The Brooklyn White House

A Carroll Gardens apartment, all in white.

"I painted my Scrabble box white," said Jane Borock, 32. "It was hard to find the other night when I wanted to play!"

Borock, a native New Yorker and 6-year resident of Carroll Gardens, continually decorates her railroad apartment in nearly all white -- a bold statement. When a space is primarily white, it takes on a new meaning beyond being a place to eat, sleep and entertain. It is interactive and provocative. 

Borock wasn't motivated by any one inspiration in particular; instead she is focused on the process of decorating and transforming pieces to match.

She describes her home as "not a stark, modern white," but rather a space in which the tactile sense is more appreciated. She likens the experience to when you close your eyes and your hearing is magnified.

In her apartment, you notice texture without the distraction of colors and patterns. The 3D becomes more powerful than the 2D.

The all-white style, also the design choice of Governor Andrew Cuomo's girlfriend and TV cooking show host Sandra Lee, serves as a calm backdrop, inviting you to interpret your surroundings depending on the season, your mood or what is on your mind.

"In the winter, people will come over and say things like what a nice wintry white and in the summer, I'll get comments about a beach theme," said Borock, who is a freelance art director and attended the School of Visual Arts.

Friends and family further interact with the space when they give Borock gifts. If the present isn't white, they usually give her a can of white paint, too.

There is almost nothing in her apartment that strays from the monochromatic theme. The TV is white, wine glasses are white, floors are white. White beans are displayed as art along with a jar of puzzle pieces that Borock painted.

"It's impossible to solve now" she said with a laugh.

Her furniture is a collection of found objects and pieces from Ikea. One of her favorites is a bench that she made from slabs of wood that she discovered on the Brooklyn waterfront.

"I'm so excited when I find something I like on the street," she said. "Strangers almost always help carry the furniture back to my apartment or lend me a dolley."

In the winter, and especially during the holidays, many people in the neighborhood get rid of household items, when they're replaced by gifts. In the warmer months, they clean house and an abundance of goodies are thrown out. There is always something to be found and upcycled (recyled and improved), with a coat of white paint, of course.

Her love of continuously searching for discarded treasure means that Borock easily rotates pieces in and out of her apartment.

"I don't buy too much, so I don't mind getting rid of things when I find something new," she said.

And in true Carroll Gardens spirit, she often has stoop sales.

Borock's one-hued apartment reminds us of the different aspects of home decoration, beyond the visual. Texture, shape and the feelings that a home evokes are just as important and breathe new life into the art of décor. 

arielmnop March 08, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Jane's cool.
Eva Whitney March 08, 2011 at 11:29 PM


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