This recently gut-renovated 1860s townhouse in the lower Slope has some trademark signifiers — besides the generally thoughtful and sensitive design — that Elizabeth Roberts and her team at Gowanus-based Ensemble Architecture were here.
Chief among them is the spectacular new kitchen at the rear of the 40-foot-long parlor floor, which has the no-nonsense muscularity of a British manor house kitchen of two centuries ago.
The Ensemble team, led by project architect Josh Lekwa, opened up the entire back wall, replacing it with steel-and-glass doors and windows. There’s built-in custom storage on either side of the room, with a rolling library ladder, and a wood-fired grill where the original fireplace once stood.
The mahogany stair rail was brought back to gleaming perfection. The floor is new, of unstained white oak with a clear sealant. The dining table, which doubles for ping-pong, is from the Spanish company RS Design.
Upstairs, there’s a sensational master bathroom with a patterned floor, of which Roberts herself admitted she is “pretty jealous.”
The spare, clean-lined furnishings in the classic front parlor belonged to the clients, a couple in the advertising and technology worlds. The brass chandelier is from Apparatus Studio.
“We took out all the walls on the parlor level and reframed the floor above, so we were able to use the full 20-foot width of the house,” Roberts said.
One unusual aspect of the new kitchen is its orientation, said Roberts, with the sink along the back wall and the stove toward the rear of the house in a center island. “Being able to look toward the front of the house while cooking and entertaining is really satisfying,” Roberts said. “Most often, houses that are long and narrow have those elements running in the long direction.”
A rolling library ladder runs along rails near the ceiling on both sides of the room. The lightweight ladder, from Putnam, can easily be picked up and moved from one side to the other.
Midnight-blue ceramic tiles from Heath surround a custom grill from Grillworks, normally used in restaurant kitchens. The crank raises and lowers the grilling surface above the wood fire. There’s a firewood niche below.
Custom cabinetry is by Wood Mode, with honed Blue de Savoie marble countertops.
Bright but not overwhelming color in the children’s bedrooms was achieved by painting just the lower portions of the walls.
The black-and-white “Lucifer”-patterned cement floor tile from Mosaic House, with radiant heating underneath, was the outcome of the client’s wanting something feminine and indulgent, and the designers guiding them toward a choice that, in Roberts’ words, “didn’t feel like a complete departure from the rest of the house.”
The shower is fitted with two thermostatic showerheads by Rohl.
The children’s bathroom is distinguished by Saul Steinberg-designed wallpaper from Schumacher. The custom vanity is made of honed Carrara marble.
[Photos: Dustin Aksland]
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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