The Secret in a Brooklyn Apartment Redo? Plywood

You sense the balance when you walk in the front door. The entry and stairwell’s original woodwork is painted a charcoal gray, and the walls are covered with a black-on-white wallpaper, by the New York artist and designer Jill Malek, with a web of connected lines that are meant to evoke flight map networks. Houses of this period, Mr. Salasky observed, “scream for wallpaper, because the walls of the stairwells are so high.”

From this space, double pocket doors, their raised wood panels replaced with textured wire glass — a reference to the industrial-chic craze that produced Joan Kron and Suzanne Slesin’s influential 1978 book“High-Tech: The Industrial Style and Source Book for the Home” — open into the living room.


A detail view of a pair of large Eames storage units in the kitchen. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Here, Mr. Salasky’s way with plywood is immediately apparent, in the two-foot-square floor panels, painted with a sky blue porch and floor enamel, and in the window frames, which are stained with Monocoat, a floor-finishing product, in a warm gray. Even the living room ceiling is plywood, stained with white paint to bring out the grain. (Jane Krupp, an artist, designer and color consultant, helped choose the paint colors.)

But it’s the chunky bookshelves — each shelf is made of two three-quarter-inch-thick lengths of plywood that are laminated together, then mounted on hardware-store brackets and standards — that steal the show, creating a sort of Minimalist-sculptural counterpoint to the carved wood fireplace and its morning-glory tiles. While Mr. Salasky was attracted to plywood for its low cost and loft-living vibe, he credited Michael Andaloro, the project’s construction manager, who “guided me, wisely, to a more substantial rendition that was more finely detailed.”


In the master bathroom, Mr. Salasky dropped the ceiling and carved a larger circular opening into a small square skylight. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Against this backdrop, Mr. Salasky arranged a variety of 20th-century modern furnishings, including a 1941 Ectoplasmic coffee table by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller, a Model 32 sofa by Florence Knoll covered in an Alexander Girard fabric from Maharam and a pair of square Paul McCobb stools upholstered in Pendelton blankets.

A wood cabinet, designed in the 1950s by Merton Gershun for American of Martinsville, sits under a pair of contemporary posters by the London graphic designers MuirMcNeil; Mr. Salasky is particularly fond of the cabinet because it was made in Virginia, his home state. Nearby, a full-length portrait of Mr. Salasky, painted in the 1980s by Jack Ceglic, the artist and designer who was one of the founders of Dean & DeLuca, leans against an adjacent wall.

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