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Living in the olden days

By: Lana Bortolot
Published: 8/25/2010Source: AM-NY

If you accuse Martha and Jeff Gallo of living in another world, they’ll readily agree. In the interior of their eight bedroom house, it looks like the clock stopped circa 1940 — a time Martha refers to as “the world of Gallo.”


The couple bought their house five years ago and spent about eight months retrofitting it to their tastes. The gut renovation in the kitchen included custom cabinets built to fit around things like the vintage porcelain sink and kitchen range. Jeff replaced the tin ceiling himself.


The result? A place where late- Victorian and Art Nouveau heirlooms might find a place beside Bakelite fixtures of the modern home, and oil portraits of circus performers (not to be confused with clown pictures) are juxtaposed with photos of “carny folk” and high school graduations.


“There’s a limit to what we collect,” said Jeff, a real estate agent in Corcoran’s Brooklyn Heights office. “We’re comfortable with where we are now.” But Martha, raising an eyebrow, picked up a small Art Nouveau bust in the living room and said, “Things like this sort of show up all the time.”


Jeff, 46, and Martha, 38, shopped judiciously on eBay, slowly acquiring the things they felt fit both their personalities and that of the house. They turned an Arts and Crafts-style dining room into a billiards room and a back porch into a family room that’s also a de facto extension of their kitchen. They and their two children sleep on the second floor. Four rooms on the third floor await restoration.


Take a look at some of the vintage items they have in their home.