This DIY Renovation Turned a Boring Apartment Into a Show Stopping Home

The Editors
·4 min read
Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

From House Beautiful

Laura Bindloss is not the sleek, modern apartment building type. A career of working with designers and home brands (she's the founder of design PR agency Nylon Consulting) has instilled in Bindloss a healthy appreciation for color, patterns, texture, and custom detailing. So, when she and her husband, Simon, began searching for a home to buy, they skipped luxury condo buildings in favor of pre-war brownstones with built-in character.

But, as anyone who has bought or renovated a home before may well know, often these endeavors don't go exactly as planned. "We eventually realized that buying one of those would essentially bankrupt us," laughs Bindloss. "To renovate a brownstone, you just don't know how much it's going to be. So we thought, 'Okay, maybe we'll look at a new build.'"

Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss
Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss

On a whim, the family went to look at an open house in a new building in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood—and surprised themselves. "It had generous bedrooms and two bathrooms—which is pure luxury—and these really great windows and that's the one thing that's a non-negotiable for us: light," recalls Bindloss, who was nine months pregnant with her second child when they decided to make the purchase.

While those bones were great, opting for the new build meant the family was forgoing the kind of charm they loved about older homes—a significant sacrifice to Bindloss, who proclaims herself "allergic to an all-white apartment." As a result, the challenge became turning that sterile blank slate into something with soul. And while reallocating the budget for structural renovations meant more for furnishings and finishes, Bindloss is quick to note that her home's budget is a far cry from the ones on the projects she admires from her high-end design clients. So, she set out creating a warm, inviting, personal space with a high-design feel... on a real family's budget. Here's how.

Kitchen

The home's most striking transformation may well be the kitchen, which Bindloss transformed from builder-grade blah to statement making with the help of British cabinetry company Plain English, a client of hers. The bright green cabinetry prove the power of a good paint job—and pop against the black marble counters, which have a leathered finish for a matte look that is super durable.

Living Room

In the living room, Bindloss paired a rug by Luke Irwin with an oversized sectional whose low profile doesn't block the apartment's great windows. The art above it is by Alex Mason of Ferrick Mason (framed by Framebridge). Assorted pillows in a variety of patterns add an instant collected effect. "I just want it to feel like a jewel box of pattern and color and really nice texture," says Bindloss.

Love Bindloss's sofa pillow patterns? See the fabrics she used: Meliora Melon Plum, For Arts Sake Moon, Fountain of Youth Underwater, S Harris Zeitgeist Daisy, Plumage Stripe.

Nursery

Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss
Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss

"I do not really love buying furniture that is only for a nursery," says Bindloss. With the exception of the crib, she tried to outfit the room with things that wouldn't be outgrown—including art. "That is something that he will have forever," Bindloss says of the Teil Duncan work. Even the room's color (Benjamin Moore's Leaf Green) is a departure from the usual nursery pastels.

Bathroom

Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss
Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss

"The bathrooms were the hardest part—they looked like jail cells!" exclaims Bindloss. As a result, they were actually the jumping-off point for the entire redo. "We said no matter what, we're doing the bathrooms," Bindloss says. Replacing the walls with a combination of floral wallpaper from Ferrick Mason and sage green tile instantly added life. The final touch to creating a jewel box was a mosaic floor. The Artistic Tile pattern is the perfect pop in the small space—and a way to incorporate another special element: heated floors.

"One of the most affordable things you can do that feels like pure luxury is put in under-floor heating," says Bindlosss. "It's just a couple hundred bucks, so if you're going to re-tile the floor anyway, you should definitely do it."

Dining and Bar

Since the dining and living areas are in one big room, Bindloss kept the dining area fairly muted, with a wood table from Ochre and blue Uhuru Design dining chairs that tie into the color of the sofa. The Society Social bar cart, meanwhile, does double duty as an entry table.

Bedroom

Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss
Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Bindloss

In the more muted bedroom, Bindloss says, "texture is how we bring in the personality." That comes by way of the whitewashed brass bed frame, Merida rug, and bedding from 10 Grove. The wallpaper (from A Street Prints), while patterned, "has more of a watercolor effect," says Bindloss, giving it a subtler look. It's the perfect place to retreat—and a serene contrast to the pattern and color elsewhere in the house, which, finally, has found its personality.

"Every single day I'm so happy in this place," says Bindloss.

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