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A century-old Gowanus townhouse gets a quirky, modern redo

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How a design-oriented couple completely transformed a run-down Brooklyn townhouse

What happens when an interior designer and a lighting designer decide to renovate a century-old Brooklyn townhouse? In the case of Merrill Lyons and Charles Brill, the home in question becomes a colorful, family-friendly oasis. The couple recently opened their doors to Dwell, showcasing the "warm mix of historic periods and styles" that make up their Gowanus home.

This renovation project isn’t the first one the couple has tackled together: They completely transformed an East Village one-bedroom in 2009, a process that led Lyons to her current career as the head of her own design studio.

And though there were new challenges during their renovation of the Gowanus townhouse—the birth of the couple’s son, for one; he arrived just two months after it was finished—the process went fairly smoothly. According to Dwell, they finished it in six months with a budget of $300,000.

Transforming the house involved "gutting it down to the brick facade, beams, and stair railings," according to Dwell, and though the floor plan was not changed, modern updates were added throughout. Brill and his father installed a deck; the kitchen and living room were both inspired by Scandinavian design; and the furnishings are a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces, with antiques and Eames designs getting equal prominence. Light fixtures came from Brill’s company, Rich Brilliant Willing.

And while much of the color palette is neutral, there are some bright pops throughout—peep the lovely coral and turquoise vestibule—that give the space a warm, family-friendly feeling and keep it from being too design-y.

Get a more thorough peek inside the space over on Dwell.