Like many couples, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and filmmaker Lori Silverbush felt like they’d outgrown their apartment after having children.
In 2016, the couple briefly considered renovating their Manhattan digs, but soon decided they were craving something totally different. “I thought to myself, ‘Why am I doing this? Why am I spending money on a rental that I don’t own?’” Colicchio told Wine Spectator magazine in their latest issue. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to get out of here.’”
So they decided to look just outside the borough for a new home that their sons, Luka, 10, and Mateo, 8, could grow into. They also wanted to fully absorb the cultural diversity New York City has to offer, something they didn't feel they could do in their West Village neighborhood.
“The neighborhoods were becoming increasingly stratified,” Silverbush told the magazine. “I didn’t feel like that would give us that wonderful thing that you get for raising kids in New York: You get to raise a real New Yorker. A real New Yorker to me isn’t someone who’s only ever met people who look and sound and think exactly like he or she does; it’s the opposite.”
Silverbush soon found a 19th-century, four-story brownstone townhouse for sale in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, that instantly peaked her attention. The only problem? The hidden gem needed quite a bit of work and the online listing left something to the imagination.
“You know when they only show the outside of the house, that’s a really bad sign for the interior,” she said. “But for us, that was a good sign.”
The couple decided they weren't afraid of a little renovation project, and forged full speed ahead. Colicchio and Silverbush were determined to keep the historical charm of the house but also wanted to add in a few modern details like radiant heat and floor-to-ceiling picture windows on two floors.
Naturally, one of the biggest design decisions for Colicchio was figuring out where to put his dream kitchen. “We probably went through 40 different layouts,” he said, revealing that they settled on a garden level kitchen with bold blue custom millwork.
The 685-square-foot chef's kitchen also features twin wine cooler drawers and a fireplace-turned-wood-burning grill. And Colicchio definitely does most of the cooking in the house. “During the week, it’s hectic,” he said. “The kids need to get fed, and I have one very picky eater.”
The creative chef sometimes hits the farmers market on weekends: “I never have a menu in my head, which kind of makes my wife crazy, but I don’t know what I want until I see it.”
But he also relies on herbs from his backyard garden.
“I get up in the morning at six, I’m out in the garden for two hours and then my day starts, and it’s just a much better day,” he said. “It makes me so happy.”
A nice open space for entertaining was another one of the couple's design priorities, and they certainly achieved their goal. Their beautiful dining room is located a flight above the kitchen and overlooks the deck.
“We needed a dining room that was bigger, so when we do family events and there’s 12, 14 people, we can actually get people around one table,” Colicchio said.