The Insider: Creative Layout in Bed Stuy

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly look at the wide-ranging ways Brooklynites renovate and decorate their living spaces. Written by Cara Greenberg, you’ll find it here Thursdays at 11:30.

 

PETER HASSLER is not most people. Certainly not in the way he’s set up his 1892 bay-windowed brownstone. “Most people,” he says, “put the kitchen on the parlor floor, and I understand the reasons. But I wanted to stay as true as possible to the original layout of the house, and keep the kitchen where it was originally,” at the rear of the garden floor. “That allowed me to have two massive rooms on the parlor floor that you could have a ballroom dance in.”

A web designer recently embarked on a partnership with Design Vidalan LA-based company expanding their interior design and renovation services into the New York area, Hassler bought the 18-foot-wide house some nine years ago. He accomplished most of the reno in a year-long push, including stripping and refinishing all the luscious woodwork and parquet floors, rewiring and replumbing the entire house, and putting in new heating and water systems.

He decorated mostly with modern pieces. “I wanted to let the best of the house shine through, while creating a bright, airy space,” Hassler says, “using clean lines, geometric shapes, and solid whites and blacks to contrast with the original detail.”

Hassler shares the lower duplex with Dahn Hiuni, a visual artist, and rents out the two floors above. He worked with an architect on finalizing drawings and filing them, then hired a crew and oversaw the construction himself. Besides the two huge bedrooms on the parlor floor, there’s a new half-bath in what used to be a closet. On the garden level, the living room sits between the kitchen at the rear, with a full bath in an extension next to it, and the dining room at the front of the house.

See and read more after the jump.

Photos: Patrick Mulcahy

The house is just outside the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District.

 

The carved woodwork on the parlor floor is cherry or mahogany, Hassler says, while on the garden level it is oak. The plaster friezes around the ceiling were intact, though the center medallions were long gone when Hassler came into the picture. 

 

The bedroom at the back of the house is furnished sparely, nicely offsetting the wealth of Victorian detail. 

 

A new half bath was fitted into a former closet between the two parlors, now both used as bedrooms. The corner sink is from Herbeau.

 

“It’s a dream come true to have a functional and spacious kitchen that opens up onto a garden,” Hassler says. Appliances are from Miele and Bosch, with cabinets from Poggenpohl. There’s a 5-burner gas stovetop, double convection oven, and a concealed dishwasher. Hassler used old floor beams for a rustic bench and shelf.

 

Furnishings are mostly from sources such as Design With Reach, Kartel, and IKEA, with ceiling track lights in the living area and kitchen from Ingo Maurer. Hassler is looking forward to re-painting and changing furniture and artwork this fall, as his work with Design Vidal gears up.

 

There’s a vintage tub and Duravit sink in the full bath off the kitchen at the rear of the garden floor, with tile from the now-defunct Brooklyn Tile. 

 

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23 Comment

  • With such a beautiful, middle Victorian parlor, what was the garden floor like? Was the cooking done in that big hearth fireplace? Or did a stove slot in there? Was there always a dining-room opposite? Or were formal meals taken on the parlor floor? Is the flooring on the garden floor indicative of what was there?

  • With such a beautiful, middle Victorian parlor, what was the garden floor like? Was the cooking done in that big hearth fireplace? Or did a stove slot in there? Was there always a dining-room opposite? Or were formal meals taken on the parlor floor? Is the flooring on the garden floor indicative of what was there?

    • Hi astorc,

      This is the owner. I believe the original layout of the garden floor would’ve included a kitchen in the back with a stove in the hearth and cabinetry on either side. None of this was there when I moved in. Also, the middle room (where you now see the living room) would’ve had more cabinetry and storage on either side of a hallway that led to the dining room in the front. That was also not there when I moved in. There is also a dumb waiter in the house, so it could be conceivable that a formal dining room was on the parlor floor, but I’m not entirely sure about that.

  • we too have a parlor bedroom/garden living config and I love it. yes, you don’t get the same light downstairs that you get upstairs but it’s very convenient (no lugging groceries up steps) and the light in the bedrooms and where our son plays is awesome. there is no “right” way to do things, just what’s right for the people that live in the house.

  • we too have a parlor bedroom/garden living config and I love it. yes, you don’t get the same light downstairs that you get upstairs but it’s very convenient (no lugging groceries up steps) and the light in the bedrooms and where our son plays is awesome. there is no “right” way to do things, just what’s right for the people that live in the house.

  • I too agree that everyone should make the layout that most appeals for everyday living. I like this one because I think it was done quickly (relatively) on a fairly small budget to get it pleasant to live in, with the intention of “tweaking” later. It looks great this way, by the way!

  • I too agree that everyone should make the layout that most appeals for everyday living. I like this one because I think it was done quickly (relatively) on a fairly small budget to get it pleasant to live in, with the intention of “tweaking” later. It looks great this way, by the way!

  • This is a gem! Kudos for appreciating and restoring its antiquity.

  • This house was designed by architect Magnus Dahlander in 1892 and was Stuyvesant Heights proper during the 1880s and 1890s. We hope to have this area landmark as Stuyvesant North HD very soon. Montrose and myself will be giving a MAS tour of this area on Sunday. The Bedford side will be this Saturday please come out if you can…

  • peterinbrooklyn…

    Thanks for the info. The only “authentic” example of an intact garden floor I’ve seen is the Old Merchant’s House in NoHo. Of course that one was already 60 years old when yours was built… Beautiful work on your part.

  • Beautiful. I love it. The exterior is extraordinary.

    Re the original setup, agree with what the owner says. Plus most likely there would have been a cabinet on the interior side of the fireplace, and a sink on the exterior side. We have the original kitchen, also early 1890s in Bed Stuy. Our dumbwaiter is a bit of a head scratcher too. I think it may have been intended to carry coal, milk, and garbage — but it doesn’t make a lot of sense, since it goes between the owner’s duplex and an original third-floor apartment. Obviously this house here was a single family house. Maybe the rear double parlor could do double duty as a dining room, or the dumbwaiter was convenient for drinks and snacks. Or maybe just every house had to have one, regardless of need or practicality.

  • Very nice blend of classic and contemporary.

  • Paint colors are very serene and harmonious from room to room.

  • I personally wouldn’t love having the full bath on a different floor than the bedrooms. However, I love the use of hte garden floor!

  • This is such a lovely renovation, excellent taste was shown throughout. I’m particularly enamored of that bed frame shown in the bedroom at the back of the house, does anyone have any idea where it’s from?

  • Love the closet bathroom! Nice! Though I don’t love some of the garden floor choices (unadorned boxy opening between two room, purple paint with wood color trip, etc. but whatever).

  • Love the closet bathroom! Nice! Though I don’t love some of the garden floor choices (unadorned boxy opening between two room, purple paint with wood color trip, etc. but whatever).