Tour One Fashion Stylist’s Brooklyn Town House It’s All About “Minimalism with Excess” | Architectural Digest

“Buying a townhouse was the final stage of moving seven times in 12 years,” admits Alex White, fashion stylist and proud owner of a light-filled, renovated brick house in Brooklyn Heights. “We wanted a home that we could put our own stamp on and raise our two children in.” Their forever home went from a one-bathroom Greek Revival that needed a lot of love to an exuberant four-bedroom owner’s triplex that sits on a one-bedroom garden rental. “The [garden] the apartment was essential,” says White’s partner Shaheen Knox.

To get from there to here, White and Knox looked at a lot of fixer-uppers and finally landed on a 25-foot-wide, sun-drenched house on a quiet New York street that’s only one block long. Another big draw was the fact that their residence was part of a neighborhood organization that hosted potlucks and festive street parties. “I grew up in a village, so this close-knit community appealed to us,” says White. As well as a large backyard where the couple’s son could play basketball. “I’m obsessed with daylight, and this house isn’t particularly deep, so you get a lot of western light. It had a lot of skylights and we added three more plus a back wall of glass.” The undertaking required an architect, but mostly just to configure the HVAC and one I-beam and also work on permits. Tom Van Den Bout of NV Design Architecture spearheaded the effort. The rest was a personal labor of love.

The couple had previously renovated lofts, but building a 5,000-square-foot home promised to be a process. They lived in the unrenovated space for five years, saving money and tearing up the leaves that helped inspire their vision. White held fabrics from the Prada fashion show she was working on (which were eventually used to upholster the front of the main room) and objects collected from travels around the world, like an early 20th-century Venetian mirror from the estate of Oleg Cassini. Some of the couple’s favorite pieces of furniture—rare 1990s dining chairs by Marc Newsom, a table by Paola Navone, 19th-century Austrian slippers—have been waiting years for their perfect placement in storage. The pair scoured showrooms and bought deeply discounted floor models from high-end suppliers such as Boffi to stay within their budget. They moved into two different rentals during the two-year renovation. Above all, they were patient and hired subcontractors for various parts of the work.

Several years of inconvenience paid off. Now the White-Knox household hosts cookouts on the back patio and small parties around their vintage dining room table. Each member of the family has added something to the home’s design: The first thing most guests notice is the Chanel surfboard hanging on the living room wall. “I worked with Karl Lagerfeld for a number of years and someone must have heard how much I wanted this surfboard that I had seen at a Chanel event many years ago in the Hamptons,” recalls White. “And when we finished renovating the house, the Chanel surfboard magically arrived! It’s such a fun piece. It brings touches of my work into the home in a subtle way.”

Now the abode is a true reflection of all four family members and their shared lives and history. “We have a pillow upstairs on the sofa. [our son] Harrison gave us [Our daughter] The Indian room is the happiest space, all fuchsia. All of our personalities are seen in little nods throughout the townhouse,” says White. “Everyone contributed. And it added a lot of sparkle to our home.”

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