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It’s a tale as old as your vintage record player: A drummer and a carpenter go looking for a reasonably priced Brooklyn two-bedroom and instead end up renting a large ground-floor studio with an attached garage in Boerum Hill.

But in true Brooklyn do-it-yourself fashion, roommates Adam Finkelman and Evan Garfield transformed the apartment into the place of their dreams, as Curbed recently detailed. The garage became a space for dinner parties, band practice, and woodworking, while the duo used wood scraps from Craigslist to build out two 7-foot-by-7-foot lofted bedrooms.

Creative use of space? Another sign of the affordable apartment apocalypse?

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No one in the world has a kitchen like this, except the owners of the wide, five-story brownstone holding these stunning faceted beechwood cabinets. They’re the handiwork of Workstead, a design studio with offices at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus.

Functional considerations came first — how to create cabinet handles without hardware? — but aesthetics were never far behind. “We got to thinking about carving out material in order to create utility,” said Ryan Mahoney, one of three Rhode Island School of Design architecture school alumni, along with Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler, who comprise the small firm.

“We had the idea that instead of adding something, we would subtract wood to create handles for the cabinetry. Once we had this rule of thumb to go by and began to work with the material, we came up with this wedge-shaped profile for the cabinet faces and started getting interesting forms and patterns,” he said.

The designers lined up the sink countertop against the existing bank of windows at the rear of the house, eliminating the typical backsplash, to maximize the experience of looking out into the garden. The generous light that pours in through those windows makes the carved faces of the cabinets appear ever-changing, Mahoney said. “They can be subtle or dramatic, depending on time of day.”

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A pretty little 1880s brownstone with an abundance of intact detail was the object of a scenario like many playing out all over Brooklyn these days. “The young couple buying the house — still with its traditional layout, including an old, walled-off kitchen at the back of the garden floor — wanted to bring it into the 21st century and open it up for contemporary living,” said Kimberly Neuhaus of Neuhaus Design Architecture P.C.

And so the couple hired the Brooklyn-based architect to do just that. “Little” was the operative word here.

At just 17 feet wide and slightly more than twice as deep, “it was a challenge to take this tiny three-story house and make it feel bigger,” Neuhaus said. She took several bold steps to make that happen: (more…)

The home of Kenyan Lewis in upstate, NY. andnorth.com

Kenyan Paris Lewis was a potential seeker — an enthusiast of a particular kind. An old tube radio became a DJ booth. A stack of vintage suitcases befit a night stand. A 35-foot royal spartanette trailer became an indoor movie theater.

“I just love everything old,” Kenyan said. “I’m attracted to broken things that just need repairing, or are in need of tender loving care.”

Kenyan met Meghan Auld years ago and their relationship, born from friendship, grew into a mutually beneficial partnership: she helped him build a website for his full-service design business, ByKenyan, and he showed her the art of prop and antique sourcing.

“Kenyan has an ability to walk into an empty room and just see,” Meghan said. “He doesn’t plan things out, he doesn’t draw them out, unless he has to. But, he can walk into a room and completely transform a space.”

The Manor was their home together. An impressive stone structure located in Stone Ridge, N.Y., it was once a refuge for patriot politicians and served as the New York State Capitol building for 30 days during the Revolutionary War. (more…)

Lng-02People who love old houses tend to love their quirks, so the couple who bought a mid-19th century brownstone on Joralemon Street were charmed by the fact that the house is not perfectly rectilinear. It’s a rhomboid, or slanted rectangle – that is, the opposite sides are equal in length and parallel to each other, but the corners don’t quite form right angles (as you can see in plan, below).

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“It’s a funny little house,” said Erin Fearins, an interior designer at CWB Architects, who headed up the furnishing and decorating of the home’s parlor floor and master bedroom after whole-house renovations were complete. “To make the weird wall condition less noticeable, we created a neutral envelope with simple window treatments, interjecting color and texture.” (more…)

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An untouched five-story brownstone that had been owned by the same family for a century provided a blank canvas for CWB Architects, one of Brooklyn’s busiest specialists in high-end townhouse renovation. The 1870s structure was in dire shape when the new homeowners undertook a two-year project to convert the house, which had been chopped up into apartments, to a single-family dwelling for themselves and their two young sons.

“Nearly half the floor structure was cracked,” said Brendan Coburn of CWB. “The only things we kept were the front wall and two side walls.” The back wall and all the interior framing are new.

It was an opportunity to rethink the house from, as it were, the ground up. The 20-foot-wide building “is gigantic for a family of four,” Coburn said, “and that made figuring out how to arrange the program a bit tricky.” (more…)

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Dar gitane  — “home” in Arabic plus “gypsy” in French — is both the name of Alina Preciado’s online home goods business and interior design practice, and also shorthand for her life story.

Born in California, Preciado took off for Europe at the earliest opportunity, studying architecture and design in Spain and woodworking in Denmark, where she learned “the culture of simplicity,” as she puts it. “There, even simple things are well thought-out, beautiful and functional.”

And she traveled the continents, collecting artisans’ contacts as she went. (She eventually got a Masters in Industrial Design from Brooklyn’s own Pratt Institute.)

About 15 years ago, Preciado rented a 2,000-square-foot loft near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on the seventh floor of a poured concrete building originally used as a textile mill and then by the military during WWII. She put considerable energy into making the raw space habitable.

“Whatever is here, I’ve put in over the years,” she says, including plumbing, wiring, a bathroom with a claw-foot tub, and the unfitted, farmhouse-style kitchen. (more…)

JHID_FuLL_Res_Lafayette_Brooklyn-9“These clients were not afraid of color. They kept saying, ‘More!'” recalled Chelsie Lee, project manager for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design (JHID). The Portland, Oregon-based firm had been hired to furnish a young couple’s newly purchased 20’x45′ brick row house in Fort Greene.

The building had recently been gut-renovated by the Brooklyn Home Company, with a new two-story extension on the back and a new interior staircase.

“We did a little light remodeling, like adding doors to the built-in cabinetry in the dining room to make it symmetrical,” said Lee, but the designers’ mandate was to realize the vision of the new homeowners: décor that was bold and playful. (more…)

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An artist and a cookbook writer needed a place to live and work. Her sculpture is large-scale; his profession requires a kitchen that can occasionally double as a TV studio.

After years of moving from one rental to another, they found a 3,500-square-foot co-op on the ground floor of an old Williamsburg warehouse and called on Elizabeth Roberts of Gowanus-based Ensemble Architecture to pull the space together to suit their needs.

Roberts carefully considered how to maintain the integrity of the existing industrial space while creating a functional, inviting residence with a bit of polish. “It was an important decision to leave the ceiling and columns and structure as they were, and let them be real features,” Roberts said. (more…)

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OUT OF A 1930s WAREHOUSE on a commercial block between Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, architect Ben Herzog and Brooklyn-based interior designer Kiki Dennis conjured a family home that’s both fun and functional.

The homeowners, a couple with three young kids, had lived in the 25-foot-wide, three-story building for years. However, the “functional lifestyle things were not working for them,” Dennis recalled. The answer was a total renovation. (more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project. Produced and written by design journalist Cara Greenberg, you can find it here every Thursday at 11.

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The young British couple who bought a loft-like apartment in Jersey City’s Van Vorst Historic District called for decorating help on a relatively new resource: The New Design Project, a Williamsburg-based collaboration between Fanny Abbes, a designer, and James Davison, who handles the business end of things. Both are recent refugees from the world of finance.

The 1,600-square-foot unit, in a building that began life as a stable and was later used by the Metropolitan Opera for storing props and costumes, came pre-loaded with character, including exposed brick walls and heavily beamed ceilings.

But it has only one main exposure and was very dark, said Abbes, a Parsons grad who grew up in France and Africa and has spent her adult life in London, Paris and New York. “The big challenge was to increase light, drastically,” she said. (more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project. Produced and written by design journalist Cara Greenberg, you can find it here every Thursday at 11.

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WHO WOULDA THUNK IT: classic mid-20th century furnishings, both vintage and reissued, working so beautifully — and looking so natural — in a late 19th century limestone row house? The full-on renovation by Dumbo-based architects Delson or Sherman was an update of a one-family house. Once the reno was under way, Brooklyn-based interior designer Kiki Dennis came in to do the furnishing.

“We inherited a lot of original detail that needed restoring and refreshing, but all our interventions were primarily modern,” said Perla Delson. Chief among these were an all-new kitchen and three new baths, a reconfigured garden floor with a media room and music room, and two outdoor spaces. The backyard was redesigned, with landscaping by Mac Carbonell of Verdant Gardensand a new roof deck added.

The homeowners, a couple with two young kids, “knew what they wanted,” Delson said. “They really enjoy cooking and wanted a modern kitchen, not a kitchen that pretended to look old.” (more…)