"We wanted it to feel like some old person lived here for a long time and we just walked in." That's how Reno Dakota described the Victorian-style decor of his Bed-Stuy brownstone to the Times, and for the most part, the house achieves that goal?except for the massive clown head that hangs from the ceiling in the entryway. Dakota bought the house with his partner in 2005 for $545,000, and they have spent the last seven years and $150,000 meticulously restoring and decorating the brownstone with the Victorian era in mind. Vintage patterned wallpaper, ornate dark woodwork, and lush antique rugs cover almost every room.
There are jewelry boxes full of Victorian buttons and knickknacks, stacks of dusty cloth-covered books, and dreary oil landscape paintings in gaudy gold frames. They use a 19th century gynecological exam table as their coffee table, and they have an antique gentlemen's desk that once belonged to Katherine Hepburn. As for the clown head? That's a remnant from Dakota's days as a nightclub designer.