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A Nineteenth-Century Duplex in Brooklyn Heights

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Firm Glenn Gissler Design
Client Himself. “I edit, add, delete, then add, delete, and move everything some more,” says Gissler.
Completed “It’s not done. It’s never done. There is no done,” he says.
Specialty Interiors that are understated yet polished and complement the architectural design
Upcoming A townhouse in Larchmont and a huge duplex in the West Village

Interior designer Glenn Gissler called Manhattan home for nearly 30 years. Never did he think he’d find himself living in Brooklyn Heights in his mid-fifties as a single dad. “I’d been to Brooklyn Heights maybe five times in my whole life,” says Gissler. But a year ago, an afternoon of real-estate exploration with his daughter, Siena, 12, unearthed a two-story Victorian cottage that elicited an “Oh my God, Dad, this is so cool!” response. Three months later, they were Brooklynites.

The art-filled, 1,500-square-foot duplex is something of a departure from the “half-full, half-empty” design approach Gissler is known for—that a space should feel as empty as it is full. According to his theory, if there’s an entire wall of books in a room, there should be another wall left bare. “I’m a collector, so this is definitely more on the full side,” he says.

But in truth, aside from the addition of two walls (a large one separating his daughter’s room from the kitchen and a small one extending the sitting area upstairs), most of the transformation boils down to warm paint colors and an ingenious use of mirrors—and Gissler’s extensive collection of art and furniture.

“The biggest project was ‘un-kitchening’ the kitchen, which was also the entryway,” he says. Because it was the first thing guests saw when they entered the home, Gissler downplayed its functionality by replacing the see-through glass cabinets and backsplash with wire-glass mirrors, which splendidly bounced natural light around the first floor.

Upstairs, the dark-brown paint plays up the original wood beams and his selection of his artwork on paper. “It’s my Paris atelier,” says Gissler. “I never in a million years thought I’d have this. Who knew I just needed to come to Brooklyn to get it?”


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