March 4, 2015

Interior Designer Peter Lentz's DUMBO Apartment

An interior designer and his partner find a new home in Dumbo and furnish it with an easy panache.

by Arlene Hirst interior designer Peter Lentz Design photographer Peter Margonelli


When Peter Lentz and Hugh Panaro saw this apartment in a brand new building in Dumbo, one of Brooklyn's most desirable neighborhoods, they couldn't believe their good luck. They immediately fell in love with the 10-foot-high ceilings, the tall casement windows and the apartment's southern exposure. "Light comes in all day and that's important if you live in the city," says Lentz. After living on the Upper West Side for more than 20 years, the couple felt it was time for a change-and Brooklyn seemed like a logical choice. "We were too old for Williamsburg," laughs Lentz, a former classical ballet dancer turned interior designer who learned his trade working for the late Albert Hadley. But Dumbo seemed just right.

The 1,375-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment didn't require any major alterations. The only construction involved opening up the wall between the living room and the second bedroom to create an inviting office/den, a room that now exudes a warm Scandinavian feel that contrasts with the living room's more polished urbanity. The entire project took only three months, undoubtedly thanks to Lentz's decisiveness. He jokes that he lets the space tell him what it needs, adding "you do take in the bones, and once you understand them, it becomes a simple process."

Lentz designed most of the furniture himself. Highlights include the white armchair in the living room, which he explains is based on a classic by Jean-Michel Frank, and the daybed covered in taupe suede. Also notable is the built-in cove in the office into which he inserted a tailor-made sleep sofa.

The Lane chest of drawers was found on eBay.
The Lane chest of drawers was found on eBay.

To complete the project, Lentz ventured onto eBay-his first time shopping on the site. He says he did it as an experiment to better understand the shopping zeitgeist. "Today, clients are much more savvy," he says, adding that $100,000 rooms are a thing of the past.

While Lentz took charge of the decorating, Panaro, an actor, was able to voice an opinion on the over-all design, but there were no major arguments. "It was clear what we wanted it to look like," says Lentz, adding that when there were disagreements, he had the final say.

Now that the couple is settled in, they find that they are really happy with their new neighborhood. "It's so easy here," says Lentz. "It feels European." see resources