Home Lifestyle It Started With a Pink Kitchen. Then the Colors Got Even Bolder.

It Started With a Pink Kitchen. Then the Colors Got Even Bolder.

It Started With a Pink Kitchen. Then the Colors Got Even Bolder.


As Giovanni Botta and Amanda Pinegar began planning their renovation of the house they bought in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, they knew one thing for sure: The kitchen would have to be pink.

“We had already decided on the refrigerator, which is pink,” said Ms. Pinegar, 44, a ceramic artist. “And we wanted a kitchen that would enhance that.”

To complement the pink kitchen, they considered lots of other bright colors, too.

“Amanda wanted it really bold,” said Mr. Botta, 42, a software engineer at Waymo, the driverless car company owned by Alphabet. This was nothing new: In their previous home, they had painted their bedroom yellow and pink.

The couple had bought the townhouse for $1.6 million in November 2021, in the throes of the pandemic, as they struggled to live comfortably with their twin daughters, now 7.

“Honestly, we thought we were going to leave New York,” Ms. Pinegar said. “But we rented a house for a year and realized that it wasn’t New York we were tired of — it was living in a 900-square-foot apartment with twins.”

Their new townhouse, which had nearly 2,100 square feet spread over two floors, as well as a finished basement, offered significantly more space. But it had been broken up into three units with dated finishes, so it needed work.

The family moved in temporarily as they began interviewing architects, only to find that many didn’t share their enthusiasm for the creative use of color — or their conviction that the renovation could be done on a budget of about $400,000.

But when they met Luki Anderson, of Brooklyn-based Studio Officina, they discovered a kindred spirit. “I really love color, so it was an easy sell,” Ms. Anderson said. “They were really awesome clients, and it was a really fun project.”

Ms. Anderson had many of the interior walls removed, turning the townhouse into an airy single-family home. On the parlor level, she designed a living room in front, an expanded kitchen and dining area in back, and a library in between.

Mr. Botta and Ms. Pinegar wanted lots of ceramic tile, so Ms. Anderson suggested a collection by Nathalie Du Pasquier for Mutina, with various patterns that work together. They used the tiles to create a long runway extending from the front entrance to the kitchen at the back of the house.

Upstairs, Ms. Anderson designed a new primary suite, three additional bedrooms and another bathroom. In the basement, she conceived a casual family room with a Marmoleum floor, a powder room and a music room for Mr. Botta.

In the fall of 2021, Ms. Anderson requested preliminary pricing from a couple of contractors, who promised the renovation could be completed on budget. “It seemed like if we went with the right person, it would be tight but doable,” she said.

But 2022 brought trouble. It took a few months to finalize the design details and secure a building permit, and by then inflation had pushed up the costs. The couple also discovered that the wooden structure had extensive termite damage that needed to be repaired.

New bids “came in for more than twice what we expected,” Mr. Botta said. Some contractors priced the job at $1 million.

Rather than look for cheaper options to replace the materials they were excited about — including the Mutina tile and new oak flooring to replace the old bamboo — they decided to postpone most of their plans for the top floor.

Then they doubled down on the parlor level. To ensure the color scheme was exactly what they wanted, the couple scheduled a virtual consultation with Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball’s London-based color curator, at Ms. Anderson’s suggestion.

To keep the house light and bright, Ms. Studholme suggested neutral shades, including oatmeal-colored Stirabout and cooler Strong White for most of the walls. But she chose vibrant colors for window and door trim, including Yellowcake, bright green Danish Lawn and warm red Bamboozle. To introduce more color into the tiled hallway, she suggested bold Dinnerware blue, painted from the floor to the height of a chair rail — and instructed the couple to apply the paint straight across doors and trim. For the ideal pink kitchen, they agreed on Cinder Rose.

“It was all about tuning into the clients’ wishes and creating a scheme that was appealing for young children as well as the young at heart,” Ms. Studholme said.

In the end, the couple managed to accomplish a few things upstairs, including removing the old kitchen and renovating the bathroom, where they installed Tetris-inspired tile with eight different colors (two selected by each family member).

The total cost of the renovation, completed by Emiliano Construction, rose to $538,000, but Mr. Botta and Ms. Pinegar are so pleased with the result that they’ve almost forgotten about having to postpone their upstairs plans.

“We haven’t even thought about it for a while,” Ms. Pinegar said. “We probably could have done the whole place if we had scaled back on the things we really wanted — but we really wanted those things.”

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