AT HOME WITH BROOK KLAUSING
Owner of Brook Landscape
, NYC's only landscaper/fashion model, invites us to see the views from his amazing rooftop and contemporary rustic apartment.
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.