WAPD In The News: Brooklyn in the House

The April/May issue of Interiors Magazine details Workshop/APD founding principal Matt Berman and his family’s Brooklyn townhouse renovation in a wonderful feature by Erika Heet and photographed by Donna Dotan.

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To me, Brooklyn is the scale a city should be,” says Matt Berman, founding principal of
New York architecture and design firm Workshop/APD. He describes finding the perfect
home there for himself, his husband, Jim, and their son, Owen, on “one terrible, rainy
day.” But the magic of the Park Slope neighborhood, with its vintage gaslights burning
outside hundred-year-old park-adjacent brownstones, shone through. One of those brownstones
had a For Sale sign in the window—a circa 1910 beauty with classical details and big bay
windows. “It was carved up in crazy ways to accommodate a group of actors,” Berman says.
Despite a few reservations, and a few Batik room dividers, the couple bought the eclectic house.

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“We kept and restored a lot of the interior details,” says Berman, who saved original
wood paneling, plaster ceiling medallions, newel posts and stair railings. Updates included
completely reworking the kitchen with cabinets from Workshop/APD’s collection for Aster
Cucine; reclaiming upstairs space previously made into an apartment; introducing innovative
wall treatments like vinyl tweed, black riveted metal and deep gray paint; and adding a blue
paint stripe to the stairway that ties in with strokes of paint in the art, the teal lamp in the
living room and the Y Living chairs in the dining room. “There’s an intentional repetitive color
language that subtly ties the spaces together,” Berman says. “Each room in the house tells its
own story through the art, furniture, lighting and accessories we’ve chosen together.”

Primary Suite

The living room is an inspired layering of pieces, including a leather Giovanni Erba sofa from
ABC Carpet and Home, a Brianna Martray drawing and a Saarinen Womb chair and ottoman,
the latter covered in Paul Smith’s Exaggerated Plaid fabric for Maharam—it’s an extremely
well-dressed chair. The artwork above it, by an anonymous artist, depicts a detailed page
of art history notes peppered with vivid black and red paint. “We chose unusual pieces from
artisans we’ve found over the years, like the Asaf Weinbroom sconces in the living room, and
the one-of-a-kind dining table by Cleveland Art that’s made from a reclaimed machine base
and wood top,” Berman says. Wardell Milan’s Early Spring. The Charming Evening completes
the dining room.

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For his work-from-home setup, Berman has relied on a simple clear acrylic desk and a
Pierre Jeanneret side chair, designed for the modernist utopia Chandigarh, conceived by his
cousin, Le Corbusier. “This little setup at the window—a slim acrylic desk that almost disappears
in the room and a Jeanneret chair that looks great and is relatively comfortable thanks to
the caning—is my primary workspace in these at-home times,” he says. “I love it because it
offers an incredible view, lots of natural light and it works nicely on camera, which is where
I spend most of my time Zooming with my team, clients and consultants.” He has been very
busy here, working on projects in New York, Connecticut, Cape Cod, Aspen, Los Angeles, San
Francisco and elsewhere; the One Hotel in Nashville, the new Nautilus restaurant in Boston, and
a Moxy hotel in Banff; a yacht, and a growing product design practice, which includes a major
collaboration with Arteriors. With so much going on, Berman is grateful for an inspiring home
base with his family, a Park Slope haven with a restored gaslight glowing out front. “This project
was our labor of love—our family home,” he says. “Jim has an incredible sense of design and
incredible taste, and this project is very much us. Our home is a representation of our life and
the family we share.”

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