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  • A familiar face from the J. Crew catalog, this Kentucky boy actually spends most of his time with his sleeves rolled up, hands covered in dirt, creating some of NYC's most beautiful backyards.
    Brook was only eight years old when he started his first business - a lawn cutting service called Klausing Brothers. "We'd charge like three or five bucks, and our slogan was 'We cut class to cut your grass' ," says the Southerner, whose father was also a landscaper. Raised humbly in rural Kentucky, Brook forayed into his father's trade as a way to earn a few extra bucks - mainly to support a youthful obsession with Polo shirts and an early passion for vintage furniture. "I'd buy my own furniture when I was 12 years old. Not many 12 year olds are buying furniture," he says laughingly.

    Fast forward a couple of decades, Brook owns a thriving landscaping business, creating some of the most enviable outdoor spaces in all of NYC. After moving to the City in 2002, Brook started taking landscaping projects, again as a means of earning some extra cash. But as word of Brook's talent quickly spread, his projects started to expand in quantity and scale.

    He caught his biggest break when his girlfriend at the time dropped a referral to J. Crew's then head of womenswear, Jenna Lyons. A casual mention in the elevator eventually led to the largest project he had done thus far - and evidently, the start of a formidable business. Soon enough, everyone from Ford Models to Adrian Grenier was calling for Brook's horticultural expertise, friendly service, and most importantly, his raw and restrained design aesthetic.
    We paid the Southern boy a visit to his apartment, nestled on a quiet, tree-lined block in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. A precocious collector of vintage furniture, Brook's tastes have matured over the years, but without straying too far from his long appreciated design values. Both rustic and modern, his home borrows inspiration from his native Kentucky fused with influences from his city surroundings. One of our favorite examples is his old butcher block propped up with four Goya cans, alongside a set of bright yellow Eames chairs - just one of the many quirks strewn throughout his character-filled home.

    Unsurprisingly, our favorite part of Brook's home was his private rooftop garden. Surrounded by trees on all sides, and with glimpses of the Manhattan skyline, the backdrop was breathtaking in and of itself. But more impressively, Brook did what he does best - transforming the previously unused space into a calming, outdoor sanctuary. With tall grasses free to grow wildly, alongside custom-built wood fixtures, the space is the perfect venue for relaxing or entertaining - and a fine representation of Brook's skills as both a craftsman and designer.

    Read about our time with NYC's only landscaper/fashion model, and see the views from his amazing rooftop and his contemporary rustic apartment.
  • AT HOME WITH
    BROOK KLAUSING
    Owner of Brook Landscape, New York City
    STORY AND IMAGES BY TARIQ DIXON
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  • What inspired you to start your own business?

    I started working for landscape architects when I was 20, so at that age, I was interpreting their documents and actualizing them. But after doing enough work for other designers, I realized that I could see things that they didn't see, and I knew there were possibilities that they weren't thinking of. At that point, I knew I wanted to create more.

    Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" is what really inspired me to start the company. I saw the masonry, the woodworking, the steel and thought, "This isn't too far off from landscaping." It's architecture, but it's designed into the environment - built into a landscape. I realized there was opportunity to do some really amazing and creative things within landscaping.

  • What's your general design process?

    I try to get a vibe on who the client is and what they're going after. If I think the style isn't right for us, I won't take it on unless I can learn something from it. Certain projects are for the portfolio and others are just jobs, but they're all learning experiences.

    But the design process really starts with the client. Literally, it's like a relationship - like dating. You get up in their house, you hang out with them, and if I think the client's a dickwad, then I won't do it - I don't want trouble. On the other hand, if I don't think the client has great taste, but they're open to ideas, we can make it work.

  • How would you describe your style? How does it translate to your home?

    I like to find beauty in basic or mundane things. I like 'simple stupid.' That's my favorite. I feel that whenever something gets so complex that it's hard to communicate, you're over-thinking it - it's not what it should be.

    So in a small house like this, or on a project for work, I like to thin out. I feel like the absence of things allows other things to be beautiful. And I love interior design, but I don't like designers who over-curate. It's common and easy to do, but I feel like the best things in life are simple. If it's simple, it just works.

  • When did you first get into decorating?

    As a kid, I was really into furniture and would always like to decorate my room. That's the real reason I started cutting grass. We were pretty poor, but I'd go to some of my friends' houses and they all had the coolest shit. I'm like, "I want cool stuff!" It started with clothes - Polo actually. My parents couldn't afford any of that stuff, so my brother and I started cutting grass.

    But I ended up really getting into furniture more and more. I'd buy my own furniture when I was 12 years old. Not many 12 year-olds are buying furniture, haha! I was really into vintage and flea markets - finding weird, cool things. That hasn't really changed much.

  • SHOP THE STORY
  • I like to find beauty in basic or mundane things. I like 'simple stupid.' That's my favorite.

  • SHOP THE STORY
  • SHOP THE STORY
  • I was really into vintage and flea markets - finding weird, cool things. I guess not much has changed, haha!

  • Frank Lloyd Wright's 'Falling Water' is what really inspired me to start the company. I saw the masonry, the woodworking, the steel and thought, 'This isn't too far off from landscaping...'

  • I realized that I could see things that they didn't see, and I knew there were possibilities that they weren't thinking of. At that point, I knew I wanted to create more.

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