Having an interior designer as a friend can come in handy. Case in point: after Colin Winkelman purchased his 1,600-square-foot townhouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 2010, he knew exactly where to look for help decorating the historic space: Lindsay Key, a childhood friend who just so happens to be co-owner of Key + Shade Interior Design.
There's something satisfyingly indulgent about getting to look behind the normally closed doors of someone else's home. That's why, with the help of Dyson and its commitment to design and technology, we created this series of guided tours of some of New York's artfully articulated apartments and the people who live there.
Winkelman and Key worked together closely, finding inspiration in the extensive art collection Winkelman has amassed over the years. As a freelance producer, designer, and art consultant, he lent his creative eye through all stages of the design process.
Tapping into Winkelman's childhood spent in New York City's Greenwich Village, the pair teamed up with local artist coalition UR New York to commission custom paintings of colorful street scenes in the Village and Winkelman's new home in Brooklyn. One of the paintings sits at the base of the stairwell leading up to the main floor, and the other hangs on the wall overlooking the landing. Splashy graffiti connect the two unique pieces.
"It's an interpretation of my journey from the Village to where I live now," he says.
That journey continues into the living room, painted a slate grey to allow the furnishings—like the candy-apple red lamp in the corner—to really pop. A collection of pillows with cheeky sayings like "Stud" and "Damn Good Friends" are propped on a pair of white swivel chairs and a low-back sofa. A collection of vintage toys—also a nod to Winkelman's youth—including a Rubik's Cube and Slinky perch atop the fireplace mantel.
"This room was originally the parlor room, an area of the home that's often thought of as stuck-up," he says. "I wanted to inject some fun, and I always wanted a big kids' playroom."
Playing off the room's original crown molding and hardwood floors, Key chose pieces from Winkelman's art collection that add a modern touch to the space. A large piece, made of rattan and burlap, by Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich, is one work that immediately captures and holds one's attention.
"It was all about finding balance," Key says of her collaboration with Winkelman. "He's very open-minded and had an idea, so we went with it."
The balance between the home's original architecture and modern updates from the renovation continues in the open kitchen and dining room. Before the renovation, this area contained a bathroom, which is common in buildings constructed in the 1890s. Removing that enclosed space opened up the room, increasing the flow of light. In a nod to the home's past, Winkelman and Key chose black-on-black patterned wallpaper from Timorous Beasties that mimics street scenes from the late 19th century. The eccentric wallpaper serves as a backdrop for the high-top dining room table, which is equipped with six bright red chairs.
When it came time to decorate the bedroom, Winkelman and Key added another member to their design team: his wife, Samantha. The three worked together to design a space that is serene and zen. A focus on muted woods embraces a stark contrast to the bright décor in the rest of the home.
"When I moved in back in 2012, the bedroom was unfinished and didn't reflect the rest of the house," Samantha says. "I wanted to bring some of my own style in, and make the room a relaxing, neutral environment."
Working with a neutral color palette of whites and greys, Key commissioned a local carpenter to create a headboard made of whitewashed maple that runs the length of the wall and showcases the wood's natural grain. Trinkets from Samantha's travels in Cape Cod rest on a geometric wooden bookshelf. Several candles made out of old Hendricks liquor bottles, which Winkelman repurposed using a glass cutter, line the shelves.
Although the couple's design aesthetic may differ, they definitely agree on cleanliness.
"We're both very overly organized," Winkelman says. "We keep everything in its place, which helps keep the space clean."
And it shows. A thread of organized creativity runs through their home, a space that reflects their distinct but clearly compatible personalities.
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Images by Marlene Rounds.
Jennifer Nalewicki is a travel writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her writing has been featured in Interior Design, Wine Enthusiast, Hemispheres, Esquire.com, and more.