Designers Cheryl Setting Mosher and Erin Fearins recall getting chills upon meeting their soon-to-be clients, a couple with two adult daughters. After decades of living and working overseas, they were at last putting down roots in a sunlit Brooklyn Heights apartment. “The family had bounced around the globe for the entirety of their lives, and the daughters basically said, ‘Our mom has always tried to make each place we’ve lived in really comfortable for us. This is her time to have a place to make her own,’” says Fearins.
Naturally, conversions began with shopping the clients’ antiques and heirlooms, which had languished in storage awaiting their turn. A vast collection of fine carpets purchased far and wide was carefully inventoried and used as a jump-off point. Next, choice pieces were selected and reimagined the suit the context, all laced together by an unexpected palette of pinks, blues and mints. The question of “how do we take these things that are really precious and try to use them in ways that make sense?” was key to the project, says Fearins, who’s now a partner of Studio SFW. Where a beloved dining table was given pride of place in its original form, other pieces, like a set of ornately carved wooden lounge chairs and sofa were redone in a fresh floral velvet to lighten their spirit. “We went through everything, asking ‘Do you love it? Do you want to save it? Do you want to sell it?’ Then we filled in with new, old, vintage and antique,” explains Mosher.
The designers also delighted in personalizing their first-ever prayer room, a cozy, pattern-laden space that celebrates the family’s faith and South Asian heritage. There, four different wallpapers were deconstructed then pieced together in a bespoke design reminiscent of the intricately tiled rooms of Spain and Morocco. Injecting color into the neutral space, flashes of pink in the clients’ rug and tapestry inspired the peachy silk velvet upholstery on the antique bench.
Bedrooms, meanwhile, introduce another spin on saturation. “The strategy for the bedrooms was to pick one color, and then apply it to everything. Doors, casings and base boards are a satin or gloss version of the same color on the walls,” explains Fearins. Personalizing each chamber one step further, the designers referenced The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, creating mockups of Indian-inspired designs that were then hand-painted onto vintage headboards.
Freshly renovated, the as-delivered bathrooms were crisp and lovely, but that didn’t stop Fearins and Mosher from packing punch there too. The main bathroom was completely transformed alongside general contractor Marty McKenna with a feminine, brass-rimmed custom vanity, gold-toned hardware and sconces, and a warm floral wallpaper that plays tonally to the existing travertine. “That bathroom has amazing light and views of the port and Statue of Liberty,” says Mosher. “The ground of the wallpaper is matte gold, which makes the room glow. We wanted it to feel like bathing in a garden.”
There’s a similar sensation felt throughout the home: drama and eclecticism meeting softness and light. “There’s vibrance but also a feeling of ease. Nothing hits you over the head, but there are so many delightful things to see around every corner,” says Fearins. “The clients were very into color and pattern, and we loved them for it,” agrees Mosher. “But there’s daintiness too—and plenty of places to rest the eye.”