A couple who purchased a run-down apartment measuring barely 800 square feet wanted to maximize the use of the space and make it a pleasant environment to come home to.
“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.
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.
THERE’S A NEW ONLINE MATCH-UP SERVICE in town, but this one is strictly business. Instead of potential romantic partners, theSweeten.com helps homeowners find architects, designers, and contractors for their home-improvement projects, from large (whole-house renovations) to small (a wall of bookshelves).
Launched last year by Jean Brownhill Lauer, a Bed-Stuy resident who trained as an architect, theSweeten vets and pre-approves all professionals, thoroughly checking their references and quality of work so you don’t have to. She conducts face-to-face interviews, checks licensing and certificates, and monitors client feedback before inviting them to join the network. Design professionals pay for membership; homeowners pay nothing.
One such member is Sarah Zames of General Assembly, an architect who’s just wrapping up a Brooklyn Heights studio renovation she contracted through theSweeten. Her previous project, the subject of this post, was her calling card: a little bit of suburbia in Williamsburg. The home is a 1950s brick single-family across from Cooper Park, with front and rear yards and a parking alley, as well as air rights to build upwards in the future.
The current homeowners, a couple in the arts with a small daughter, hired General Assembly in January 2011, shortly after they bought the house. It had been unoccupied for three years. “It was a disaster,” recalls Zames. “It would definitely have scared most people off. The entire thing had to be completely gutted, re-plumbed, and re-wired, and the HVAC system replaced.” After a lightning-quick four-month renovation, the new owners had a completely remodeled home with a newly efficient floor plan, and were able to move in by Memorial Day.
The house is essentially a split-level, with a ground-floor living room/dining area/kitchen measuring just 300 square feet. Steps lead down to a guest room/art studio on the lower level. There are two bedrooms and a bath on the second floor.
See lots more photos and read all about it after the jump.