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Timeless Grace: The Work of Louise Brooks
A round-up of stories featuring the multi-talented Connecticut architectural designer
Traditional Home has been showing timeless, graceful homes and kitchens designed by Louise Brooks for more than 15 years. The Connecticut architectural designer founded her design business in 1988; the firm is now known as Brooks and Falotico. Her design talents are varied—she’s known for superlative flow among rooms, white and ivory palettes, and classic architectural touches. Anyone renovating a house (and especially a kitchen) take note: She has a wonderful ability to reconfigure a space while keeping it appropriate to a home’s design, using every square inch to great advantage.
Here, we’ve gathered some of the best Louise Brooks work we’ve featured throughout the years
Kitchen Remodel - Range
Louise renovated her sister’s galley kitchen and added a sitting room to create a space more conducive to conversation.
Kitchen Remodel - Island
Brooks incorporated storage wherever possible, including clever spice cabinets tucked in the mantel-style niche that tops the range and also conceals the vent hood. A TV is concealed in the island behind cabinet doors facing the sofa.
Vintage boat lamps were refurbished and suspended above the 10x4-foot island, a nod to the homeowners’ passion for sailing. The warm copper and brass finish on the fixtures inspired the golden peach paint color used on the kitchen walls.
Kitchen Remodel – Breakfast Nook
Laundry facilities were moved upstairs, opening up space at one end of the kitchen for a sunny breakfast nook. An antique oval table and white-painted chairs pull up to a built-in window seat topped with pillows. Classic wood trim and crown moldings frame the breakfast nook and are suitable for the 1930s shingle-style house.
Another smart storage idea: The window seat holds seasonal cooking supplies.
Kitchen Remodel – Cozy Space
A kitchen wall was bumped out to create a sunny sitting area with a fireplace next to the renovated kitchen. The wood-burning fireplace, also trimmed with white wood paneling, is visible from the kitchen work area.
Sunny Conservatory - Seating
Working with a company specializing in conservatory construction, Brooks designed an English-style conservatory on a Connecticut family’s 50-year-old Colonial. The bump-out bay is furnished for reading with a cozy arrangement of quilted linen chairs and a love seat on a soft abaca rug.
Sunny Conservatory – Addition
The two-level addition features a window-lined 18x23-foot room with an 11x6-foot bay, crowned by a glass roof. The glass-lined conservatory spans the width of the house with the bump-out bay facing the front of the property. To make the structure look original to the house, the concrete foundation was faced with limestone.
Sunny Conservatory – French Doors
French doors open the conservatory to the patio and pool, allowing for easy movement when the homeowners entertain large groups.
Sunny Conservatory – Dining Space
The 101/2- to 181/2-foot-high angled glass ceiling and walls of windows called for hefty furnishing. The large pedestal table and high-back chairs keep the room visually grounded.
Sunny Conservatory - Breezeway
Brooks designed a 20x10-foot breezeway-style hall to link the addition to the existing house and to provide access from the front of the house to the backyard. The family’s home office and library are located across the hall from the conservatory.
Sunny Conservatory - Overall
Rope lighting installed in the cove molding, antique hanging lantern fixtures, and a variety of table and floor lamps illuminate the conservatory for multi-purposes, from reading to dinner parties.
“The room is really beautiful at night,” says Brooks. “The cove lighting brightens and enhances the architectural features of the space.”
Lovely and Livable – Family Room
Ned and Louise Brooks moved into their New Canaan, Connecticut home in 1985. What was originally a screened porch became a home office when Louise went back to work full-time. When she moved her office, it became a place where her teenagers could relax and enjoy privacy while entertaining their friends and it now serves as the family/TV room.
Lovely and Livable – Kitchen
Although Louise had designed several different kitchens over the years, when she finally redid this one, she used a completely different plan. The new kitchen is a bright, breezy mix of Delft tile, gray-veined white marble, and creamy white cabinets.
Lovely and Livable - Pantry
When she designed the new kitchen, Louise also added a pantry. Fashioned for utility, it still offers plenty of charm with its glass-front cabinets, honed marble counters, and a dish rack to display her delft china.
Lovely and Livable - Porch
Off the kitchen, a wall of French doors opens up to a new covered porch made possible by extending the old garage. It’s a favorite spot for Ned and Louise to dine and entertain friends.
Lovely and Livable – Master Suite
The Brookses built their new master bedroom suite over the kitchen but extended it farther into the backyard to create a covered porch below it. Now French doors lead out to a balcony overlooking the terraced garden Louise designed.
Lovely and Livable – Backyard View
Clustered columns frame the covered porch and support the deck off the master bedroom. The graceful columns are repeated on those holding up the new portico on the front of the house.
Island Style – Overall Kitchen
Brooks helped a Connecticut couple transform their kitchen from a utility room to a room that is every bit as well-designed and detailed as the rest of their home. The kitchen presented some unique problems, like windows too low to allow for counters and cabinets, and four different doorways into the room. To provide needed storage and aid the traffic pattern, Brooks’s design called for two islands. The new coffered ceiling also helps bring visual order, not to mention visual interest, to the room.
Sunshine and Sensibility – Living Room
To help a California girl feel more at home in New England, Louise Brooks renovated to let in light. Walls of windows and French doors give the living room a conservatory feel.
Sunshine and Sensibility – Dining Room
The dining room is almost as sun-filled as the living room. China cupboards accent three corners of the room; a fireplace fills the fourth. French doors open onto a sunny terrace.
Sunshine and Sensibility – Kitchen Backsplash
A pressed-tin backsplash behind the range and a bell-shaped hood above it add to the room’s period feel. Thick, honed marble tops the kitchen counters.
Sunshine and Sensibility – Kitchen Collection
Homeowner Serena’s collection of vintage cookie jars inspired the kitchen’s “classic, timeless style.” The jars are showcased in glass-front cabinets with hefty polished nickel hinges and pulls. Adding to the vintage look are a separate refrigerator and freezer that are finished with cabinet faces and nickel hardware to resemble old-fashioned iceboxes.
Sunshine and Sensibility – Dining Nook
To keep the kitchen’s dining nook from feeling too dressy, Serena furnished the space with an antique pine table and Swedish-style chairs.
California girl Serena often leaves the French doors throughout the house open—even if it means risking the family’s two cats bringing in captured mice. “That’s the worst!” Serena exclaims, “but I can’t bring myself to close the doors. I don’t want to close off the world.”
Quietly Elegant – Dining Room
A sea-loving Louise Brooks planned her new Long Island home so she and her husband could be close to the water. Dark floors and classic details set the tone for her quietly classical home.
Rattan side chairs and upholstered host chairs complement the trestle table in the dining alcove off the living room.
Quietly Elegant – Living Room
Creamy white upholstery and a gray-and-cream striped rug from Elizabeth Eakins set a serene mood. Ship lanterns on the built-in shelves and a painting of Edgartown harbor above the mantel are nods to the coastal setting.
Quietly Elegant - Kitchen
Floor-to-ceiling plate racks are signature features in kitchens designed by Louise Brooks. “They’re decorative but also useful,” she says. “It’s so easy to find what you need.” In the kitchen, the range is tucked into an arched niche with a white Waterworks tile backsplash accented with turquoise dots. A similar hue is repeated in the lantern light fixtures from Urban Electric.
Quietly Elegant – Sitting Area
The sofa and armchairs in the sitting area adjacent to the kitchen are covered in a cozy, soft-blue corduroy with accents of white piping. Raffia cubes and the coffee and side tables are from Oomph.
Quietly Elegant - Patio
Deep furniture makes for luxurious lounging in an intimate outdoor sitting area off the terrace. Playful patterned pillows give the space color and texture. Under the portico, shutters shelter an outdoor dining area.
The Sidecar, price available upon request from Moore & Giles [1-800-737-0169]
This beautifully crafted bar cart, The Sidecar by Moore and Giles, is a great way to store liquor, glassware, bar tools, and anything else needed to complete your own miniature bar. The cart, made of Virginia black walnut, birch, leather, aluminum, and brass, is wheeled to make sure the party can travel with you. Perfect for drink-lovers without the space for a full bar.