5th Avenue Reno: A Change in Plans


My family and I are in the design phase of renovating our 1,300-square-foot apartment as well as adding 500 square feet of living space on top of our existing apartment. (We could not join the apartment below with our apartment since the tenant is rent controlled.)

Before being bitten by the renovation bug, we thought about buying another property. We scoured many spaces in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and Bed Stuy, but after consulting a financial advisor we opted out and opted into renovating and adding valuable square footage to our Park Slope property.

The design for our apartment features two levels of a glass curtain wall, an open 22-foot-high ceiling and lots of glass… OK, way too much glass. “Who’s going to clean all that glass?” was the first panic attack I had after sleeping on our final design decisions, quickly followed by maintance costs, heating and cooling issues. I also thought about dealing with the complexities of constructing this design as well as the issue of scale and balance of a 22-foot-high ceiling within a 1,300-square-foot space. It literally gave me nightmares. And after speaking with a few contractors, budget and time quickly became major concerns.

So what must one who needs more space do for her growing family? Move? Move in hopes of finding a budget-friendly home that needs no renovation? Highly unlikely, within our budget and requirements. And I certainly did not want to take many months or a couple of years finding that perfect property to buy at that perfect time. So we did as the saying goes: We headed back to the drawing board!

We all agree we need more space, we just don’t need all the glass and open air space. Len, our architect, and I redesigned the apartment to be a practical family home, with a touch of glamour that’s no longer too loud. I’m in love!

Above, gone are the days of the 22-foot-high ceiling, replaced by 500 square feet of space built on top of the building. We will still have glass, just not as much of it. Upstairs we will have twin sliding glass terrace doors on both sides of the addition. A smaller glass stair railing will replace the previous railing design. On the third floor, we will keep the open space, which combines living, dining and kitchen.




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