This husband-and-wife gallerist and designer duo turn a historic row home into a minimalist dream

People look at it and see a white house,” says Linda Schwartz, of the Licking Riverside Historic District 1860s row house she shares with husband Richard Groot and their two Schipperkes, “but for us the beauty is in the details, and what you don’t see at once.” Schwartz is a long-time gallerist—she is curatorial and administration manager for FOTOFOCUS—and Groot is a designer and partner in Traction, a branding firm. The duo brought their selective abilities to bear in a renovation that would make the already updated house a true reflection of their conceptual art collection and minimalist aesthetic.

Consulting with architect Eric Puryear and working with Voltage Furniture’s Jeff Hinkel, and conceptual artist/cabinetmaker Chris Vorhees, the couple set upon the goal of using all the space in the 2800-square-foot house. The second bedroom became a spacious study; the third a dressing room that, with the addition of French doors, doubles as a private guest suite.

Schwartz, for whom the allure of the object was sealed in childhood rummagings through her great grandmother’s attic, purged truckloads to arrive at a selection of carefully edited objects. “I can let anything go, including family heirlooms, if it’s not my current aesthetic. We always loved the idea of doing a contemporary home in an old space. Now we get to happily do what we do and express ourselves—with or without great grandmother’s silver.”

The couple converted the original wood-burning fireplace into an ethanol-burning fireplace. The photograph over the mantel is “Chevrolet Suburban,” 2010, by Danh Vo.

An early 1900s Northwest Coast Wishing Stool from Schwartz’s great grandmother’s travels. 

“With the advent of Radio Astronomy,” 2010, a text work by Cerith Wyn Evans, illuminates the foyer.

In the kitchen, a wall unit displays Tiffany candlesticks, a safety pin beaded basket from Schwartz’s extensive in-storage collection—“I like their ugliness,” she says, an early 1900s heirloom Sheffield vase, a pair of antique grape shears, and a mid-century Raymond Loewy coffee set designed for IDEE KAFFEE.

“Pink is a really horrible color,” says Groot, of the pattern he designed for the dining room chest riffing on an army digital camouflage pattern. “But it works in this room.” A single John Armleder white plate adorns the chest. The artwork, “Jim’s Escape,” 2010, is by Yinka Shonibare, MBE.

Floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate the living room. Here, and throughout the house, the couple replaced every single window pull, latch, and hinge. The artwork on the far wall is from the late artists Joan Jacobs and Stephen Irwin.

Kartell chairs frame a colored pencil and pencil on paper work by Beth Campbell. The Jurgen Bey table was built exclusively for the Droog New York showroom. The glazed porcelain cornucopia is by Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, “Small Still[ed] Life,” 2011.

A pair of Blu Dot desks floats in the center of the study. The chandelier is Ligne Roset.

Photos by Janus Anatta