Duplex Apartment

This brownstone duplex – Glenn Gissler’s own — in the heart of historic Brooklyn Heights, represents a fine distillation of the designer’s development over the past three decades. The tailored, masculine sensibility of these rooms is expressed through unabashedly dark colors–camel, chocolate brown, and  green-black–which create a subdued yet rich background for Glenn’s collection of art, furniture and objects, grouped in tableaux which he regularly rearranges.

As a collector of Arts & Crafts and Aesthetic Movement furniture, both American and British, he free reign in this apartment to incorporate seminal examples of such design. Thus a Liberty & Co. “Thebes” stool has pride of place beside a very contemporary settee, upholstered in a chocolate and cinnamon woven stripe. Christopher Dresser ceramics, contemporary drawings and other works on paper, including distinctive “outsider art” harmonize with curtains patterned like African fabric and a rich selection of natural yet polished materials–dark green granite, exotic hardwoods, and burnished metals.

With its imposing wall of books, the downstairs sitting area doubles as a library.

The living room is a layered, complex arrangement of both geometric and more biomorphic forms. The custom coffee table is assertively asymmetrical, while the green-glazed ceramics, by Christopher Dresser for Linthorpe, are rounded and gourd-like. The “Thebes” stool is a Gissler signature, a favorite form he incorporates into various interiors.

Curtains in patterned fabric by Pollack form the backdrop for a tall dark green Mexican ceramic and a sculpture by Christopher Dresser.

A crisp classic of early 20th century design–De Stijl designer Gerrit Rietveld’s Zig-zag chair–the framed drawing that dominates the vignette is a 1958 work by American artist Sonia Gechtoff.

"While it was a big change to move to Brooklyn after nearly three decades in Greenwich Village and Soho, the duplex apartment offered space and amenities that I could never have afforded in Manhattan . . . after living in single floor apartment it was a revelation to live on two floors – the spatial definition offers a sense of privacy and luxury that it’s hard to imagine!"

– Glenn Gissler

Gissler designed the chandelier that hangs above a 1950s Baker dining table. A Le Corbusler work on paper to the left of the fireplace is balanced by one on the right by American abstract expressionist Seymour Lipton.

The elegant kitchen serves as the apartment’s de facto entry hall, with glossy green cabinetry, expanses of mirror glass and granite countertops.

"I wake up every day looking at a richly planted terrace that connects me to nature and creates a sense of calm. I love my apartment cherish my books and objects and treasure my art collection, but I like my apartment best when engaged with family and friends in my home. I have been acquiring items that give me pleasure for many decades – they rarely remain in the same location for too long as I am interested in the dialogue between them – like friends at a party! All of the art that I own is from the 20th century – some early and some late in the century – I love to find relationships between seemingly disparate works as I understand them more and more."

– Glenn Gissler

French Art Deco armchair, faux shagreen coffee tables and framed art matted in white provide a pale contrast to the wall color of bitter chocolate. The yellow artwork is by the well-known American artist Donald Baechler.

In this aerie under the eaves, exposed roof beams create a unique feeling of shelter; the room’s unusual scale resembles that of a Paris atelier.

On the walls – the color of bitter chocolate – is an assemblage of contemporary works on paper.

Classic garden furniture from Restoration Hardware makes of this city terrace a place to enjoy nature, as well as to entertain.