Face Off: Looking Good on the Outside
The husband-and-wife architecture team Halpert & Ruiz know that if a house’s face is pretty from the outside and views are good from within, as a landlord you will have an easier time finding good tenants.
The brown-stone the bought in the Bronx wasn’t livable when they began their renovation. The plumbing was nearly useless and there were only 40 amps of power coming into the entire four-family building (instead of the standard 100 amps per apartment). Because it was a tenement, the layout was bleak with a great deal of space wasted on corridors and crepuscular inner rooms with only a single window looking smack onto a brick wall. The pair decided that merely repairing or replacing the basics, putting up some drywall, and slapping on a few coats of paint wouldn’t have been worth their trouble. The result was the equivalent of a backless cocktail dress: Halpert & Ruiz replaced almost an entire four-story brick wall and its fire escapes with a ribbon of glass that opened each entire floor to light. The historically significant location made this a worthwhile (and just plain enjoyable) improvement to the building.