Decorate A Dreamhouse, Manhattan Brownstone (Cont'd.) + Lemony Lemon Brownies Bonus Recipe

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Written By: Patricia Lynne
Editor: Sarahjoy Crain

In my current Something Beautiful Journal entry, "Decorate A Dreamhouse," I'm imagining I'm living in a Manhattan Brownstone in the Upper West Side Of New York, like the ones shown at left.

My Brownstone located in the Upper West Side is among the State of New York's finest neighborhoods, with its charming, brownstone facade and classic styling; the neighborhood is favored for its historical value, dating back to the nineteenth century. Its wonderfulness includes:

  • My Brownstone is located on a tree-lined street just one-and-a-half blocks from Central Park in one direction and one-and-a-half blocks from Riverside Park (overlooking the Hudson River) in the other; it's just steps away from several subway and bus lines, making all of the City's wonderful attractions easily and quickly accessible.
  • A short cab ride, bus, or 10 minute subway ride puts you right in the heart of midtown with the theatre district, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, Times Square, the shopping of Fifth Avenue and MOMA. You can walk to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the fabulous Museum Mile, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim, The Museum of the City of New York, etc. 
  • SoHo and Tribeca, with their unique, interesting shops and galleries, are a quick subway-ride away. This Upper West Side neighborhood was recently featured as New York's hottest restaurant row. 
  • The exterior of my particular Brownstone has been tweaked a tad - I painted every inch of the exterior of my unit enamel white. It stands out - the detail of the stair rails appears even more stunning in white.

  • The interiors are a fresh, sophisticated cottage look, with a mix of Swedish and French antiques. The color scheme is subdued; my unit is open and airy and full of light helping to provide a feel of endless space - enhanced by 12' ceilings.
  • Although it is fresh-looking and on the side of contemporary, there are unexpected accents throughout the house that are antiques or that have been painted and decorated in a way that lend intentionally to the drama of agelessness.
  • Ensuring that wonderful quality of comfort, I have purposely made it welcoming and romantic through the combination of color and texture (including provision of monogrammed bedding, Egyptian cotton sheets and wonderfully soft blankets and throws).

We're going inside now so please join me as I write in my SB Journal on decorating the interiors of my sophisticated Manhattan Brownstone.

Decorating My Dreamhouse Formal Entryway:

When you enter my Brownstone, there is a small formal entryway and here you are greeted by the resonance of this significant Swedish late Gustavian Grandfather Clock as it chimes in the new hour. The warmth of its sound brings life to my house.

It is one of the many beautiful antiques available from Talisman Antiques of London.

Decorating My Dreamhouse Living Room:

The windows in my Brownstone are significant - they are numerous and oversized owing to the 12' ceilings.
The window coverings are simple but elegant, also a nod to a more contemporary look. I've avoided ornate valances, cornices, tiebacks and tassels. They are a simple silk drapery style that just slightly forms a "puddle and poof" on my floor.

Hanging in the center of my Manhattan Brownstone living area is this dramatic 59" high black Murano Style Venetian Noir Chandelier .  This beautiful hanging light is available from the Something Beautiful Shoppe.

The chandelier's style is a reproduction 17th-century Venetian-style chandelier, the curves and strength of the black is an important feature with other pieces throughout the room.

Fell in love with this white linen Swedish settee From Tone
On Tone Antiques. The curbed backrest and cut outs are delicate and a perfect backing for the detailed embroidered and pearl decorated lumbar pillow. The frame includes laurel leaf trim, applied lion masks & flowerettes, front turned fluted legs & rear sabering legs.

The coffee table measures 58" x 33" - and is definitely 'art as furniture.' By Eva Zeisel, this piece is one of my home's favorite unexpected accents.
Born in 1906 and still designing today, Eva Zeisel is known world wide for her work with clay but it was not until she was in her 80's that she began designing coffee tables. Zeisel is a recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award For Lifetime Achievement. The Eva Zeisel Coffee Table is available from Design Within Reach.

Again I chose muted fabric color tones on these upholstery pieces, my Club Chairs, French Napoleon III, dating back from the 1870's to 1880's. From Tone On Tone Antiques, the chairs are covered in a heavy Belgian linen and each chair holds a very soft-colored, floral decorative pillow.

The Louis Ghost Transparent Chair is both enchanting and comfortable.

With classic baroque style and innovative modern design, in a short time this chair has become an iconic piece in the canon of Philippe Starck for its instantly recognizable Louis XVI chair shape pared down to an essential form and boldly reinterpreted in plastic.

And ..... it is sitting in my living room - - a-hem, just a cute little sidechair.

The "Manuscrit Rug" is my choice for underfoot - Joaquim Ruiz Millet is an architect and designer, and a writer, filmmaker and gallery directory. His Manuscrit Rug is an expression of all of his passions and features a romantic poem that he wrote in his native Catalan. It features the actual handwriting of the designer, the rug is an enlargement of a page in a novel Ruiz Millet is working on.

Last but not least, artwork for my living area's walls:
I have chosen this one oversized artwork by Pablo Picasso, "Evening Flowers." It has been framed and matted to just over 5' .

I find that my living room area is dynamic with its tall, elegant drapery presentations, beautiful but subtle Swedish pieces, the explosively-black chandelier, overhead, the artwork-as-furniture coffee table by Eva Zeisel and then, of course, the Manuscrit Rug. It is lovely and complete and I rest at the selection of this one very large art piece.

Decorating My Dreamhouse Dining Area:

This beautiful dining collection is from Maison
Home Interiors which is located in Richmond, Virginia.

I love the tall global candleholders and how they play off the glass reflections in the crystal chandelier and off of the tall cabinet's glass fronts.

On the opposite wall I have the Ballards Canterbury sideboard in cream, and also from Ballards, the Lemon Topiary Tree.

Decorating My Dreamhouse Master Bedroom:

My bedding is romantic with its scrumptious feeling, goose-down insert duvet, monogrammed pillow shams and embroidered bedding. Both the bed and bedding are from Pottery Barn.

I like comfy places to sit and read. I like to put my feet up, I like a nice view. These two pieces fit my needs and I like the tactile feel and look they offer my bedroom - the natural woven Seagrass Wingback Armchair and Ottoman, are also from Pottery Barn.

I love waking up and seeing this Anastasia Mirror - it is graceful while the shelf with its contents allows it to look as if it is a functional piece.

Decorating My Dreamhouse Rear Yard

Living in Upper West Manhattan doesn't allow for grand sized gardens and courtyards, let alone a swimming pool. But we did it.

Good planning = greenery and more than adequate walking, meandering and entertaining space.

If decorating isn't easy for you or if you are in need of some particular interior design assistance, our designers at the Something Beautiful Shoppe will be happy to work with you - working with professional helps assure you get the look you deserve while helping eliminate costly mistakes.

This has been so much fun, writing my "Decorating A Dreamhouse," this time in the Upper West Side in a Manhattan Brownstone. Of course I just imagined decorating it, but I desired to create an inviting, sophisticated but enchanting home.

I could so live here. Couldn't you?

Click Below To Read: Other "Decorate A Dreamhouse" Articles

A Bonus Recipe For You - Lemony Lemon Brownies:

The 'Brownie' Batter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Tart Lemon Glaze

1 rounded cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
8 teaspoons lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350deg.F.  Grease / spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with butter / cooking spray and set aside.

Zest and juice two small / large lemons; set aside (can substitute lemon juice)

In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt and softened butter until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies come out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing.  Do not overbake or the bars will be dry (even with the yummy glaze).

When brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze . . . sift the powdered sugar, add lemon zest and juice, and whisk together all three ingredients.  Spread 1/2 the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula.  Let glaze set.  Spread the remaining glaze over the bars and let it set. This glaze does not harden like most.  Cut into bars and serve!

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