This Brooklyn couple mastered the art of restoring historic brownstones. Now, they're sharing all they know

Barry Bordelon and Jordan Slocum of the Brownstone Boys just released their debut design book, 'For the Love of Renovating,' and the title's a huge help for those tackling design projects of all kinds

(Image credit: Christian Torres / The Brownstone Boys; The Brownstone Boys ; Christian Torres / The Brownstone Boys)

When Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon embarked on their first-ever brownstone renovation, they were determined to restore the historic property to its former glory – but they weren't quite sure where to begin. Though they both came from design and real estate backgrounds, the 130-year-old property posed its own set of challenges, and the information available online just wasn't cutting it.

To help others going through the same, the pair – now dubbed the Brownstone Boys – started to share tips and tricks on their blog and social media. And now, several years down the line and with dozens of projects to prove their expertise, Barry and Jordan have organized all their renovation and restoration knowledge into a book: For the Love of Renovating.

On shelves starting this week, the Brownstone Boys' instructional and inspirational book covers everything you need to know about planning to restore a historic property, putting the plan into action, and making it feel like your own. With advice on architecture, DIY, interior design and more, For the Love of Renovating is a deep dive into what makes older properties characterful, charming, and worth the hard work. To hear a bit more about the book's behind the scenes, H&G sat down with the Brownstone Boys – here's what they had to say.

The inspiration behind 'For the Love of Renovating'

A white room with a carved fireplace, large wooden doorframe and small seating area

(Image credit: The Brownstone Boys)

'The home is a special place where we rest, spend time with family and friends and create memories. It’s also one of the best opportunities we have to express ourselves and our personal style,' Barry and Jordan tell H&G.

Because the couple had such an incredible time with their own renovation, they felt called to help others take on similar projects. At the beginning of each new project they approach now, they 'spend a lot of time getting to know [their] clients; their unique needs, how they use their space, and what they need out of it,' they say.

'The book follows the same process that we go through with all of our clients. To compile all of our learnings into a book is a dream come true. Now, people can access everything in one beautiful package and we hope it inspires them to transform their homes,' they add.

A headshot of Barry and Jordan from the Brownstone Boys
Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon

Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon are 'The Brownstone Boys,' a design duo based in Brooklyn focused on restoring historic Brownstone homes. Their debut design book, 'For the Love of Renovating, was published on June 4, 2024.

Why renovate a historic home?

An arched wooden doorway and black and white staircase in a historic brownstone

(Image credit: Nick Glimenakis / The Brownstone Boys)

Tackling a historic property is no small task, and many shy away from these storied spaces. Many Brooklyn brownstones (the Brownstone Boys' specialty) are landmarked too, meaning certain renovations require permits and approval. But older homes are full of character and often have excellent bones – they just need a bit of TLC to get back on track for modern-day living. Barry and Jordan say that the extra work is more than worth it in the end.

'The best thing about renovating a historic home is watching it come back to life. A lot of the homes we work on have seen their share of wear and tear. Maybe a previous owner covered up a beautiful hardwood floor, or the building got split into multiple units and fell into disrepair,' they say. 'No matter the case, it is rewarding to renovate a home to be lived in for years to come. Old homes have stories and uncovering the history of the home as we restore it is a very rewarding process. We especially appreciate that we are setting the home up for its next 100 years of life.'

As the couple shares on the book's dedication page, they wrote For the Love of Renovating for anyone who wants to 'pick up the hammer and do the damn thing!' And 'doing the damn thing' doesn't just have to apply to restoring historic properties – Barry and Jordan say this book is for 'anyone renovating any space.'

'Whether it’s a whole home renovation or just a room, we want our book to be a guide. You don’t need prior experience or fancy equipment. When it comes to a fixer-upper project, it’s all about having a learning mindset. It’s not, “I can’t do this,” but “How can I make this work?” In our opinion, willingness to try and even make a few mistakes is the best quality in a DIYer,' they say.

A white living room with a gold floor-to-ceiling mirror and an ornate cream fireplace

(Image credit: Nick Glimenakis / The Brownstone Boys)

Beyond renovating a home's architectural details and overall structure, the Brownstone Boys share plenty of genius interior design advice within the book's pages – made easier with the help of some truly stunning images. One of Barry and Jordan's key design philosophies is that your home should feel like you, expressing your personal style. Whether you follow the trends or just can't be bothered, it's all about what makes you happy (and what'll endure the fads that constantly come and go).

'Giving it a personality is important. Those little moments usually end up being your favorite places in your home. Honestly, we love a good trend. There’s nothing wrong with buying something that’s popular, but just be sure you’re choosing something that brings YOU joy, rather than pulling from someone else’s Pinterest board. Having a house suited to your unique taste and needs will help you feel satisfied and at home. It also reduces overconsumption as trends rapidly shift,' they tell H&G.

What's inside the book?

An open page of 'For the Love of Renovating' on a red silk fabric background

(Image credit: The Brownstone Boys)

'Over the years, we have become a pretty good team and learned each of our strengths working so closely with clients. In writing this book, we got to really infuse our collective voice into each chapter. People can look forward to hearing both our POVs. We feel like we downloaded everything out of our heads and onto the pages. We truly hope it can be a resource for others,' says Jordan.

The pages of For the Love of Renovating don't only share advice in a classic, written format – though the tips and stories shared there are brilliant. Instead, the book features budget breakdowns, reader-friendly recipes, and diagrams of design's most important terms. This isn't your average coffee-table-bound design book – it's a genuinely useful guide to reference often.

'We wanted to break down big projects into small, easy-to-follow steps. When people know what to expect, they are much more likely to feel prepared, follow through, and get started. That’s our goal. Jordan has a background as a baker. He approaches renovation projects like he does a complicated bake. Just get the right ingredients and follow the steps. While we describe each process in detail over many pages, we thought summing it up into a one page recipe could help readers feel like it's something they can tackle,' says Barry.

Key takeaways from 'For the Love of Renovating'

A carved wooden door leading to an entryway with green patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Nick Glimenakis / The Brownstone Boys)

Being inspired to tackle a project is one thing, but actually diving in and making changes takes some serious planning and skill. Whether you're planning to DIY most of the project, or have turned to professionals to help see you through, it's always wise to read up on the fine print before getting started.

From designing the living room to crafting the perfect budget, For the Love of Renovating has it all. In fact, Barry and Jordan share that knowing what really goes into a budget is one of the most important ways you can prepare for your own renovation.

'One of the things we provide that might be the most important piece of advice is how to budget. People don’t always talk about how much renovations really cost and they aren’t always transparent about situations like going over budget. We want to give our readers an idea of how much they should expect to spend. The more information you have, the more likely you are to actually get started on a project!' they say.

For the Love of Renovating by Barry Bordelon and Jordan Slocum | $32.99 on Amazon

For the Love of Renovating by Barry Bordelon and Jordan Slocum | $32.99 on Amazon

Unlock the potential of your vintage home with this ultimate handbook for restoring historic houses. Whether you’re a new homeowner in search of DIY books to help plan home improvement projects, or are just looking for interior design books to inspire your dream home, For the Love of Renovating provides the perfect blend of gorgeous visuals and practical, hands-on advice.

For the Love of Renovating is available to purchase now, and available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million,, Target and Walmart.

'We want people to know that this book is for EVERYONE. Whether you’re a renter, you’ve just purchased your first home, or you’ve been living in a space for years, we’ve got you covered,' Barry and Jordan share.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.