12-Bergen-Street-sm-size-3

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.

Jersey-City-Loft-Nelson-Pendant-Lamps

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.

556_1st_st_4_rgb

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…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design or renovation project, written and produced by Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11.

10012014_ER_242_Cumberland_0499_Final_4029

WHERE MOST PEOPLE SEE A WRECK, architects see glorious opportunity. So said Elizabeth Roberts, founding principal of Gowanus-based Ensemble Architecture, of this four-story brick row house whose new owners are a young family late of SoHo.

“The house was in really bad shape,” said Roberts of the neglected 20-by-36-foot structure, into which the architects managed to fit four bedrooms, a study, three full baths and two half baths.  “It had been vacant, water had been leaking for a few years, and the rear wall was falling down. The opportunity was there for opening it up a lot, and putting on a two-story addition.”

That 13-foot-deep addition was the project’s boldest stroke. Now, the new garden-level kitchen, as well as the back parlor on the floor above, open into a two-story volume containing a high-ceilinged dining space. (more…)

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

Kitchen 2a

THE TRIBECA TRANSPLANTS who bought the wide brick row house in the heart of Cobble Hill knew from the outset there was no chance of a historical renovation. The four-story house had been broken up into three apartments and shoddily renovated in the 1970s.

“Almost nothing was original,” said Hope Dana of Platt Dana, the architecture team brought in to create a one-family dwelling and update the house from top to bottom. “There was no connection between the garden level and the parlor floor, all the brick was exposed, none of the fireplaces were working, and there was no original molding.” (The one exception was the molding around the arched entry doors at parlor level, which happily also remained.)

The parlor floor was one big room, with a tiny kitchen at the back. Yet the new homeowners “wanted to live in a traditional brownstone way,” said Dana, with two rooms on the parlor floor separated by pocket doors, and a kitchen on the garden level. (more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design or renovation project, written and produced by journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11 am.

854_President_13

AFTER THE NEW OWNERS of this exceptional brownstone had shelled out the price of admission, “budget-friendly” became their decorating watchword. Tamara Eatonan up-and-coming interior designer, was on the case to help the couple, who recently relocated from L.A., create a fresh, lighthearted home for their young family within the envelope of a seriously detailed late 19th century row house near Prospect Park.

The house was in estate condition, with a load of original detail including mother-of-pearl inlay in woodwork around doors and fireplaces on the parlor floor. “There was not a ton we had to do,” Eaton said.

Because furnishings from the couple’s California residence were to be repurposed in this totally different setting, Eaton saw her challenge as “making their very modern things work in a traditional brownstone. We painted most walls white to freshen things up and make the woodwork feel less heavy, and because she is a fashion stylist, added a bit of gloss and glamour with fun wallpaper and light fixtures.”

A 25-year-old kitchen on the garden level was left untouched due to budget constraints. Eaton oversaw the revamping of four bathrooms with basic white fixtures, plus quirky wallpaper or bright paint just for fun.

See more after the jump.

Photos by Jeffrey Kilmer

(more…)

WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design or renovation project, written and produced by journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11 am.

rustic-modern row house

SOMETIMES A GUT JOB is the only answer, as was the case with this 15-by-44-foot four-story row house in Bed Stuy. It had been ripped apart by a developer and then abandoned during the recession, even becoming home to squatters for a time.

“It was a total wreck. There was nothing at all worth saving,” says Gitta Robinson of Brooklyn-based Robinson + Grisaru Architecture, the firm hired by new owners to transform a shell into a home.

Brick party walls and wood joists were practically all that remained. At least the joists were in decent shape.

The architects decided to keep them uncovered on the two lower floors, to add ceiling height, and painted them white. Exposed brick was likewise kept exposed.

“There was a debate on whether it would stay natural or be painted white,” Robinson recalls. Natural won.

Where a chimney breast was removed in the dining area at the rear of the parlor floor, above, the void was patched in with mortar. The homeowners — he is a graphic designer and she a landscape designer — loved the effect and kept it, even matching the mortar treatment on the rear wall of the parlor floor.

In a bold design stroke, the architects removed 2.5 feet of flooring at the rear of the parlor level, creating an open two-story slot that connects the garden and parlor floor acoustically and lets in extra light. Ideally, the architects and homeowners would have liked to replace the whole back wall on the two lower stories with glass, but a tight budget prevented it. (more…)

blueprint1

What did your Brooklyn row house look like originally? What year was it built? Who was the architect? Was it a two-family, one-family or something else? These are all questions original blueprints can answer. You may want to know because you are renovating, you have a passion for old houses, you are a new owner or you’re just curious.

Finding your original blueprints requires some legwork, ingenuity and persistence, as Brownstoner reader chemosphere recently discovered when researching his house in Flatbush.

He posted about the process, what he found and questions about the 100-year-old shorthand he was trying to decipher in a few separate posts in the forum. He has kindly allowed us to use those posts and the pictures of the blueprints he found to discuss in more detail how to find and read your original blueprints. (more…)

463 carroll street 4

The architects at OPerA Studio took a crumbling townhouse at 463 Carroll Street in Gowanus and transformed it into a modern four-bedroom home with new facades and Juliet balconies. The client was a developer who intended to sell the house.

“The concept was to create a modern dwelling that retained the warmth and texture of a traditional townhouse,” OPerA’s Thomas Barry told us. Exposed brick walls and warm reclaimed wood in the window surrounds and stairs help balance out the house’s modern feel.

“The deep wood window surrounds create a play of shadows on the facades while providing a natural materiality, but rendered in a modern formal vocabulary,” he continued. “This balance is carried inside with the details of the stairs and the continuation of the play of warm and cool material combinations.”

The house required major structural repairs. The underlying wood frame structure was so termite-damaged that the “brick facades were literally hanging on nothing,” Barry said. OPerA Studio removed the facades, shored up the unstable wood framing, repaired the foundation and replaced the cellar slab. Then new facades were built at the front and back with a 2-by-6 wood frame. Half the floor joists were replaced.

After the renovation, the 2,400-square-foot home has three and a half baths, a blindingly white chef’s kitchen, gas fireplaces and a double-height master bedroom on the third floor. It hit the market with renderings in the fall of 2013 and sold for its aggressive asking price, $2,649,000, last December.

Click through to see photos from before and after the renovation. What do you think of how it turned out?

Major Renovation in Works at 463 Carroll Street [Brownstoner]
Photos by OPerA Studio

(more…)

247-hancock-street-1-102014

The Bed Stuy mansion at 247 Hancock Street that is asking $6,000,000 was featured on NBC’s “Open House” Sunday. If you haven’t been inside or met owner Claudia Moran yet, this is a great tour. Check it out here. You can also read all about Ms. Moran and how she found the house and restored it in the profile we wrote in July.

Photo by Halstead

500-metropolitan-avenue-rend-3-030415

It’s been about two years since Chetrit Group broke ground on the long-stalled — and also big and ambitious — mixed-use hotel/apartment/retail complex at 500 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, and not much has happened since. But when we stopped by yesterday, we saw hardhats working on the foundation. Last time we peeked, it was just dirt, so this is a major advance.

In the meantime, after already changing once before, it seems the architect has switched again, from Gene Kaufman to Kutnicki Bernstein, and the design has also changed — we are now on Version No. 5. About a month ago, Curbed dug up interior renderings on the website of Raad Studio, which appears to be handling the inside.

The renderings are pretty mind blowing. How do you like the sexy siren hanging out at the indoor-outdoor fire pits, above? There’s also a babe in a pool — and a pretty good looking bathroom — with a shower that strikes us as roomy enough for two. (See them all here, in full size glory.)

Click through for lots of construction-site photos and to see a progression of exterior renderings over seven years. This should be quite the development, if it ever gets built. What do you think of it?

500 Metropolitan Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
502 Metropolitan Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Raad Studio

(more…)

db-open-plan-1-022515

We are smitten by the latest home to be featured on Design Brooklyn for several reasons:
*The open plan kitchen is a thing of beauty. Appliances are enclosed in a navy-colored l-shaped room divider that looks like a sculpture. The matching cabinets above look like a painting in the center of the tiled kitchen wall. This is the best open plan kitchen we have ever seen.
*The unique kitchen island transforms into a pull-out table that seats 10. Row house owners with parlor floor kitchens too narrow or shallow for a separate dining area should consider this brilliant idea.
*It’s a 650-square-foot one-bedroom and was renovated on a budget.
*The layout and ideas are highly relevant to Brooklyn tenement apartments as well as new construction.
*The owners preserved original details, such as parquet and window surrounds, plus upgraded the bath while keeping its 20th century tile and tub. This was partly a cost savings move, but the results look great.
Naturally, the owners are an interior designer and an architect. Here are all the details — and extra-large photos — from writer Anne Hellman and photographer Michel Arnaud.

When interior designer Nora Calderwood and architect Adam Darter bought their 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Park Slope, they knew they would need to renovate in a major way but on a scaled-down budget. A year later, the result is not only airy and light, it smartly blends original details with the owners’ forward-thinking design ideas.

The apartment had endured some wear and tear, and had been divided up into four small rooms. But with some consideration, the couple realized what could be found underneath the surface. “We were able to look beyond the tattered conditions of the apartment and realized that, with nine-and-a-half-foot ceilings and six south-facing windows, it had potential,” said Adam.

By removing the walls in the main area, Nora and Adam created a loft-like living room, open to the inventive kitchen and dining area. To maximize space and minimize visual clutter (which are musts in a small apartment), Adam designed a kitchen island unit that can be used as both an eat-at island and as a dining table that pulls out into the room for larger dinner parties. (more…)