Image source: Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park has issued its annual call for artits and architects – the Emerging Artist Foundation (EAF13) residency and exhibition for artists and Folly, a design/build studio residency and exhibition for architects. For both artists and architects, the application deadline is Monday, January 7. Folly occurs first, the residency lasting from March-May 2013 with the exhibition May-August 2013. EAF is after that, with the residency lasting from May-September 2013 and the exhibition September 2013-March 2014.


Join us here every Thursday at 11:30AM for The Insider, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at interior design and renovation in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s written and produced by Cara Greenberg, who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun & Profit.


LET’S GET one thing straight right off the bat. “No period detail was harmed in this renovation,” declares architect Jeff Sherman of DUMBO-based Delson or Sherman. The interior of the stoop-less, three-story, c.1900 brick row house, he says, “had the feeling of a 1970s ski lodge, made mostly of plywood.”

The house has some very special features, including an entry wall of stained glass discs, above, by Lexington, KY glass artist Frank Close. A new cherry staircase has wide lower steps that create the illusion of a grand stair, leading up to a skylit top floor with a stone-walled meditation room. There’s a new custom kitchen with an orange-and-brown color scheme and two new baths, one with teak flooring and woodwork.

With only a 22’x29′ footprint to work with, the architects decided early on to enlarge the house by linking it to the outdoors. On the ground level, Delson or Sherman (the “or” goes back to the firm’s founding in the separate apartments of Sherman and his partner, Perla Delson) replaced the rear wall with storefront glass and took steps to “treat the backyard like a room.”

The general contractor was Brooklyn-based Hamilton Renovation. Cost of construction: $1.1million.

Read on after the jump.

Photos: Catherine Tighe (interiors); Tyler Horsley (garden)




JOIN US HERE every Thursday at 11:30AM for The Insider, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a recent renovation/interior design project here in Brooklyn. It’s written and produced by Cara Greenberg, who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun and Profit.

TO MAKE A LATE 19th CENTURY ROW HOUSE work for an early  21st century family, Brooklyn-based Platt Dana Architects conceived an extension running the full 25-foot width of the building, over two floors. With a new family room on the garden level and a new kitchen above, it replaces an 8’x12′ kitchen in a now-demolished ‘dog-leg’ extension that jutted into the backyard and was accessed only by one small door.

The homeowners – a couple with four boys — had lived with that situation for some 15 years before deciding they could stand it no longer. “They spent a lot of time in that kitchen, and they were used to falling over each other because space was so tight, ” says architect Hope Dana. “So they were very open to the idea of big spaces with little obstruction.”

Another consideration: pre-renovation, the boys would hang out with friends on the garden level, while their parents upstairs felt disconnected from what was happening. They wanted the new spaces linked for a feeling of greater openness and connection. This was accomplished by inserting a striking floating staircase, unconfined by walls, with wood treads and a tempered glass rail.

“The clients were totally on board to have a very modern aesthetic in back. They were not interested in having the addition look like a restoration,” Dana says. What they got is essentially a triple parlor configuration – living room at the front of the parlor floor, dining room in the middle, kitchen at the back. “This triple parlor idea plays very well,” says Dana. “The aesthetic is so strong that having a very modern back piece is not that crazy.”

Uniform Teamwork (718/898-1315) was the general contractor.

Photos: Karen Cipolla


The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly, in-depth look at a recent renovation and interior design project here in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s written and produced by Cara Greenberg, a local blogger and design writer. Find it here every Thursday at 11:30AM.

IT’S ALWAYS ILLUMINATING to get a glimpse into architects’ own homes. This one, a 2,700-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath in a venerable 1920s building, is home to Hope Dana of Platt Dana Architects and her family.

They bought the bright, sprawling apartment in 2008 and “basically gutted the whole thing,” Dana says. The contractor was Jeffrey Wong of Uniform Teamwork.

The floor plan didn’t change radically. “It was a series of little rooms, and it’s still a series of rooms, but we raised all the openings to make them feel more connected to one another,” says Dana. Between the living and dining rooms, for example, a wide space formerly filled with French doors, above, now reaches to the ceiling instead of stopping two feet short of it — a simple change that dramatically increased the sense of openness and modernity.

Furnishings are mostly classic modernist designs, sparely deployed. “It’s less about decor and more about letting light in,” Dana says. “I don’t like clutter.”

More, including ‘befores,’ on the jump.

The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly look at the state of interior design and renovation in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s written by Cara Greenberg, a design journalist who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun & Profit. Find The Insider here every Thursday at 11:30AM.


THIS c.1900 ROW HOUSE is about as green as you can get without being LEED-certified. “Our clients had a very strong green agenda, but a normal budget,” says Jeff Sherman of the DUMBO architecture firm Delson or Sherman, which took on the job of converting a three-unit house that had had the same owner for 50 years into a single-family residence for a couple with two kids.

“LEED certification winds up being a surprisingly expensive process,” Sherman explains, citing the paperwork involved in documenting sources and the required follow-up inspections. Instead, Sherman and his partner Perla Delson, who are accredited to do LEED projects, strove for maximum impact at minimum cost. The result is a project that still has “strong green credentials,” as Sherman puts it. The contractor was the Brooklyn-based Square Indigo.

The 20’x44′ four-story building is chock full of sustainable strategies, including radiant heat flooring, solar water heating, spray foam insulation, a high-efficiency boiler, and a whole-house fan (a rainwater collection system and photovoltaic panels are yet to be implemented). Daylight is maximized by enormous skylights, as well as the replacement of one-third of the back wall with expanses of glass. Materials were re-purposed whenever possible, even the little ‘Juliet’ balconies at the rear of the house, which are segments of the original fire escape.

Now sleek and utterly modern, the house had some old doors, mantels, pressed tin, and bathroom fixtures, all of which were salvaged, though not for use in this project. “The owners worked Craigslist and Build It Green to make sure any possible thing that could be used by somebody, was,” Sherman says. “The house was picked clean by the time we started.”

Photos: Seong Kwon

Much more after the jump.


The Insider, Brownstoner’s weekly look at renovation and interior design in Brooklyn, is written and produced by Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11:30.

THE IMPRESSIVE DUTCH REVIVAL row house in Brooklyn Heights, with its stepped gable and bronze plaque reading c.1820, was once home to the prolific Brooklyn architect William Tubby (1858-1944). Renowned in particular for his Clinton Hill mansions, Tubby purchased the house as his private residence and lived there for decades, adding stained glass panels and other interior detail along the way.

Above: Sliding pocket doors between the dining room and new kitchen extension were designed to complement original leaded glass elsewhere in the house.

By the 21st century, parts of the house drastically needed improvement. “There was a small extension out the back with a tiny galley kitchen,” says Gitta Robinson of Robinson + Grisaru Architecture, the husband-and-wife team hired to create a much larger kitchen and turn part of the basement into usable space for a family of four. Working with contractor Robert Taffera, R+G demolished the existing addition and put a new two-story extension across the 25-foot width of the rear wall. “It’s in a landmark district and visible from a side street,” Robinson says. “We had to go through a lengthy review process. The community board rejected it as too modern, but Landmarks liked the design and approved it.”

The new design makes use of a steel window system with thin metal sections. Some of the windows are fixed. Others are awning-style, pivoting out for ventilation. The rear half of the basement was excavated to gain more ceiling height (there’s a guest room at the front of the building and mechanicals in the center), and the backyard dug out about six feet from the rear wall to create a well.

Photos: Melanie Acevedo

Lots more after the jump.



The Insider, Brownstoner’s weekly look at renovation and interior design in the borough of Brooklyn, is produced and written by Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11:30.

The brick row house on State Street had been the victim of the same ignominious treatment that befell so many stately 19th century row houses in the 20th. The 22’x40′ building had been transformed from a luxurious single-family residence into four floor-through apartments, and in the process, its stoop was torn off; its elegant parlor windows were shortened; and all interior detail was stripped.

By the time the current owners bought the building in 2008, intending to turn it back into a one-family home for themselves and their two young daughters, it was little more than a tenement. There was nothing for it but to demolish down to the brick shell and re-build.

“It was a total gut renovation,” says Hope Dana of Platt Dana Architects, the team called in to design and oversee what became a two-year project. “Everything is brand new – floor joists, floors, walls, stairs, moldings, paneling, doors. Not one thing that’s there now was there before.” The house now has a kitchen and family room on the garden level; a living room and dining room on the parlor floor; a master suite on the second floor; three bedrooms on the third floor; and two bedrooms, a playroom and a laundry room in a converted attic space. There are three full baths and two powder rooms. Platt Dana also restored the stoop, lengthened the parlor windows, and put in all new mechanicals, including radiant floor heat.

The interiors are the work of Manhattan-based designer Marie-Christine Kresse. “I wanted to give them a clean, modern family home,” she says, “incorporating their existing mid-century pieces with contemporary.”

Interior Photos: Paul Draine

More pictures and details on the jump.