The Insider: “Three-Quarter” Reno in South Slope Tailors Already Updated House for Young Family

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The two-story brick row house had been renovated by its previous owners with all new mechanicals, but its aesthetic did not appeal to the couple who subsequently bought it. So they brought in Downtown Brooklyn-based Barker Freeman Design Office to rethink and upgrade the interior finishes, brighten the color palette, and make a few functional changes to the layout as well.

“This was not a stripped-down gut, everything-gets-thrown out kind of job,” said principal architect Alexandra Barker. “It was more strategic — a three-quarter renovation.”

The big moves on the main level were taking down a dividing wall to eliminate a space-wasting hallway between the stair and the living/dining area, and creating an entry vestibule where there was none.

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On the floor above, the architects added walls to create two separate bedrooms and a play area for the homeowners’ young twin sons.

In the kitchen, they kept the existing appliances and cabinets, replacing just the countertops, tile backsplash and cabinet hardware.

The existing flooring was dark and made the whole house feel that way, the architect said. They substituted new white oak flooring with an oil finish throughout, sourced from LV Wood.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

The house’s entry doors were replaced with new ones that have smaller glass panels for greater privacy.

The vestibule itself is new, with a hexagonal tile floor from Complete Tile. New millwork makes it a mini-mudroom.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Furnishings belonging to the homeowners include a couch from Montauk Sofa and a coffee table from Cisco Home.

Simple new bookshelves of reclaimed wood from Mountain Lumber in Virginia fill the alcove to the left of the mantel.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Built-in shelving under a new cut-out in the wall between the kitchen and dining area holds a fish tank and radio as well as books and photos.

A custom dining table from Pompanoosuc Mills is surrounded by Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Barker Freeman upgraded the existing kitchen with black granite counters, a new tile backsplash and open shelving.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

A casual family space with bean bag chairs makes use of an existing extension at the back of the house.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

The first floor powder room has a new hex tile floor and a new recessed shelving unit inserted above the toilet.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

The staircase, with its balusters and handrail, are original to the house. The pale wood flooring is new.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

A new surface-mounted sliding door divides space at the front of the house into bedrooms for two boys, one squarish and the other long and narrow, but both roughly the same square footage.

The walls are painted Fairy Tale Blue by Benjamin Moore.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Barker Freeman South Slope

Shared play space and storage was incorporated into the boys’ suite.

[Photos by Lesley Unruh]

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The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday morning. Got a project to propose for The Insider? Contact Cara at caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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