Watch Morgan Carper Fix Up Her Fort Greene Casa

Extreme Makeover: Designer Home Edition

When Morgan Carper—the force behind the textile-fueled apparel line of the same name—and her hubby, Chris Bradford, got their hands on a 125-year-old Fort Greene brownstone in February 2013, they were pumped to dive in and make it their own. “There’s still work to be done, but this house will constantly be a work in progress,” she says of her (very major) renovation. “I love the idea of growing and evolving into our home.” See what she’s done with the place so far. —alisha prakash

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Before!

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After!

The Living Room
“This is the parlor-floor living room—beautiful bones, but so dark. Because the house is so extremely narrow, we wanted to lighten up the space as much as possible. Bringing down a few walls, painting everything bright white, and laying down white oak floors was our solution. The old floors were actually quite beautiful, but they weren’t original to the house—and the red oak made the space dark. New flooring transformed the space, while adding a personal element to make it our own. I have always loved the classic look of herringbone flooring—the lines elongate the room, and the light finish brightens it.”

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Before!

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The Study
“We removed a wall with double doors, opening up the space. The restoration of the moldings was painstakingly time-consuming but incredibly rewarding to preserve such detail and character. Chipping away at all the years of paint was like going back in time. I loved thinking about the families that lived in this house and what was happening during that time, color by color.”

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Before!

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After!

The Kitchen
“We wanted to make the space as light as possible, so we gutted it and replaced the dark cherry cabinets with black countertops with white cabinets and Carrera marble. We splurged on the countertops while maintaining low costs with the Ikea white lacquer cabinets—it’s all about balance. Getting to see the skeleton of the house was amazing. The beams and foundation are so stout and solid—they just don’t make them like they used to!”

Talk about amazing, Morgan’s latest cape will seriously step up your outerwear game.

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Morgan Carper Gets Outta Town

Take a trip through each of her destination-focused collections.

During an eight-month journey to basically every nook and cranny of Asia, Morgan Carper discovered an incredible number of unheard of local design techniques. “That trip was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life—to meet with different artisans and see how their craft had been preserved, and not preserved in some cases,” Morgan explains. “That’s when I knew I wanted to integrate travel into fashion.” So she set out on a mission to combine her textile expertise with unique beadwork and embroidery culled from the places she visits to create each of her stunning, romantic-bohemian collections. Here’s how she’s done it. —monica derevjanik

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Turkey - Fall 2011
“This was my first collection, so it was overwhelmingly amazing to translate an experience like this into something more tangible that others eventually got to be a part of. I didn’t get to meet with many artisans while we were there, but two of the fabrics I bought were made in Turkey. We ended up doing a lot of really full dresses with pleats, metalwork, beadwork, and more traditional Eastern references in the collection. The ancient mosques we saw were instrumental in the conception of the collection as well.”

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Arizona high deserts - Spring 2012
“Spring 2012 was inspired by the high plains of Arizona. There’s a book called Half Broke Horses, and the author talks about her grandmother, Lily Casey, who was this rough, tough, woman on a ranch in Arizona. She was fiercely independent but had this style that was unique for that time, especially for being a rural countrywoman. I ended up going to the area where Lily Casey spent most of her life and based the collection off of her style. Creating this collection was especially fun for me because there’s something about the American West that’s fascinating. I don’t know what it is, but I’m just naturally drawn to the desert landscape and vast open spaces. In fact, each of my collections has an underlying Southwestern theme.”

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Vietnam and Laos - Fall 2012
“I was lucky enough to spend time with skilled artisans that practice indigo dyeing, tapestry work, ikat weaving, and batik printing. The custom prints from this particular collection were inspired by the traditional batik and tapestry weavings from different Hmong tribes in the region. It’s always about the textiles for me, and Southeast Asia has such a rich history of textiles.”

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Rajasthan, India - Spring 2013
I am powerlessly allured by the desert, and I decided to visit Rajasthan. I carefully planned this trip around meetings with artisans that specialize in block printing and embroidery, which eventually led to creating some of the fabrics in this collection. One of the highlights of the trip was taking motorcycles to a small Muslim village about 30 miles from the Pakistan border where they specialize in intricate metallic hand-embroidery. They showed us their craft while we sat on the floor in their brightly colored homes with all the village children hovering above us. They were giggling over my short blond hair, not understanding why I looked like a boy.” 

Morgan did it again with a must-have cape you do NOT want to miss!

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How We’re Shopping the Morgan Carper Sale

If we had to choose…(and we do.)

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The only bad thing about hosting sample sales on Of a Kind: We’re so tempted to spend all of our rent money on floaty jackets and sleek little dresses. And though we’re going to (try to) show some restraint, these are the pieces from the first sale, from color-and-texture whiz Morgan Carper, that we just diiie over. 

Click here to shop the full sale—up to 71% off, guys!—until Wed., Feb. 13 at 9:30a ET!

Claire (left)

Tola crinkle gauze top in onyx ($103.68—originally $319)
“It’s amazing to me how I never, ever feel like I have enough black tops. And something about the little elbow flaps on this one makes your arms looks super long and slim.”

Jet tapestry skirt ($142.49—originally $385)
“This skirt is one of those things that Erica would grab off a rack and go, ‘This is so Claire Mazur.’ And she would be so right. I love a brightly patterned bottom! It’s also ridiculously versatile—it’s got a party feel but the length works for business-y things, and it’s clearly season-agnostic. I love the idea of it with a cropped chambray tank and black flat sandals in the summer.”

Erica (right)

Malay wool stripe vest ($192.89—originally $484)
“I’m so into the idea of a motorcycle-style vest that isn’t leather. The wooly fabric helps cozy up dresses during the cold months (that, right about now, feel like they’re never going to end!), and this sucker would also be pretty rad over a fitted black turtleneck with jeans…and maybe cowboy boots?!”

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Morgan Carper Gets Outta Town

Take a trip through each of her destination-focused collections.

During an eight-month journey to basically every nook and cranny of Asia, Morgan Carper discovered an incredible number of unheard of local design techniques. “That trip was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life—to meet with different artisans and see how their craft had been preserved, and not preserved in some cases,” Morgan explains. “That’s when I knew I wanted to integrate travel into fashion.” So she set out on a mission to combine her textile expertise with unique beadwork and embroidery culled from the places she visits to create each of her stunning, romantic-bohemian collections. Here’s how she’s done it. —monica derevjanik

Now’s your chance the land the perfect-for-fall wool cape Morgan made for us! It most definitely shows off her affection for textiles.


Turkey - Fall 2011
“This was my first collection, so it was overwhelmingly amazing to translate an experience like this into something more tangible that others eventually got to be a part of. I didn’t get to meet with many artisans while we were there, but two of the fabrics I bought were made in Turkey. We ended up doing a lot of really full dresses with pleats, metalwork, beadwork, and more traditional Eastern references in the collection. The ancient mosques we saw were instrumental in the conception of the collection as well.”

Arizona high deserts - Spring 2012
“Spring 2012 was inspired by the high plains of Arizona. There’s a book called Half Broke Horses, and the author talks about her grandmother, Lily Casey, who was this rough, tough, woman on a ranch in Arizona. She was fiercely independent but had this style that was unique for that time, especially for being a rural countrywoman. I ended up going to the area where Lily Casey spent most of her life and based the collection off of her style. Creating this collection was especially fun for me because there’s something about the American West that’s fascinating. I don’t know what it is, but I’m just naturally drawn to the desert landscape and vast open spaces. In fact, each of my collections has an underlying Southwestern theme.”

Vietnam and Laos - Fall 2012
“I was lucky enough to spend time with skilled artisans that practice indigo dyeing, tapestry work, ikat weaving, and batik printing. The custom prints from this particular collection were inspired by the traditional batik and tapestry weavings from different Hmong tribes in the region. It’s always about the textiles for me, and Southeast Asia has such a rich history of textiles.”

Rajasthan, India - Spring 2013
I am powerlessly allured by the desert, and I decided to visit Rajasthan. I carefully planned this trip around meetings with artisans that specialize in block printing and embroidery, which eventually led to creating some of the fabrics in this collection. One of the highlights of the trip was taking motorcycles to a small Muslim village about 30 miles from the Pakistan border where they specialize in intricate metallic hand-embroidery. They showed us their craft while we sat on the floor in their brightly colored homes with all the village children hovering above us. They were giggling over my short blond hair, not understanding why I looked like a boy.” 

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Introducing Morgan Carper’s First-Ever Handbags

It’s gonna be tough to wait ‘til March for these…

Once the Brooklyn-based designer Morgan Carper got her just-sweet, desert-inspired apparel line off the ground, there was only one thing left she wanted to make: everyday bags to go with her loose, dusty-hued parkas and airy, textile-driven dresses. Obviously, we’re obsessed. Get a sneak peek of the trio of styles that’s hitting next spring. —monica derevjanik


Kapara Weekender
“I am an extremely light packer, so this is perfect for me for weekend trips and for long days in the Garment District. The fabric is a hand-woven ikat made in India with sandy-apricot cow leather and rose-gold hardware.”


Reta Backpack
“Backpacks are so conducive to my lifestyle. I’m always on the go and dealing with back pain, so it was really important to me to make one for this collection. This one has an outside zip pocket on the back that is the just the right size for your cell phone and subway card. It is made of hand-woven ikat and black leather cowhide, and it has adjustable straps.”


Unta Hobo Bucket
“I have actually been in the market for a bucket bag for years but have never seen one I wanted enough to buy, so I knew I just had to do this style. It has a leather tassel drawstring with ivory and tan ikat panels seamed into black leather cowhide.” 

You don’t have to hold tight until March to score some Morgan Carper goodness: Her Of a Kind edition is headed your way tomorrow. Get on our newsletter list! 

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Morgan Carper

The Brooklyn-based designer Morgan Carper sure does like the road less traveled. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in textile design and completing internships with designers like Jeremy Scott, she saved her pennies before setting off (all by herself!) on an eight-month voyage across Asia. What she encountered, beyond amazing food and incredible sights, were talented artists who were forced to work in large factories churning out mass-market fashion, thus stifling their creative customs. “It was frustrating to see these highly skilled artisans, who have been practicing a rich, traditional craft for their entire lives, have to leave that behind,” Morgan explains.

Her odyssey sparked an idea: Morgan decided to create her own line and to commission these local artisans to do block printing, beading, and embroidery to incorporate in her own work. By 2010, Morgan had launched her eponymous line that draws on all of her travel experiences—we’re talking India, Thailand, the Arizona high deserts—incorporating wanderlust-induced discoveries into every piece. Each collection tells the story of a recent adventure, pulling narrative from each destination’s textiles, beadwork, and other details that don’t often find their way onto clothing racks. And trips lined up to Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Big Sur have us pretty damn excited for the killer collections to come. —monica derevjanik

morgancarper.com

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