These Fragrance Designers Found the Brooklyn Gem We All Want

What happens when an architect and a musician share a home and a cult-favorite fragrance line?

By: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Zeph Colombatto

New Yorkers are often too well acquainted with how the simplest thing (think parking your car within a ten-block radius of your destination) can seem impossible in the city. The struggle is so real, people! But for the chic husband-and-wife team behind Brooklyn fragrance house D.S. & Durga, there’s no annoyance too great when you’ve snagged the perfect prewar home. We dare you not to feel just a *teensy* bit jealous when you check out these photos.

David Seth Moltz and Kavi Ahuja have been together since a chance encounter on Avenue B (how classic New York is that?!) led to their first date, and now they’ve been creating their own unique fragrances for nearly a decade. With newly remodeled packaging, their elegant designs are a perfect reflection of their equally thoughtful Bed-Stuy house. The light-drenched space boasts original details from the 1890s, and an expertly curated collection of furniture and keepsakes are scattered throughout. Despite a taste for high-end furniture—Corbusier FTW—the couple’s two children have free reign to enjoy and play inside and out (yes, they have both a backyard and a porch!).

Both Ahuja, a former architect, and Moltz, a musician, believe in not taking themselves or their space too seriously. Nothing is overly precious or irreplaceable, making for a relaxed, rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that we can definitely get behind. Plus, a home designed by a pair of professional perfumers—you better believe that it smells as good as it looks!

Click through the photos to find out how something called rapid sonic vibration—seriously—can create different scents in different rooms of your house, and why it’s good to remember that nothing is ever permanent.

“We kind of just stumbled upon this house in Bed-Stuy and loved it so much. It’s all painted white and we saw it in the summer, and we loved this kind of white, breezy feel that it had. It’s brownstone Brooklyn, so it’s a gorgeous neighborhood and a really beautiful block. It’s a lot of space for us and the kids. They have room to run around.” —KA

“For this house, it was kind of our first grown-up place to live, so I was definitely interested in investing in a few nice pieces early on, like those Corbusier chairs and some really cool dining chairs from this tattoo artist, Dr. Woo. [We wanted] to have things around that would last a long time and are just always going to be fun to look at.” —DSM

“I’d say also the home and our perfumes are a reflection of things that we love. Neither of us are big collectors—we don’t want to have lots of stuff. Books and records are the life source of creation of everything that I am and do, and so you can never have too many. I don’t collect them to own them—I don’t care about having the first pressing of a rare book or record. I think that’s the difference. I like to have stuff that I will use. I’ve always said, like, if you have good scotch, what’s the point in saving it? You might die tomorrow. Just use stuff. That’s definitely one of the ethos that started this business too, because I was like, ‘I want to make things myself and look at all these beautiful flowers—can we dry them and use them?’” —DSM

“It’s never too early to start getting pieces that might seem unaffordable and kind of crazy. If you can at all do it, in time you’ll recover from the expense and then you’ve got this incredible piece in your home. To me that’s always worth it. Go for the nicer pieces and it’ll be worth it in the end.” —KA

“Even the nice things we have are fair game. The kids have probably drawn on the Corbusier chairs. They’re just on everything all the time and it’s a kid’s home. I never want them to feel like anything is off-limits. [We also] translate that into the design and the perfume. I think perfume can be a very serious business. People take it very seriously, the marketing and the copy around it is really cheeseball, as if in this bottle the world’s secrets will be revealed. We like to take a very whimsical and more rock ’n’ roll, humorous approach, I guess.” —KA

“Your home is going to be a reflection of things you love. If you spend that time scouring vintage places, there’s a way to totally style your home without spending a lot of money. I don’t think either of us feels like we have the time or really even the headspace to really live like that anymore.” —DSM

“I don’t understand how people can be fastidious. I really honor and respect the guy who has his sock drawer and all the socks are in perfect little circles and stuff—I just wouldn’t know how to live like that.” —DSM

“I like my own drawings up around me, because that’s a way that I can create these little worlds that I see.” —DSM

“This house is from 1890. Everything is intact except for the kitchen and bathrooms, which we’ve updated, but even there we have original moldings and original tin and so much beautiful, rich detail and the layout is so quirky and weird. We’ve grown to love that.” —KA

“It’s hard to be like, we’re going to use only [one style]. You can’t make your house like a theme park. You can try, but I can’t. I’m sure some people can, but I find that kind of difficult, because we like a mixture of things. It can always be changed. Nothing is permanent.” —DSM

“I studied architecture, and we’re really drawn to Bauhaus era and things that are showcasing really nice materials, like glass and metal. I like things that are on the edgier side. Really cool, modern stuff. There’s so much technological advancement in furniture design and interiors. The materials that people are able to work with now and the shapes and forms—I find that really inspiring as a designer.” —KA

“I’m deep into the home-fragrance game, and I’m trying to figure out how to share that with the world. I light a ton of Tibetan or Nepalese incense, which I absolutely love, like the traditional ones that are made with plants, and incense that comes from the Himalayas, where they go up into the mountains and they get whole plants and then they mix it. It’s not on a stick like traditional incense—it’s ground into a powder and they form it into a stick. It’s like the actual herbs themselves burning, so they’re very subtle and beautiful. We burn our own candles. I got an old diffuser where I make little blends and bring it home, or pure, awesome oils and put them in that diffuser.” —DSM

“There’s this new technology where you put oil into water and then, through rapid sonic vibration, it evaporates, but not through heat, so it’s very true to the smell of the oil. In certain rooms of our house with really high ceilings, you’re not going to smell it as much. It depends on how much you put in it and which [scent] it is. It’s like an endless game.” —DSM

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe every piece works in every place. We had to learn that the hard way when we had some really nice custom thing that we spent a lot of money for our last apartment to save a lot of space. We had the movers move it, this big old heavy thing—all walnut—and we got to our space, and we were like, ‘this literally doesn't fit in our house and it looks ridiculous.’ We were tied to it in the beginning, like, ‘we have to keep it if we own it,’ but no, not really. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. It’s harder in New York.” —DSM

“He’s really good with vignettes and making little special moments in the house, and I kind of look at the bigger picture and the room as a whole or the house as a whole.” —KA

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