The Hugo Tollner House, 421 Franklin Avenue

Interior Designer Dionne Rivera dishes on everything—from what inspires her, including her favorite wood-frame house; to regional design motifs; favorite museums and decorative arts collections across the globe—to a breezy walk around Park Slope, her home for the past 24 years. A Seattle native, she earned her degree in Fashion Design in Los Angles. “I’ve always wanted to design interiors, so I was lucky it worked out that I was able to have a home-based business and still be close by for my children.”

Which are some of your favorite wood-frame houses in Brooklyn?
There is a house in Bedford Stuyvesant that has always captured my attention. Looking up the address  (421 Franklin Avenue) I found that it originally belonged to Hugo Tollner, son of Eugene Tollner, co-founder of Gage and Tollne. It is an asymmetrical wood-frame Gothic house with a mansard roof. And the wood-frame house that I’ve loved for years on 12th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

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I simply don’t know what I’d do without the Brooklyn Historical Society. I credit most of my Brooklyn knowledge to its wonderful collections, which are invaluable to anyone looking to research a house’s history. If you fall into that camp (and since you’re reading this I assume you do), head on over to the BHS library on the corner of Pierrepont & Clinton Streets and spend an afternoon in one of the most stunning interiors in all of Brooklyn. While there, you’ll probably encounter Elizabeth Call, Special Collections Librarian.

Since the Wooden House Projects gets so many questions about how to research your house, I thought I’d spend some time with Liz getting her take on the collections that would be most interesting to our readers.

Read on for some tips of the trade!