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.
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.
They got all that, plus new wood French doors leading to a lush garden and a home gym at the front of the building on the garden floor. (They sacrificed a formal dining room to allow room for it.) To make the kitchen ceiling feel higher, Dana said, “We took the sheetrock off the ceiling, exposed the joists, and painted them white.”
Interior designer Kevin Hart got involved early on and collaborated on many decisions beyond paint colors and furnishings, including the choice of stone surrounds for the all-new fireplaces and even how to keep mosquitoes from the backyard (with strategically placed fans).
See and read more below.
Photos 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10: Joseph Kitchen
Photos 3, 4, 7: Craig Hoeksema
All the custom upholstered pieces on the parlor floor, above, are Kevin Hart’s own designs. The carpets are antique Orientals, the brass chandelier vintage Stilnovo, an Italian maker.
At the rear of the parlor floor, near the home office area, Platt Dana installed a new staircase. Designed to match the existing original stairs, it leads down to the garden level.
An Eero Saarinen tulip table from Knoll is surrounded by Italian mid-century chairs by Castelli. The console is a Scandinavian mid-century piece.
A sofa from Design Within Reach anchors a sitting room adjacent to the master bedroom on the top floor. Children’s bedrooms (not pictured) are on the floor below.