Monday, October 14, 2013

The New York Times
By Julie Earle-Levine

A Grand Tour of Brooklyn Design

In 2011, the writer Anne Hellman completed a gut renovation of a town house in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, an experience that prompted her to write a book about the borough’s buildings and spaces. “I started thinking about other houses, and it quickly became 10 and more,” Hellman said. “There were so many stories. I started reaching out to architects. By fall I was contacting neighborhood associations in Brooklyn. It was a good two years.” In “Design Brooklyn: Renovation, Restoration, Innovation, Industry” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $40), she profiles new and historical public and private spaces from all the neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Above is a sneak peek at some of the spaces she included in the book, which hits shelves Oct. 22 and features more than 150 photographs by Michel Arnaud. It’s packed with engaging back stories of Brooklyn’s homes, shops, restaurants and public institutions like Fort Greene Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center in Prospect Heights. There are also interviews with some of Brooklyn’s finest, including Mike Diamond from the Beastie Boys, who restored a brownstone not far from Hellman’s place in Cobble Hill. Because 256 pages wasn’t enough to showcase all of the grand design material she found, she started a blog last December to give voice to the 15 or so stories that were left on the cutting room floor and provide a platform for new Brooklyn design stories.