Cocktails and conversation flow in the welcoming home of Dr. Melvin and Deborah Brown. He’s known for his cooking and mixology skills and she, an avid collector, dresses the eclectic interiors.
The Browns’ century-old Craftsman-style residence is a mail-order “kit” house—similar to those popularly sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. between 1908 and 1940 for homeowners to construct themselves, every piece marked and numbered. An addition, to the left of the entry, was built by a previous owner.
Debbie and Melvin in the formal dining room
Sunshine State of Mind: A vintage terra-cotta pelican table figures prominently in the “Florida room.” Debbie scored the piece at an estate sale in Vero Beach, where she frequently goes on buying trips. The shell chandelier was found at Wynsum Antiques & Interiors on King Street
The vintage brass bar cart at 17 South in Avondale.
Traditional furnishings, such as 18th-century Swedish rococo chairs upholstered in Scalamandre’s “Le Tigre” silk velvet and a 19th-century Jacobean armchair with antique African Kuba cloth, mingle with African masks and floral-style arrangements of sea coral.
Collections of crystals and antique boxes are displayed on the coffee table
in the mix: In the parlor, Debbie had the fireplace surround stuccoed and painted white for a clean, smooth effect that better showcases the melange of artwork and interesting objects she deems a “necessary excess.”
In the Navy: Deep blues and neutrals set the tone in the dining room, where the chairs are upholstered in blue mohair. The artwork includes a framed Chinese embroidery remnant as well as a pencil drawing of a naval ship that Melvin completed in high school. Debbie found it during one of their moves and had it framed in honor of his years of Navy service.
In the sunlit hallway off the butler’s pantry, Renee the taxidermy boar (an estate sale score and Father’s Day gift to Mel from the kids) oversees collections of baskets and antique Imari porcelain.
Doodle Approved: The wicker bed belonging to Ruby the Labradoodle sits beneath a chalkboard for family messages and artwork, such as 12-year-old Lily’s self-portrait.
Serene Scene: An open family room, kitchen, and casual dining space comprise the first floor of the addition, where the Browns worked with CDS Restoration to build custom cabinetry; The metal sculpture in the family room is by South Carolina sculptor Jordan Fowler, and a Zhang Xiaogang work hung on the cabinet is a piece Debbie bought while vacationing in Beijing.
They also upgraded the appliances for home chef Melvin and added brass fixtures.
Art Works: An abstract painting by California-born artist Frank O’Cain is a wash of color in the family room. Debbie likes to juxtapose contemporary art with the vintage and antique furnishings.