Tour the Brownstone Boys' Salvaged-From-Scratch Brooklyn Brownstone

Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon fell in love with the idea of owning a Brooklyn brownstone. After months of searching, they found their dream home. They soon realized it required lots of elbow grease, hours of paint removal and a little help from friends to preserve all the historic details in their salvaged space.

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April 02, 2020

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

With a Little Help From My (Blog) Friends

Jordan Slocum (left) and Barry Bordelon (right), both project managers, became known as the Brownstone Boys all because they decided to renovate the home of their dreams. “When we started renovation, we had so many questions about how to renovate and we just weren’t finding the right sources," Jordan explains. So the two started up a blog to document their renovation progress. "We found it was very helpful for other people, and the process as we were going through it.”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Warm Wooden Welcome

Step through the Boys' front door and you'll be greeted by a lovely, wooden staircase — a classic staple in most historic row homes. “The entryway is one of our favorite spaces because you really know you’re in a brownstone when you walk into it," Barry says. "It’s the traditional stairway that goes up with the original banister."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

A Helping Handrail

Like many other rooms in their home, the original staircase and banisters were buried under layers and layers of paint. “We were going to strip the wood [and repaint it another color]." Jordan says. "But we stripped it and it looked so beautiful and so natural in the space that we were like, ‘We have to keep this!’” Barry adds, "It's really cool, because you couldn’t even see the detail that was in it when it was covered in paint."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Some Kind of Kitchen Swagger

It's been said the kitchen is the heart of any home. Barry and Jordan can prove this theory. “The kitchen is definitely something that people gravitate towards,” Jordan says. "They come in and the next thing you know they’re just hanging out on the stools in front of our kitchen island.” Barry adds, "We really wanted a show-stopper kitchen. We wanted it to be very open, so we had to tear down a couple of walls to make it happen."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

What Every Healthy Couple Does

And tear down a few walls they did. But with heavy demo comes a little healthy compromise. “I like things bright and colorful," Jordan says, smiling. "But Barry likes the same three colors – he loves a good charcoal gray.”

Gray Is the New White: 20 Gray Kitchen Cabinets We’re Loving

A Touch of Gray

Using Barry's preferred colors — gray and more gray — Jordan selected muted kitchen cabinets with white herringbone patterned tile for the backsplash. The one bit of exposed, natural wood can be seen in the open-faced shelving above the countertops, paying tribute to the home's midcentury modern style.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Blinded by the Lights

The island wouldn't be complete without proper lighting. “We were looking for pendants and the ones that we liked were thousands of dollars,” Barry says. "The ones that were in our price range were $200-$300 and were just very generic or just very basic, so we decided to make them ourselves.”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

A Midcentury Modern Hot Mess

Just off the gorgeous kitchen is the living room, outfitted with a midcentury modern flair. But the current living room looks nothing like it did in the very beginning. Barry recalls, "It was a hot mess. The house was set up as a five-bedroom rental with a random kitchen in the middle of the living room."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Molded to Perfection

While taking on the new blueprint for the living space, the Boys needed to decide on what details to preserve. Jordan points to the ceiling and says, "This place had that beautiful, ornate molding from 1890 ... so we replicated it to fit the original and now this is in our beautiful living room area.”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Keeping It Classy

Barry and Jordan continue their gray interior color scheme in the living room with a comfy sectional sofa, stunning globe pendant light and gallery wall outfitted with lots of framed personal memories. Unsurprisingly, the space is filled with warm wooden touches, too.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Pull Up a Chair

Keeping true to the Boys' midcentury modern aesthetic, the dining room is filled with lots of natural wood touches, from the table and chairs to the uniquely wooden chandelier. You can find similar dining chairs on Etsy.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Maybe the Coolest Light Ever

"One of our favorite light fixtures in the place is this one," Barry says while pointing to the light above the dining table. "It’s called a Stickbulb, and it’s really cool because it's made right here in New York City from reclaimed material. This one, specifically, they get the wood from water towers in Brooklyn — and we thought it was a way to pay homage to Brooklyn a little bit in our place and we love it."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Perfect Place to Unplug

The Boys’ master bedroom required a bit of renovation due to some common, dated design flaws in historic brownstones. “We wanted [the bedroom] to be very calming, kind of like a sanctuary for us,” Barry says. “But it’s a common problem in these Brooklyn brownstones to have the old fireplace bump out and stick out off the wall — and it’s usually in the way for furniture placement." As a solution, the guys decided to put up a brand new, centered wall in the room.

Make Room: Small Space Decorating Tips from New Yorkers

Under the Night Moon

Blue and cognac pairings are always a safe, gorgeous gamble when it comes to color. And while it may seem counterintuitive, darker hues can create a cozy bedroom environment when paired with brighter accents and natural light. This bedroom features a navy accent wall in Goodnight Moon by Clare Paint.

Create a Sanctuary: 50 Inviting Master Bedroom Color Schemes

Don't Buy It, DIY It

Impressively enough, these shelves were actually handcrafted by the couple. "Another favorite thing in the master are these shelves," Jordan says. "We actually took a table top that was sitting in our basement, cut it to the right size, stained the wood and we used the wood to create these beautiful open shelves."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

A Singular Historical Reminder

Along with functional, vintage furniture like the industrial storage cabinet and the antique dresser, the couple also favors art with a bit of history. Or at least one of them does. “I’m originally from New Orleans," says Barry. "And I have my reminder of home: a vintage map of New Orleans.” Jordan laughs and says, "And I’m originally from Las Vegas where there is no history, so unfortunately I don’t have a vintage map of Vegas here."

Show Where You've Been: 18 Ways to Decorate With Maps, Globes and Suitcases

Happy Hex Tile

“Our master bathroom is just a dream come true,” Jordan says. “If you're ever considering a shower upgrade, go with double shower heads!” The two happily agreed on the master bath design, with Barry sharing that “the custom vanity was designed with hex tiles from Fireclay Tile, giving it the perfect midcentury modern design that we both wanted in this space.”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Garden Guest Room

“Welcome to the brightest room in the house,” Jordan says laughing. As another act of good compromise, the two worked with a friend and muralist, Lauren Kaelin, to spice up their guest room. The room also features a lot of natural light with the help of the large skylight the Boys added during their seven-month renovation.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

With an Appetizing Mural

"We just told her that we wanted something vintage and botanical," Jordan continues. "She created this big showpiece in the [space]. We love it!”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Pride and Joy

“Welcome to our pride and joy of this renovation," Barry says with a smile. Like much of Barry and Jordan's reno, this bathroom was never a part of the original home. And building a brand new bathroom in a 100-year-old building with no plumbing resulted in an extra challenging demo.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Made-to-Order Magic

"We built this bathroom from scratch," Barry says. "It was once a little weird bedroom and you couldn’t even fit a bed in here — so we thought it was a perfect space for a bathroom. And since it was a totally new space that didn’t exist before, we really wanted it to have a vintage feel and feel like it had been here a while.”

Get Inspiration: 30+ Small Bathroom Design Ideas

Classic New York Style

The two carefully replicated what a New York bathroom may have looked like from years before. "We went with very classic, hex flourette on the floor and classic subway tile on the wall," Jordan says. "This tile is all over the place in New York,” Barry adds.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Never Judge a Tub By Its Cover

In a surprising twist, the vintage clawfoot tub isn't actually vintage. "It’s actually a new clawfoot tub," Barry explains. "We got a new one because they’re way lighter. Even though it's cast iron, it’s a fraction of what the original ones [weighed]." Mind blown.

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Brownstone Bathrooms of Old

"The one thing that we really love is this vintage door," Jordan says. "We wanted to pay homage to the vintage brownstone bathrooms, so we got this door from a salvage yard and they fit it to the space."

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

Never-Ending Story

Barry and Jordan may have differing opinions on color palette, but they don't have any plans to stop tinkering with their renovated brownstone. “There’s a few little things we have left," Barry says, laughing. "So it’s always going to be 98 percent finished." Jordan picks up, “And I feel like no home is really finished. We’re looking forward to all those small things.”

Watch the Video: Renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone

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