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.