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Brooklyn Baroque

Who says you can’t put pagodas, Pucci ties, monkey wallpaper, a mannequin, and lots of stuffed animals all in the same house?

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A two-designer household can sometimes be a troubled one. But ever since James Aguiar and Mark Haldeman met ten years ago, they have—mostly—been on the same style wavelength. “The mannequin and the eye painting, that is definitely more me,” says Aguiar, a former fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman who’s often on Full Frontal Fashion. “I used to do windows, and part of me loved getting a person to stop.” Yet Haldeman, a retail consultant, says he’s “the one who tends to make the unauthorized purchase” for their Park Slope duplex.

Like the crocodile in the foyer. “This was done while we were living in Paris,” says Aguiar, “and Mark got auction fever. I knew nothing about it until it arrived in New York after weeks of Customs problems. Much to my surprise, it was a dancing crocodile. I finally gave in, and now he greets our guests, but I still prefer my Lambertson Truex crocodile tote to the dancing one in the hall.”

What the couple share is a kind of mix-and-match derring-do—and if one room seems fit for a British castle, another for a Breuer house, so be it. “It’s not pure,” says Aguiar. “What may look sixties to the eye is a whole potpourri of eras: the thirties, the fifties, the seventies, and probably one item that’s actually from the sixties. The modern way of dressing is the modern way in design—there are all of these historical references you can draw upon. We don’t like things that are too perfect. We like the clash of the unexpected.”


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