The Valentines’ Love Letter to Crown Heights - 405 Magazine

The Valentines’ Love Letter to Crown Heights

The Valentines found an established neighborhood they love, and went about updating one of its stately old homes into someplace more distinctively their own.


“I already lived in Crown Heights with my sister,” Tallie says, “And I just loved everything about it. I love the area and the homes. I didn’t want to leave, so we began just driving around regularly, and looking for houses going on the market. We saw this one had been listed on a Tuesday, and by Saturday we were inside, looking at it. We went back to my place and called right away with an offer.”

The quiet, shady northwest neighborhood is filled with ’30s- and ’40s-era houses that offer tons of charm, but also a few architectural challenges.

“Older homes like this can have some unusual space issues,” Tallie admits.

The home’s kitchen and den were heavily remodeled by the previous owner, giving the Valentines the benefit of some modern touches that still honor the house’s original design. The theme of melding old and new is one that flows through the décor, embracing both classic elements and modern touches.

Another consistent motif in the home is a unique combination of tradition and whimsy; bronze skulls share space with Louis XVI-style chairs, and treasured items passed down from family members sit side-by-side with pieces picked up at estate sales and top-of-the-line furnishings.

This singular approach to decorating is a reflection of the Valentines’ philosophy about home and life, making their home a comfortable oasis for them and a treat to visit.“We try to find things we both love and want to have forever,” Tallie says. “It’s cozy and calm, but fun. To me, that’s what it’s all about.” 

• Family friend and garden stylist Linda Vater (see her work at designed the front garden, pairing the perfect plants with containers from Restoration Hardware.

•The neutral tones found throughout the house get a little crisper in the kitchen, with the clean white of the cabinets and sharp black granite countertops. Round tables can help to foster an energetic, convivial atmosphere – principles in keeping with the Valentines’ personality – but they also do great work as space-savers. This antique table was a gift from Tallie’s mom, and the chairs were a consignment store purchase. The substantial, lantern-style light fixture from Mockingbird Manor is an example of the right way to do large-scale in a small space; glass panels keep it from overpowering the area. (Also from Mockingbird Manor, the wall-mounted pig’s head is literally a conversation piece; Tallie reports that the Valentines’ one-year-old son, Sutton, regularly speaks to it.) The red-framed art is a find from Tallie’s time studying abroad in Spain, carried home with her on the plane, and the quirky three-legged centerpiece pot is from A Date With Iris. “We needed extra storage, with all of the baby stuff kept in the kitchen,” Tallie says, “And so the cabinet (from Restoration Hardware) is a way to both store our everyday dinnerware, and display it.”

• A dove gray oven hood and smoky tile backsplash do double duty as both functional items and stylish accents for the kitchen’s rock star; a Bertazzoni gas oven.

• The quaint charm of an older kitchen with the convenience of modern appliances; the apron front sink and retro-styled Dualit toaster (a wedding gift) nod to the home’s age, while the DeLonghi coffee system and Bosch dishwasher provide needed contemporary benefits.

• The stately pillared mantel and beamed ceiling provide the space with a sense of old-school grandeur, and the immense artwork (purchased in Santa Fe) adds an avant-garde touch. Round metal and wood table is from 30A Home, couch and lamps are from Restoration Hardware; wool area rug is from Tabriz.

• A console table from Mecox in Dallas houses some eclectic accessories, and silver ottomans (from Mockingbird Manor) supply extra seating when needed.

• The dining area’s attention-arresting Fortuny chandelier was acquired during a trip to Santa Fe. One of the Valentines’ first purchases was the banquette (from 30A Home), to accentuate the room’s bay windows, which Tallie says were a big selling point for the couple. The round glass table (from McGuire) affords extra room and gives the illusion of more space. Gray-green upholstery on the antique French-style chairs provides a subtle sea-like backdrop for the giant shell centerpiece. (Shell is from; its contents were provided and arranged by The Garden Gnome Bonsai).

• An eclectic example of the Valentines’ propensity to mix fun and form; the smooth lines of the rectangular side table (from Wisteria) and hourglass lamp give balance to the spiky mirror (Horchow) and bronze skulls on the glass vase – a piece Thad loved, from Luxe Objects in Nichols Hills.

• In the master bedroom, a linen-covered headboard has both an aesthetic and practical purpose; hiding a window and giving a soft depth to the Ralph Lauren-clothed bed. Soft neutrals in the bedding and lamps (from Mockingbird Manor) provide a calming atmosphere, but the cowhide lounge chair (a consignment sale find) gives the room the Valentines’ signature pizzazz. Mirrored side tables provide storage and give the illusion of more space. (Art is by Janet O’Neill)

• The large window looking out of one-year-old Sutton’s bedroom provides a Peter Pan-quality to his digs with a view of a much-beloved aspect of the Valentines’ home; the stately and substantial magnolia tree in the backyard. “It’s almost like it’s a treehouse,” Tallie says of the nursery. While the storybook feel of the room supplies a fun environment, the neutral walls, carpet and bedding ensure reusability for future siblings. (Bedding, Neiman Marcus; pouf from T.A. Lorton in Tulsa. Polka dot pillows and stuffed animals from Bebe’s.)

• Transparent furnishings once again come to the rescue in the constant quest to make the older home’s space appear bigger; this time clear acrylic stands in for glass, in the form of a towel rack next to the tub. White blowfish by Jonathan Adler.

• Bookshelf from Restoration Hardware; stuffed animals from Owls are from Jonathan Adler, silver Noah’s Ark frame is by Michael Aram. “Love You Forever x 2” sign is from Sugarboo, and the beads are a rosary received by Sutton for his baptism. Other toys from Coral & Tusk.

• A lollipop-like Eames rack holds a Coral & Tusk banner over a beanbag chair from Bebe’s. Table from Mockingbird Manor; lamp from Luxe Objects.

• Outdoor beanbag chairs lend comfy charm to the bricked patio.