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Thread: Beautiful apartment in Brooklyn brownstone

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Default Beautiful apartment in Brooklyn brownstone

    Tour a Highly Creative Couple’s Low-Key Brooklyn Home


    Designers Max Zinser and Julian Louie took their time curating the interiors of a parlor-floor 1930s brownstone apartment
    By Catherine Hong

    Photography by Adrian Gaut

    Styled by Colin King


    October 30, 2019








    Over the past few years Max Zinser has built a reputation as a guy with a feel for the zeitgeist, a designer whose stage sets, pop-up shops, and retail stores grab your attention with full force. For a Raf Simons runway show, he created a set oozing with decadence, featuring overturned wine bottles and piles of ripe fruit. For a Goop shop in Montecito, California, he painted the walls high-gloss periwinkle, resulting in a space practically pulsating with good vibes. Meanwhile, for cult beauty brand Glossier’s SoHo shop, he sparked an Instagram sensation using pink carpet and yards of magenta curtain. “New and fresh are what clients most often ask me for,” says Zinser.


    When it came to furnishing his own home, however, “new and fresh” were the last things from his mind. Located on the parlor floor of a 1930s brownstone in Brooklyn, the apartment that he shares with his boyfriend, fashion designer Julian Louie, has the quiet, eclectic feel of a home thoughtfully assembled over time. The soaring 13-foot ceilings, white plaster walls with moldings, and well-worn parquet floor provide a classic backdrop to furniture and objects that feel more personal than branded; more collected than one-clicked. “We don’t even feel like we ‘decorated’ this apartment,” says Zinser, who recently exited KMZ NYC, the company he cofounded in 2017, to start his own solo studio, ZINSER. “It was about letting the architecture speak for itself and filling the space with the things we love.”


    A Willy Vanderperre print hangs above a midcentury partners desk that the couple found at Holler & Squall in Brooklyn. The chair is Jean Prouvé and the ceramics (on the floor and on the desk) are by Louie’s late grandfather, Norman Hoberman.


    Louie trained as an architect before switching to fashion design and served as an equal partner in the low-key decorating process. As he explains, one of the activities the couple have always enjoyed together is mooning over beautiful furniture and art—whether at the Chelsea flea market, the vintage furniture shops of Hudson, New York, or their favorite downtown dealers. “We realized pretty early on that we are attracted to similar objects,” he says. “We both like unique things with soul and personality. And we love that sense of discovery in finding them.”

    Indeed, their home is short on anything shiny, new, or instantly recognizable. The living room is anchored by a showstopping marble mantel beautifully carved with figures of putti, grapes, and flowers. It makes an ideal surface for displaying some of the couple’s favorite objects, including ceramics by Louie’s late grandfather Norman Hoberman, an architect and artist. And while the room feels unstudied, it’s perfectly balanced in its contrasts: the soaring potted palm versus the humble floor meditation chair; the cluttered stacks of books and magazines versus the stretches of bare parquet; the rococo marblework versus the pair of Pastoe FM60 cube lounge chairs in all their glorious 1980s geometry.


    In the Brooklyn apartment, designers Max Zinser and Julian Louie designed the plywood dining table in the spirit of Donald Judd’s minimalist furniture. “We love that it’s not precious,” says Zinser. “It’s beaten up with wine stains and coffee mug rings and we don’t worry about it.”

    Many of the apartment’s most striking pieces are ones they found together, like the unusual midcentury partners desk, designed to seat two individuals side by side, which fits neatly into a niche in their dining room. “We love its form but rarely actually sit at it,” admits Zinser.
    Other pieces—like their plywood dining room table, which seats six—they made for themselves. “We designed it for Julian’s old apartment when we couldn’t find a table he liked,” says Zinser. (Their inspiration was Donald Judd’s plywood furniture.) Louie also custom-made the artwork that hangs above the living room mantel, sizing it so that it would fit perfectly within the frame of molding.

    And though both Zinser and Louie have an undeniable weakness for pedigreed midcentury furniture (see: the highly collectible 1960 Pierre Jeanneret Box Chairs designed for Punjab University, Chandigarh), they’re also not above a good, cheap find. That paper lantern hanging in the dining room? “We bought it at Pearl River Mart for $25 and we absolutely love it,” says Zinser. “We wouldn’t switch it out for anything.”


    The dining chairs are Pierre Jeanneret Box Chairs designed for Punjab University, and the paper pendant is from Pearl River Mart.


    “We like to rearrange the art and objects around the house every few months,” says Zinser. The current tablescape atop a Roger Sprunger credenza includes vintage marble table lamps, a Norman Hoberman ceramic, and a bronze gladiator figurine once owned by Louie’s great-grandparents. The art is by Galen Wolfe-Pauly, a childhood friend of Louie's.


    With its 13-foot ceilings and south-facing exposures, the living room is a bright and airy foundation for the couple’s eclectic furnishings. Louie made the wood assemblage hanging over the mantel specifically for the apartment; the black-and-white canvas is a piece he painted in college. The chairs are Cube Lounge FM60 Chairs by Radboud van Beekum for Pastoe. The meditation chair is one they both use for daily meditation; they found it at Paula Rubenstein in New York.


    Louie’s neat stacks of French Vogue, Arena Homme Plus, Self Service, Purple, and Document Journal magazines—originally meant to be temporary—have become a feature of the room. “We had planned to build more bookshelves but never got around to it,” says Louie with a laugh. A built-in floor-to-ceiling mirror embellished with ornate carvings amplifies the living room’s luxurious sense of space.


    Because the bedroom is positioned between the living room and the kitchen and dining rooms, “it’s less of a bedroom than a hallway,” says Zinser. By dressing the bed in white and forgoing nightstands and a headboard, the space is as unobtrusive as possible. The wooden sculpture was made by Norman Hoberman, Louie’s late grandfather.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    fgg
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    i don't hate it but it doesn't look like a place where anyone actually lives.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member effie2's Avatar
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    Money well spent.I love white and light colored wood,nice artworks,beautiful fireplace.I d love some comfortable sofas and armchairs to give it a lived in feeling.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I like how the candle is about to light the sailor's cigarette. That is some serious feng shui right there.
    Sarzy, MsDark and palta like this.

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    czb
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    love it

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    The place looks great but I don't like the style.
    I love the desk and chair!
    HWBL likes this.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i love this place and would move right in as is. it's too bad there aren't more photos because I'd love to see what the kitchen. my only complaint is that the coffee table is too small for the space but that's an easy fix.
    this is one of those place where you can tell that every object, every piece of art, was carefully chosen by the owners, rather than bought because it matched to sofa or something.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    czb
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    is that ugly baseboard heat or a nasty ac unit? you would think such a nice place would have central air. that's the only neg i see. well, not sure about the kitchen or bathrooms. ow all good.
    sputnik likes this.

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    The apartment is beautiful but it's too cluttered and not one of those chairs is inviting me to sit down.
    Sylkyn, fgg, Beeyotch and 2 others like this.
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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    No sofa...wha? Where do they lay down to watch TV, or read GR on their phone?!?!
    sputnik likes this.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    there's a sofa but you only see a little corner of it in the photo with the mirror

    Quote Originally Posted by czb View Post
    is that ugly baseboard heat or a nasty ac unit? you would think such a nice place would have central air. that's the only neg i see. well, not sure about the kitchen or bathrooms. ow all good.
    it's a/c. welcome to new york. not many places have central air, especially in older houses/buildings. even my über rich friends on the UWS have window units in their chichi doorman apartment building.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    It looks like an art installation.
    DawnM74, HWBL, Daphodil and 3 others like this.
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    It looks like a store or a lobby. It has great bones but the decorating sucks!!
    Last edited by Witchywoman; November 2nd, 2019 at 07:52 PM.
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    I'm interested in how the love and hate for this place is split. I think the majority of house photos look like doctor's offices or stores or overly sterile, but this one doesn't register like that to me. It's pretty much perfect to me. This is the way I like all white walls to be...One odd thing I'm really fond of for some reason is the dining room chairs. I agree that a comfier sofa/chair might be injected somewhere in there, but otherwise no complaints from me.
    effie2 and sputnik like this.
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    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fgg View Post
    i don't hate it but it doesn't look like a place where anyone actually lives.
    How could they--with all that clutter with the tacky decor on top!??!?! I'd toss it all out (except those numbered chairs) and bring my own pieces in--including a bed cover that I won't trip on!!!!
    fgg likes this.
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