Tucked among the 20th century houses of Marine Park is an amazing architectural time capsule that brings the lucky visitor forward from the farming days of the 18th century to the rapidly urbanizing landscape of the early 20th century.
As soon as Jeremy Floto and Cassandra Warner walked through the door of their Crown Heights brownstone in 2013, they knew it would be home.
They also knew they had their work cut out for them — the house was a total wreck.
Cofounders of Calico Wallpaper, Rachel and Nick Cope naturally gravitated toward their favorite wall covering when designing their refined Red Hook rental.
“A massive reorganization” is how Sarah Zames of Brooklyn-based design firm General Assembly described this recent project, joining two one-bedroom apartments to create a spacious, 1,400-square-foot home for a couple — one a filmmaker, the other an actor. The California transplants had bought adjacent top-floor apartments in a brand-new build, as well as the public hallway between the two.
The fact that they were renters didn’t deter this creative couple from making changes to their 650-square-foot Clinton Hill apartment.
There’s a cautionary tale for prospective homebuyers in the case of this four-story brick house that had lost its neighbor to one side.
“The sellers didn’t allow my clients to do a structural inspection. That signaled something fishy,” said architect Sarah Strauss, AIA, of the Bed Stuy-based design/build company Bigprototype, which was called in after the purchase to do what the new homeowners originally thought would be a relatively modest interior renovation.
Gorgeous tile, stained glass, mahogany and deep claw foot tubs — the typical late-Victorian bathroom was luxurious and large. Common features were porcelain hex-tile floors, a wainscot of white subway tile and, of course, the aforementioned iconic tub.
The wainscot would usually be topped by a border of ornate tile with bas-relief garlands, shells or other motifs and puddling pastel glazes. Stained glass windows often featured aquatic themes, such as fish.
Today such bathrooms, if any of their original features survive, are usually in need of new plumbing and electric. Here are seven examples of updated bathrooms whose owners kept the original look or created a vintage feel.
Combining high design and kitsch, bold patterns and vibrant colors, interior designer Fawn Galli created a remarkable home in Carroll Gardens — one that goes against the grain and achieves a glorious effect.
Owned by a single family for a century, this Gilded Age townhouse near Prospect Park came into modern times with nearly all its original detail preserved.
That’s not to say the new homeowners didn’t have work to do. First they hired Red Hook-based MADE Architecture to, among other things, design new bathroom layouts as well as a new layout and cabinetry for the garden-level kitchen, and to bring the intact but timeworn woodwork to a high level of polish.
Then in came Ensemble Architecture to choose furnishings and finishes, including floor and wall tiles, light fixtures, countertops, plumbing fixtures, wallpaper and paint colors. The Gowanus-based studio, which was founded in 1998 by Elizabeth Roberts and now comprises 13 architects and designers, recently expanded its interiors department.
This classic four-story Park Slope brownstone had been updated by its previous owner, a contractor, who had “already done the big stuff — the kitchen, air conditioning, a security system,” said Jennifer Morris of JMorris Design, a Brooklyn-based interior design studio specializing in finishes and furnishings.
So Morris was able to forget about the function and focus on the fun. Her goal was to create something “textured and expressive.”
“The parlor floor was very much intact,” Morris said, with elaborate original woodwork, mantels and delicate plaster decoration on the ceilings and on friezes running along the top of the 12-foot-high walls. But the plasterwork had been “gunked up” over the years and was hardly pristine.