessible and versatile and complements the modern home design.
By investing in quality paint, beautiful Scandinavian-inspired wood furniture and a white boucle rocker, the rest of the room can change with his interests. Barry and Jordan also focused on practical elements, like tasteful blackout curtains, which any parent will tell you are key to high-quality baby sleep.
The Yoga Room: Fashioning an Alternative to the Home Office
Perhaps one of the trickiest rooms to choose a color for, Anna finally decided on Rain Check for her yoga studio. “When we were looking at the plans, she always said that she’d love to have a yoga space to do her workouts,” says Jordan. “This is her version of a home office and we wanted to support her and the way she lives in her home. We never want the spaces we design to feel like a showroom, we always want to make our clients feel at home.”
The paint gave this room focus. It’s gray, but the beautiful green undertones reflect her personality and give the room versatility. Plus, the nature-inspired paint color feels as soothing as rain or any other natural element, which resonates with her yoga practice.
“When we first showed Anna the color, we saw her eyes light up. Just like the bedroom, this is a room that has plenty of space for her to grow into,” says Jordan. “The minimal design and spare furniture allow her to go in and focus on her practice. We never overdesign, we want to give people room to evolve. We want people to truly live in their spaces and then adjust them accordingly.”