The Art of Flow: Brooklyn Duplex Makes the Most of its Space

Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography

When a young family of three embarked on a partial-gut renovation of their Brooklyn penthouse duplex, they knew they wanted to make the most of every square foot. The spaces needed to serve more than one purpose for them, their guests and their daughter, and had to feel open and inviting without restricting movement or blocking their views of city and the Statue of Liberty.

So, who better to bring the perfect flow to this Park Slope space than dancer/choreographer-turned-architect/interior designer Nancy Thiel.

“From my dance background, I really think about flow and how choreography moves people through their space,” says the founder and principal designer of Thiel Architecture + Design.

That flow started with the entrance of the duplex, which opens directly into the kitchen. Theil reconfigured the kitchen layout to create a more comfortable connection to the adjacent living and dining room area, with a cooktop facing the sitting room and its envious terrace views. She added a partial wall against the staircase above the kitchen with a recessed space for the television, freeing up more living area. For dining, Theil built in a chic banquette against the back wall to minimize obstacles without sacrificing an eat-in area.

“The kitchen is the first area you see when you enter the apartment,” she says. “We made it feel cohesive and calm and easy to use.”

Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography

As for the aesthetics, Thiel pulled the color palette and inspiration from the client’s unique collection of art deco posters featuring New York City and many of its well-known landmarks. The deep navy kitchen cabinets reflect the colors in that artwork, and details like the handmade Moroccan-style backsplash tile and the clean-lined brass pulls on the cabinet doors hint at the art deco style, explains Thiel. The cabinetry color carries into the high ceiling of the adjoining living/dining room, creating a cohesive feeling from one space to the next. The source of inspiration – the art itself – now hangs gallery-style above the banquette.

“The poster collection was just one of the best things they had in their old house,” Thiel says.

When it came to appliances, Monogram was an easy choice. Not only did the brand’s design offer distinctive, luxury details that worked with the overall aesthetic, it also offered the multi-purpose functionality they needed and the chef-inspired touches the husband – the family cook – wanted.

“These pieces are such a beautiful way to save space. They are good looking, they don’t feel bulky, they feel streamlined – and I love that for my clients,” Theil says.

Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography

One of her favorites appliances for New York City apartments is the induction cooktop. In addition to the professional precision cooking capabilities, the flush-mounted, unscratchable glass surface can double as extra counter space when not in use. Another go-to is the powerhouse Smart Five in One Wall Oven with Advantium Technology, that is not only useful but has the compact size, clean lines and brass details that worked with her design.

“I love the Advantium Oven,” says Thiel. “It does everything. It cooks a whole chicken in 30 minutes, it’s a microwave, and it takes up much less space so it’s perfect for a smaller apartment kitchen.”

Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography
Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography

Thiel’s clients were able to see the appliances firsthand at the Monogram Design Center at Aitoro, in nearby Norwalk, Conn. And a bonus she says sets Monogram apart from other luxury appliances: the opportunity for new Monogram owners to have experts come into their home and teach them how to use the appliances.

“It’s just a lovely thing that Monogram does,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity to use the equipment and to see how it performs.”

With their perfectly choreographed new space, the young family is free to comfortably entertain guests and create new memories – exactly what the clients hoped for.

“They really love it,” Thiel says, “and it works for them.”

Photo by Samuel Morgan Photography
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