Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Brooklyn Backyard Visit: A Developer-Built Home Finds Its Outer Cool

Search

Brooklyn Backyard Visit: A Developer-Built Home Finds Its Outer Cool

June 24, 2020

The challenge of buying a brand-new developer-built house is that while such homes may be chock-full of shiny amenities, they’re often lacking in the personality department. That’s usually the case for both the interior and exterior—which is why, when the owners of a generic new build in Brooklyn decided to fill it in with more soulful finishes and touches, they tapped an interior decorator and a landscape designer.

Brook Klausing, of Brook Landscape, was more than up for the challenge. One of our favorite landscape designers and a former judge for Gardenista’s Considered Design Awards, he has made a career of transforming claustrophobic, view-challenged New York City outdoor spaces into sanctuary gardens.

“A developer had just finished the six-story building in Williamsburg, and it didn’t have nice details or surfaces throughout the building and property,” says Brook. “The garden and all the terraces had porcelain tiles with stucco walls and a very blank canvas.” By employing natural textures—cleft bluestone tiles, ipe wood salvaged from a boardwalk in the Rockaways—and a mix of soft plantings, he managed to turn a rigid and blah stucco box into a lush urban escape.

Let’s take a tour.

Photography by Douglas Lyle Thompson, courtesy of Brook Landscape.

&#8
Above: “The clients are a younger hip couple. He works in music tech, and she just had their first kid,” says Brook of the homeowners. “They wanted to soften the sterile commercial feeling that permeated throughout the interior and exterior. They were interested in a more natural, earthy material palette with looser plantings.”
The building is six stories high. The most difficult part of the project was &#8
Above: The building is six stories high. The most difficult part of the project was “the five-floor walk up to the top two roof terraces,” says Brook, who also designed those terraces. A transparent glass barrier surrounds the lightwell that shoots down to the basement-level office and music studio. Next to it, a potted river birch stands over vinca and liriope plantings.
Brook wrapped the walls here with ipe wood salvaged from the Rockaways boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy. A mix of the same wood and cleft bluestone tiles form the patio. &#8
Above: Brook wrapped the walls here with ipe wood salvaged from the Rockaways boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy. A mix of the same wood and cleft bluestone tiles form the patio. “The original tile on the property was just too slick, so we decided to go with a natural cleft bluestone to get some extra texture and realness to offset the crisp new building,” he explains.
About the marble bench: &#8
Above: About the marble bench: “I’m a collector of raw materials, and we found a vendor that had about eight large random marble leftovers from MoMA’s courtyard renovation a few years ago. We had been sitting (haha) on them for a while, so we made a bench out of two of them. We wanted something memorable with a story and these marble slabs definitely were the answer.”
The outdoor lounge chairs and coffee table are by Adolini+Simonini.
Above: The outdoor lounge chairs and coffee table are by Adolini+Simonini.
Brook had a pergola and trellis built for &#8
Above: Brook had a pergola and trellis built for “softening and shade” on the roof terrace. Potted river birch and dogwood trees anchor two corners. The dining set is from Restoration Hardware.
Brook chose plantings that would thrive in the &#8
Above: Brook chose plantings that would thrive in the “semi-sun” garden (“New Yorkers love to pretend that one to three hours of light a day is full sun, but I’m a bit skeptical of this”)—including boxwood, Carex pensylvanica, dogwood, Russian sage, and English ivy for the back wall. In the planter on the left are hydrangea, painted ferns, Ilex, and Liriope. The real winner in this garden, though, is the Irish moss, says Brook. “It creates the perfect soft patch as a lawn alternative and really hugs the path stones and bench, making them really stand out.”

For more Brooklyn gardens we love, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0