Underhill Avenue Brownstone

Underhill Avenue Brownstone

Architect
Frederick Tang Architecture
Location
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY, USA | View Map
Category
Private Houses
Gieves Anderson
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
OttomanBLU DOT
WallpaperFlat Vernacular
FabricImogen Heath Interiors
Aluminum Bench/Sculpture, Beechwood and marble nightstandChapel Petrassi
Chair reupholstered in Overpass in CarmineWolf Gordon
FurnitureCrate and Barrel
Aosta Brass Arch Floor Mirror, Curved Velvet Sofa, Beechwood and marble nightstand

Product Spec Sheet
Aluminum Bench/Sculpture, Beechwood and marble nightstand
Chair reupholstered in Overpass in Carmine
Furniture
Aosta Brass Arch Floor Mirror, Curved Velvet Sofa, Beechwood and marble nightstand by Crate and Barrel

Underhill Avenue Brownstone

Frederick Tang Architecture as Architects

Frederick Tang Architecture Refreshes the Interiors of a Historic Brooklyn Brownstone Eight Years After Completing its Architectural Renovation

Eight years after completing the architectural renovation of an 1899 brownstone in historic Prospect Heights, Frederick Tang Architecture (FTA) returns to the home to redesign its interior. FTA worked closely with the owners and their 5-year-old son—who’ve become dear friends of the architect over the course of the collaboration—to create a cohesive but playful aesthetic that fuses individual family members’ divergent tastes.

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

The first collaboration began in 2013, after the owners purchased the historic brownstone, which overlooks a small park on a quiet block. FTA’s renovation centered on the preservation of decaying historic details, like stained glass window transoms, decorative wood columns, and a rear historic bay window that was restored with glass doors to open onto a spacious new deck. The studio worked closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, reorganizing the interior to allow for a garden level rental and an owners’ triplex for their growing family. 

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

In 2020, the owners approached FTA to continue the project, this time focusing on interiors that would emphasize the fun-loving personality of the family—which now includes their son and two puppies—while still incorporating the intricate historic details they love. A central challenge for FTA was elegantly merging the differing tastes of the two wives. While one prefers a more polished aesthetic, the other tends towards a bold, Pop-inspired palette. 

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

"The goal was to embrace their dispositions—one’s inclination for everything to match and the other’s love for boldness and the color black. Surprisingly, they both appreciated the unexpected and playful,” explains FTA’s director of interior design Barbara Reyes. "There’s an interesting duality happening across the home: a historic space with modern design and tongue-in-cheek humor added on top."

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

FTA began the project by reprogramming and reorganizing the first floor to optimize for circulation and entertaining. Before, the living room separated the dining room and kitchen, making navigation and hosting dinner parties (a favorite family pastime) difficult. As a solution, FTA moved the dining area adjacent to the kitchen, at the center of the floor, while the living room was relocated to the front of the house. This created a seamless flow from kitchen to dining room to living area—an interconnected zone for entertaining. The den was relocated to the back of the house, on the other side of the kitchen, where it nestles into the bay windows that open onto the deck. 

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

Within this updated framework, FTA re-established the palette and overall vision of the home, infusing it with deep, saturated colors, bold patterns, and layered textures that read as polished Pop. To stay within budget, they updated original built-in millwork and the family’s existing mid-century furniture pieces with fresh paint and fabrics, while also anchoring the redesign with a selection of new pieces—a mix of irreverent vintage finds, sleek contemporary items, and distinctive custom details. The family’s playful art collection (which includes miniature Japanese food settings and sneakers, a large-scale painting of a giant ice cream cone, a light box featuring an X-ray of the owner’s father’s knee, and more) helped inform the redesign, punctuating each room.  

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

In the living room, a plush, terrazzo-inspired rug lays the groundwork for a crescent sofa in blue velvet, pink graphic curtains, a patterned lounge chair, and a bright blue sculptural metallic bench from Chapel Petrassi. In the adjacent dining area, a vintage Paul McCobb extension table was refinished in ebonized black to distinguish it from its teak counterpart: a mid-century shelving unit by Poul Cadovius. Placed across from the dining table, it doubles as a display case for the family’s beloved collection of miniature food and sneaker sculptures, vintage candy tins, and other playful, pop-infused objects. A custom, built-in bench with a floating backrest upholstered in teal, wipeable fabric from Maharam completes the space. 

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

The blue-pink palette continues into the den and powder room, where the former features the larger-than-life ice cream cone cut-out, a gift from one wife to the other, alongside a textural palette of patterned upholstery, marble accents, and terracotta details. In the powder room, an ethereal, half-moon wallpaper in peach and blue from Flat Vernacular is accented with a black metal arched mirror from CB2. The home’s playful, Claes Oldenburg-inflected food theme continues here too, where soap takes the form of a tiny pink bundt cake.

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

Upstairs, the bedrooms were updated with vibrant, rich wallcoverings and jewel-toned accents. In the wives’ bedroom, pencil tambour and marble nightstands join brass sconces mounted against a sumptuous, hand-painted cerulean wallpaper flecked with gold (Korinthian Sea by Sarkos). Historic, built-in millwork that doubles as a desk was painted deep magenta, while the couple’s mid-century chair received a facelift with a graphic triangle pattern from Wolf Gordon. 

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

The son’s room is an exuberant highlight of the home. His request for rainbows was adjusted slightly to ensure he didn’t grow out of the design too quickly. A compromise was struck with a mural featuring a gradient of lime, hot pink, lemon yellow, and sky blue (The Heavens by Flat Vernacular). The pattern is interspersed with accent walls painted deep blue. Other standout pieces include a Damien Hirst-inspired dot rug, a vintage molded Casalino chair, and a Vitsoe shelving unit that can be adjusted as he grows. “Rich colors like the bold blue in Leon’s room and black were instrumental in the design. It is like adding an acid to tone down the sweetness,” says Reyes.

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson

“There are so many beautiful and historic details that we wanted to embrace but also upgrade for better use. Plus, the new design showcases the family’s exuberant spirit,” explains FTA founder and principal Fred Tang.

Team:
Living Room:
1. Curved Velvet Sofa from Crate & Barrel
2. Vintage Demilune Italian Brass Tables (originally glass, refurbished as pink mirrored plexiglass) 
3. Blu Dot bumper leather ottoman (doubles as their coffee table)
4. Custom Drapery by Horizon Windows in Imogen Heath Anni Stripe Rose
5. Terrazzo Hand Knotted Rug from Nordic Knots
6. Owner’s Chair reupholstered in Cutout by HBF Textiles
7. Hella Aluminum Bench/Sculpture by Chapel Petrassi
8. Walls Benjamin Moore Candle White
9. Geometric Prints by Marina Ancona at 10 Grand Press 
10. Cake Candle from Catbird

Dining Room:
1. Vintage Paul McCobb ebonized black and brass extension table
2. Panton Series 430 Brass Chair in Maharam Messenger fabric in Aster
3. Custom back cushion in Maharam Apt material in Galactic
4. Custom teak bench with storage and cushion in Pollack fabric in Modern Dance Tap Shoes
5. Vintage Poul Cadovius Teak Wall Unit
6. Swing Arm Brass Sconce from Souda
7. Lucite Therese Chandelier from Sander Mulder
8. Wax Pencil Art Series by Frank Magnotta

Den:
1. Owner’s chair reupholstered in Pollack fabric Reflex, Dragonfruit
2. Hexagonal Ottoman from The Inside
3. Rug in In Stitches, Bone from Flor

Powder Room:
1. Finisterra Azurite Wallpaper from Flat Vernacular
2. Arch Mirror with Marble Shelf from CB2

Child’s Bedroom:
1. The Heavens Dondi Colorscape from Flat Vernacular
2. Benjamin Moore walls in Bold Blue
3. Vitsoe Modular Shelving Unit
4. Vintage Casalino Child Chair
5. Faux Fur Bean Bags from Missouri
6. Hide Powder coated side Table from Hem
7. Belgrave Globe Floor Lamp from CB2
8. Kidspace Toy Box with casters by Closet Maid
9. Polka Dot Rug from NuLoom

Primary’s Bedroom:
1. Beechwood and marble nightstand from Crate and Barrel
2. Brass swing arm sconces from Mitzi Hudson Valley
3. Cosmos gold flecked hand painted wallpaper in Korinthian Sea by Sarkos
4. Millwork painted in Benjamin Moore Dark Burgundy
5. Owner’s chair reupholstered in Overpass in Carmine by Wolf Gordon
6. Aosta Brass Arch Floor Mirror from Crate and Barrel

Other:
1. Custom wool stair runner with peacock cotton binding by Patterson Flynn Martin 
2. Entry Cushion in Ms Quilty in Tranquil by HBF Textiles

photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson
photo_credit Gieves Anderson
Gieves Anderson
photo_credit Courtesy Frederick Tang Architecture
Courtesy Frederick Tang Architecture
photo_credit Courtesy Frederick Tang Architecture
Courtesy Frederick Tang Architecture

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