The One Rule in This Effortlessly Cool Brooklyn Brownstone? No Beige

After seeing Brooklyn-based decorator Delia Kenza’s work featured in a design publication, the owners of a Brooklyn townhouse knew she was the right person to help transform their new residence into the home of their dreams.

The clients in question—a young couple, both of whom work in finance—were looking for someone to inject personality into the historic Park Slope brownstone, which had been renovated just prior to the sale. “The renovation was on the traditional side, so we asked Delia to make the space feel more modern without the need for any construction,” explains the homeowner. “As soon as we met Delia, we could tell that she would be passionate about the job and easy to work with. We love that her aesthetic is modern, while still being functional, livable, and inviting.”

Throughout the home, Kenza played with a striking black and white palette, amped up with furnishings in bright, rainbow tones, as with this tubular red accent chair from Moustache.
Nick Glimenakis

Kenza agrees that while the renovation was well done, it was the opposite of her clients’ style. “The goal was to make this house better reflect the couple, who are laid-back and adventurous,” explains Kenza, who pivoted from her career as a lawyer a decade ago after the renovation of her own home as well as a neighbor’s led to referral jobs. “The lighting and hardware felt especially traditional, so we focused on changing those items instead of ripping everything out and starting over.” Rather than ditching a more traditional kitchen island, for instance, Kenza opted to work around it, swapping out brass fixtures for sleek chrome ones and hanging streamlined pendant lights by Michael Anastassiades above.

The clients let Kenza run with the decor, with one caveat: no beige. “We tend to gravitate towards black and white with pops of bright, cool tones,” says the client. The decorator took their wishes to heart, while making sure to consider both homeowners equally. “I really tried to home in on both of their aesthetics,” explains Kenza. “Modern, clean lines with a lot of black can sometimes feel harsh, which the wife was worried about, so we brought softness in through furnishings that are comfortable yet sexy and stylish.”

an all black bedroom with a dramatic light coming in from the window

Kenza took her biggest design risk in the bedroom, which she swathed entirely in black.
Nick Glimenakis

In the primary bedroom, however, the decorator doubled down on the homeowners’ affinity for black, splashing everything from the walls to the furniture and accessories in the moody hue. “The bedroom gets beautiful natural light, so it can carry the dark shade,” explains Kenza. “The black-on-black theme lends a chic quality to the room without having to try too hard, and it’s cozy too.” Kenza concedes that it’s a daring choice, but it’s one that paid off, as both she and her clients all agree that it’s their favorite space in the home.

Durability was a major consideration throughout the residence, according to Kenza, joking that the clients’ cat “rules the house.” She adds, “We selected furnishings—like the black leather sofa in the living room—that would hold up to cat hair.”

The mix of custom and contemporary furniture and lighting includes sculptural silhouettes and pops of blue, red, purple, green, and teal. The couple wanted the home to function for small gatherings, so Kenza employed “playful seating in the living area that could be easily moved around,” she says.

delia kenza brooklyn apartment

Kenza continued the black and white theme in the dining room with Miniforms’ sculptural Barry dining table, chairs from Tom Dixon, a pendant from Flos, and a ribbed emerald green vase designed by Pols Potten.
Nick Glimenakis

In the dining area, a new floor-to-ceiling cabinet designed by Kenza provides additional storage, while Tom Dixon teal dining chairs surround a sleek black-and-white marble table from Italy. “That table is actually our favorite piece in the entire house,” says the homeowner. The abundance of black and white serves as a calming backdrop for the couple’s art collection—a contemporary mix of colorful works.

“This project was all about allowing the clients to grow into their place over time and letting their artwork shine,” explains Kenza. “We didn’t want to fill it up with too many accessories right away, so we chose interesting furniture pieces that can carry that weight. This definitely isn’t your grandma’s townhouse.”

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