THE DOSSIER: NAME: Adam Charlap Hyman. TRADE: Interior designer. VIBE: Old world elegance with a touch of Surrealist whimsy. ABODE: The parlor floor in a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. CALLING CARD: adamcharlaphyman.com
“I was looking for something that had gracious proportions and the feeling that it had been chopped out of a grand home,” says interior designer Adam Charlap Hyman. The apartment he found, a two room parlor floor in a brownstone in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, met his criteria but it lacked the patina he was hoping for. “It didn’t have any detail; the landlord had stripped everything away. But I thought it would be a good white box for me to play with.” And play he did. He immediately set to work layering in details, from mouldings to light fixtures, conjuring up a space that whispers of another time. Bookcases were installed. He even brought in the black and white fireplace that graces the living room/bedroom. “It’s made of wood which I painted to resemble marble.” In fact, it turns out that Charlap Hyman’s got a surfeit of D.I.Y. talent. What he couldn’t find or afford, he constructed and designed, from the curtains (which he had digitally printed) to the black and white vases that preside over those bookcases (which he molded from wood and clay and then had cast in porcelain).
“I always create stories to go with the rooms I work on,” says Charlap Hyman explaining the motive behind his decorating decisions. “For the dining room/study, I imagined a couple of sophisticated teenagers camping out in a once grand apartment.” The bedroom/living room have a more macabre backstory. “My jumping off point was Proust’s deathbed or a pharaoh’s tomb,” Charlap Hyman says. “It sounds kind of morbid but all of the things that are special and valuable to me are collected in one place.“ The grey and peach color scheme was inspired by Picasso’s rose period, “especially his Jeune garcon au cheval and his portrait of Gertrude Stein.”
Charlap Hyman loves anything anthropomorphic. Witness the human faces and figures scattered throughout the apartment: the skeletal chair Charlap Hyman designed; the solemn faces on the black and white vases; and, the eye paintings that look out from the sunburst over the bed, as well as over the crown moulding. Perhaps his interest is hereditary; they were painted by his mother, Pilar Almon.
“Every single moment in the house is considered and referential,” Charlap Hyman points out, “Whether it’s a scene from a movie or a spread in an Architectural Digest from 1981 or something I read in a book.” Charlap Hyman, an avid shopper culled many of the home’s furnishing from antique stores, thrift shops and flea markets. No matter their provenance, each piece comes with an anecdote. There’s the wicker Haywood Wakefield chair, found in New Jersey, that’s his ode to Madeleine Castaing; the painted tole flower in the blue urn was made by his aunt, Carmen Almon; the black piece on top of the mantel, an 18th century Gustavian lantern, was, fittingly, an eighteenth birthday present. His eye encourages odd pairing: witness the wooden snake, a Chinatown find, that curls over a Renaissance painting of a young girl. “Living in a small space has made me think about the importance of having very good things and possessions that are actually important to me as opposed to just aesthetically pleasing.”
|Bèbè Lantern, Price Upon Request, Adam Charlap Hyman||Antique Persian Melayer Rug, $1950, 1st Dibs|| Chiavari Chair, $34,
|French Black and Gold Gilded Wooden Mirror, $2400, 1st Dibs||Red Toile de Jouy Small Pillow, $78, Your French Gift||AFK Marcheline Chest, $3988, Layla Grace|
| Louis Arm Chair, $529,
|Vintage Roman Ruins IV Poster Print by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, $57, Rakuten||Terrific Tablecloth, From $147, Ballard Designs|
|Jasper Metal Daybed, $156, Hayneedle||Oil Painting Victorian Eye, $498, Second Shout Out||Blue and White Swallow Tail Ginger Jar, $250, Williams-Sonoma|
|Wooden Snake Toy, $6, Amazon||Moroccan Swallow Tray, $66, Jayson Home||Honed Striped Marble Candlesticks, $695, Kelly Wearstler|
Photographs: Reid Rolls