Pretty Super

written by:
photos by:
January 15, 2009
Originally published in Small Wonders

The super's unit was anything but in this Upper West side co-op, however architect Brad Zizmor saw potential in the apartment nobody could love. A re-imagined interior and gracious new outdoor space transformed this architectural blunder to boon.

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  The Zizmors' son plays in front of a living wall created by urban landscaper Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design.
    The Zizmors' son plays in front of a living wall created by urban landscaper Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design.
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  The master bedroom has a custom ramp for the dachshund at the foot of the bed and an oversize birch-veneer pendant lamp. The bedside tables are actually CD cases affixed to the wall.
    The master bedroom has a custom ramp for the dachshund at the foot of the bed and an oversize birch-veneer pendant lamp. The bedside tables are actually CD cases affixed to the wall.
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  Their son's bedroom features skillful use of ordinary birch-finished shelves from Ikea. The 1950s fiberglass shell chair is from Modernica.
    Their son's bedroom features skillful use of ordinary birch-finished shelves from Ikea. The 1950s fiberglass shell chair is from Modernica.
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  The Zizmors didn't want to use curtains to screen their wide-open home from noisy neighbors. Instead, Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design, an urban landscaper, created a living wall of wooden planters and English ivy that provides privacy without blocking light.
    The Zizmors didn't want to use curtains to screen their wide-open home from noisy neighbors. Instead, Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design, an urban landscaper, created a living wall of wooden planters and English ivy that provides privacy without blocking light.
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  The Zizmors installed a 16-foot-wide deck for playing and grilling, and lined it with hostas, Hollywood juniper, and bamboo.
    The Zizmors installed a 16-foot-wide deck for playing and grilling, and lined it with hostas, Hollywood juniper, and bamboo.
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  An outdoor dining area is screened for privacy.
    An outdoor dining area is screened for privacy.
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  Humble materials are used to good effect throughout the apartment. The bathroom contains ordinary rope lights concealed above the sinks. The tumbled slate mosaic tiles are by Artistic tile. All the wooden bathroom accessories were purchased from Ikea.
    Humble materials are used to good effect throughout the apartment. The bathroom contains ordinary rope lights concealed above the sinks. The tumbled slate mosaic tiles are by Artistic tile. All the wooden bathroom accessories were purchased from Ikea.
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  The kitchen has a dining table of black American walnut designed by Brad. The pendant lights are by Ingo Maurer.
    The kitchen has a dining table of black American walnut designed by Brad. The pendant lights are by Ingo Maurer.
  • 
  Boxes of herbs and spider plants line one side of the patio.
    Boxes of herbs and spider plants line one side of the patio.
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  The Zizmors extended their living room by installing an 8-by-15-foot sliding glass door, which leads to an outdoor dining area built six feet above the alley. To make the outdoors feel like it's part of the living room, and not a separate patio, they ran the same horizontal pattern of ipe wood slats from the indoors out.
    The Zizmors extended their living room by installing an 8-by-15-foot sliding glass door, which leads to an outdoor dining area built six feet above the alley. To make the outdoors feel like it's part of the living room, and not a separate patio, they ran the same horizontal pattern of ipe wood slats from the indoors out.
  • 
  Ingenuity can compensate for a modest budget. The Zizmors removed the base from a mid-priced leather couch from West Elm and inserted it in a custom armature made with walnut veneer.
    Ingenuity can compensate for a modest budget. The Zizmors removed the base from a mid-priced leather couch from West Elm and inserted it in a custom armature made with walnut veneer.
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