The befores and afters say it all. From a dreary, dated duplex with an awkward spiral stair, Brooklyn-based designer Jennifer Levy of CAV Design crafted a custom home for a family of four, with great attention to detail.
She replaced the standard-issue metal spiral stair with a much more usable and easier-on-the-eyes wood staircase, brought two dowdy bathrooms into the 21st century, incorporated new storage on the upper level to make up for closets sacrificed on the lower, and chose wall colors, materials and furnishings in keeping with the organic feel her clients wanted.
In a former factory building converted to condos in the 1980s, the 1,080-square-foot apartment is comprised of an open-plan living room/dining room/kitchen (the latter not part of this project) plus a powder room on the lower level, with two bedrooms and a full bath above.
Besides the increased functionality of a new staircase, the homeowners were after “something contemporary, clean and unified, incorporating organic elements,” said Levy, a former photographer who segued into interior design after studying at Parsons, forming her company in 2006. “What they had didn’t have a whole lot of character. They wanted more of a statement,” and to bring “an outside feeling indoors.”
In the living area, artwork produced by Levy herself echoes the teal green wall on other side of the room. “We wanted something eye-catching that would wrap the corner of the room and bring life into it,” she said.
Dining area before and after. A wall painted Benjamin Moore Sea Star, from the company’s Aura line, sets the space apart.
To surround the working gas fireplace, Levy chose a slate tile with a slight metallic quality from Artistic Tile.
The mantel of reclaimed wood was “a way to warm up the place and give it a little patina,” she said.
A mini home office tucked in a corner to the left of the fireplace has a drop-down desktop that makes fast work of decluttering, and file storage below.
Staircase before and after. Storage lost on the lower level was replaced, some of it nested under the new staircase on the upper level.
Levy worked with architect Skip Boling to design the new staircase, which was fabricated of oak and stainless steel, with a cable rail system. “We worked hard to make it feel open and create a graphic profile” while keeping to code, she said.
Powder room before and after, above. A Tolix Marais stool from Design Within Reach, cut to accommodate plumbing, became a base for a small vessel sink in the downstairs powder/laundry room.
A maple panel door was hung with box stall hardware from Audobon Hardware to save space.
The upstairs bathroom was enlarged to accommodate a walk-in shower, both physically, into an extra foot of unused space discovered behind the righthand wall, and visually, with a frameless shower door and mirrored wall. Cancos Tile supplied the floor and wall tile, Artistic Tile the decorative trim.
[Photos by Jennifer Levy]
The Insider is Brownstoner’s in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. The stories are original to Brownstoner; the photos may have been published before.
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