It was another year of inspiring design with deep dives into renovation projects across the borough. Every week Brownstoner’s Cara Greenberg gave us a tour of a finished project with details on layout decisions, finishes and interior design in spaces from apartments to townhouses.
Below, click through to find the top 10 Insider columns of the past year and see if your favorite made the list.
“Blowing out” the solid back wall of a 19th century row house and replacing it with an expanse of glass is one of the most frequent requests local architects get from their 21st century clients. It’s a way to infuse vast amounts of light into darkish interiors.
After more than a decade in their vintage townhouse, its owners were ready for a big renovation push that would give them the large eat-in kitchen and additional space they craved for their growing family.
Like many people familiar with four-story townhouse living, Amy Shakespeare’s clients, a couple with two young children, “wanted to solve the problem of living on multiple floors,” said the architect, who is a principal of Park Slope-based Shakespeare, Gordon, Vlado: Architects (SGVA). (The project was completed when the firm was called Redtop Architects.)
One of the owners of a vintage row house, which had long been a down-at-the-heels rental building, chose the bright top floor as a home for herself and her two children. She hired Warwick, N.Y.-based designer Elizabeth Aurandt of Mercer Interior to help turn the two-bedroom, railroad-style apartment into a more comfortable, polished space reflective of her life as an artist and educator.
This 16-foot-wide wood frame house was cramped and sagging, with sad vinyl siding, when it first came to the attention of South Slope-based Ben Herzog Architect (BHA). The 14-person firm, founded in 2009, expanded in 2014 to include a full-service interior design department.
After a decade of living in a lower duplex with two rental units above, these homeowners decided it was time to take over more of their townhouse. So they called on architect Alexandra Barker of Gowanus-based Barker Freeman Design to create a triplex for their family of four, plus a garden rental.
A three-story row house gained an extra floor and a mansard roof in the hands of Dumbo-based CWB Architects, which gut-renovated the building for a couple with two tween-age kids. “It was in terrible, falling-down shape,” said architect Brendan Coburn of CWB. “It’s not in a landmarks district, but we treated it like a landmarks job,” down to re-created wood trim and plaster ceiling moldings that are very close to the 19th century originals.
In three years of row house renovation, Hayley Moynihan went through just about every trial and tribulation a novice can endure, including a change of contractors partway through and half a winter spent in an unheated rental apartment.
Sometimes, in the renovation of a dilapidated vintage row house, when no original details remain, the interior is given a spare contemporary treatment.
When interior designer Lauren Wills’ significant other moved out of their shared apartment mid-lease, her rent instantly doubled. But because she loved the sunny, loft-like space on the top floor of an older multi-unit building, she decided to stay and make it work.
- The Insider: A Modern Farmhouse Feel Emerges From an Extensive Cobble Hill Gut Renovation
- The Insider: Designer Warms Up and Customizes Condo in Awkward Former Greenpoint Storefront
- The Insider: Sunset Park Row House, Split Between Two Families, Gets ‘Cozy, Welcoming’ Makeover