A certain type of Brooklynite has, in the past five years, done at least one of the following: lined up for pizza at Paulie Gee’s; caught a movie at Syndicated; and raced to happy hour at Ramona, Sisters, or Manhattan Inn. Even if none of those names ring a bell, chances are, if you’ve been out and about anywhere in North Brooklyn, then you’re already familiar with Home Studios, the firm behind these and Elsa, their newest addition to the Brooklyn bar scene. Elsa, a cocktail bar with subtly exuberant art nouveau flair, recently opened in Cobble Hill.
“The bathrooms were an evolution from the original Elsa,” Haslegrave said. “We loved the surreal effect,
and so imagined what that idea would look like in this new context.” The marble flooring, the marble and blown-glass candle shelves, the toilet tank lid, and the mirror strips are all custom.
(Courtesy Home Studios)
The creative firm actually designed the bar’s first Manhattan spot in 2008, though Elsa 1.0 closed three years ago. For the new Elsa on Atlantic Avenue, the client wanted to keep the ethos of the original East Village bar intact: “We loved the design of the original Elsa and wanted to reimagine the new space in a way
that kept the essence of the Manhattan location, but with greater sophistication,” said principal Oliver Haslegrave.
“To that end, we experimented with every design element in the space, from the interior architecture to abstract material combinations of plaster, mirror, leather, and marble.” That is not an exaggeration. Home Studios designed the light fixtures, doors, banquettes, tables, shelving for the bottles behind the bar, cocktail tables, and stools—with much of the work completed in its in-house shop. It’s all in a day’s work for the firm, which specializes in highly customized interiors.
The firm’s gold-leaf mirrors frame blacked steel bar shelving and leather booths edged by white lacquered wainscoting, while tinted Venetian plaster reflects the soft glow of hand-blown enamel white glass fixtures that flank both sides of the space. (Courtesy Home Studios)
Here, everything glows, especially in contrast to the busy street outside. Deep burgundy booths with marble-and-brass tables line a wall opposite the bar, with a mirrored surface that reflects liquor bottles displayed on staggered dendritic steel displays. The space is inspired in part by Jean Royère’s voluptuous furniture, and is named for Elsa Schiaparelli, the spirited 20th-century fashion designer behind the Tears dress and manicure gloves.
Since its founding in 2009, the Brooklyn-based firm has completed 30 projects, from New York to L.A. to New Orleans, and it has at least another 10 coming up, including two in Philadelphia and one in Memphis, Tennessee. For those who just can’t get enough of its work, Home Studios is launching a furniture line called (what else?) Homework, out this May.