Online | Interiors

Personal Experimentation

Brooklyn, New York

Swedish interior designer Daniel Lonnstrom shaped his Brooklyn home around an abiding love for collectible design and the history of decorative arts

With the level of detail – and beauty – reflected in this home, it’s hard to fathom that its interior transformation took only three months. “The original walls of the apartment had an orange peel texture, which required a lot of preparation work in order to achieve the desired finish,” remembers interior designer Daniel Lonnstrom. Originally from Sweden, today Lonnstrom lives in New York with his partner Elly McGaw.

Situated in a prewar building from 1930 in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, the home now features lime-washed walls in an earthy tone, creating movement and adding depth.

“I really like the idea of combining different materials to bring a dynamic environment to life and I approached our apartment the same way – with a balance of warm and cold elements, such as wood and metal, and hard and soft surfaces,” Lonnstrom explains. Aiming to create a calm, inspiring space to provide sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, the Lonnstrom opted for a soft, soothing palette.

“The 1940s French oak Charles Dudouyt table in the main living area is the first piece I purchased for the home, in a very last-minute auction, without much time to consider if it was going to fit,” remembers Lonnstrom. “Thankfully it works great in the space and I used it as a base to build out colours and textures of the scheme.”

The magic comes with the layering and detail: a piece of art with touches of burgundy, a rich caramel mohair armchair and an iron and leather settee in the manner of Jean-Michel Frank, with a Schumacher zebra print for good measure, mix without disrupting the overall balance. Just some of the carefully curated pieces that subtly speak to each other: a primitive African stool next to a Daphine Terra floor lamp by Tommaso Cimini; an Alvar Aalto 66 chair and a Mario Botta Prima chair by Alias that all sit on a Nordic Knots rug with vintage ceramic vessels in the background; plus a Francisque Chaleyssin chair circa 1940 covered in new mohair fabric and a Pierre Chareau SN3 side table.

Reflecting a sense of individuality through several design periods and styles, Lonnstrom strives to create a feeling – for his own home and for clients –that interiors have been lived in for ages, even if the project has just been completed.

“I’ve been collecting furniture and decorative objects for a long time so I already have a lot of these items,” he says. “But I also wanted to experiment with art and lighting, which is why I custom made some of the artworks and the aluminium wall sconce to bring in various materials and combine them with the surrounding textures.”

Describing his apartment as “a piece of my European heritage in New York,” Lonnstrom makes sure there is always something that draws the eye in, without overstimulating. “One of the challenges working on your own home is that it is never really finished,” he says. “You can keep working on it forever, always experimenting and using it as a way to communicate various ideas.”