Talking with Tom and Elisabeth Parker about Ditmas Park, Birthday Parties, and Granny Chic Design


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Tom Parker, an art dealer at Hirshl & Adler, and Elisabeth Parker, who runs the carpet department at Christie’s, live in a rambling Victorian house in Ditmas Park with their 10-year-old daughter, 8-year-old son, and dog. After letting us in to explore and photograph their home, Elisabeth completed our questionnaire.
How long have you lived at your current residence?
Almost nine years.
What do you love most about your home?
I’d like to say the gracious wrap-around porch on a warm summer evening. More realistically it’s probably the DRIVEWAY, year-round!
If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be?
Finish the dungeon—I mean basement!
What’s the first thing other people notice when they visit?
The curved stained glass window on the stair landing usually gets the most oohs and ahhs.
How would you define your design philosophy?
The driving philosophy is a work in progress since we are always on the look-out for something to add, but I would call the design aesthetic “goût grand mere” or “granny chic”—most of our furniture and objects belonged to our grandparents or are things we have found at thrift stores and auctions and belonged to someone else’s granny.
What is your most treasured possession?
An artist that Tom represents painted oil portraits of our kids when they were 4 and 6, perfectly capturing their personalities and that magic time of childhood. They make me smile every time I pass them.
What is your favorite thing to do in your home?
The kids’ birthday parties on the front porch that spill out into the backyard. We love a theme party, especially one that tests our creative juices.
What’s your favorite spot in the house?
The upstairs octagonal sitting room that catches the morning sun for hours.
What makes a house a home?
A dog sprawled on the living room rug, a Christmas tree, the smell of bacon on Sunday morning. Legos lost behind every seat cushion.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?
Everyone outside gardening on the first warm day in spring.
If you could change one thing about your neighborhood, what would it be?
Our public library is very popular and always busy with lots of different offerings for the community, but it could use a face-lift. I dream of adding a second floor with a green roof and an outdoor space to read a book.
What’s your happiest memory in your home?
Move-in day. We arrived to find the neighbors waiting to greet us on our front steps!
For more on Sybil Domond and and Dan Lessin’s home, and to visit nine other beautiful Brooklyn homes, visit here


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