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.
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…)