written by:
photos by:
October 29, 2013
Originally published in Small Spaces Big Ideas
as
Crowning Achievements
A renovation in Brooklyn proves that the secret to living in compact quarters lies in the details.
brooklyn renovation living room
Architect Philip Ryan placed fluorescent bulbs that mimic daylight in the ceiling alcove of his Brooklyn apartment. The glow reflecting down the walls makes the room feel more expansive.
Photo by 
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crown heights apartment brooklyn bathroom
In the bathroom and throughout the apartment, Ryan kept lines as pure as possible by designing built-in storage alcoves. The cutout space in the white cabinet does double duty as a door pull and a cubby for frequently used items.
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Originally appeared in How to Design with Blue
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crown heights apartment brooklyn built-in storage
Restricting storage to a monolithic bank of bookshelves and cabinets cuts down on furniture clutter. “If you put a lot of small things into a small space, it can feel twice as small,” Ryan says. “If you have an object with heft and mass, it makes everything feel larger. It seems contradictory, but it works.” He outfitted an Ikea Pax and Komplement closet system with custom doors and placed automotive felt over them to dampen sound from a nearby track of the Long Island Rail Road.
Photo by 
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crown heights apartment brooklyn windowsill planter
The same philosophy inspired the quirky window- sill flowerpot recess.
Photo by 
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brooklyn renovation living room
Architect Philip Ryan placed fluorescent bulbs that mimic daylight in the ceiling alcove of his Brooklyn apartment. The glow reflecting down the walls makes the room feel more expansive.
Project 
Crown Heights Apartment

Like many apartments in early 20th-century row houses, architect Philip Ryan’s Brooklyn abode was the epitome of spatial inefficiency. “You were constantly running into doors,” he says. An early renovation goal of Ryan’s was to reconfigure the 580-square-foot apartment’s geometry: “I wanted two linear rooms: one zone for cooking and eating and another for living and sleeping.” He removed interior walls and crafted a hallway spanning the length of the residence to increase the flow of light and air throughout. “Even when you’re in these relatively tight areas, the eye doesn’t focus on the smaller moments—you’re getting borrowed views from the other rooms, making the space feel more generous,” he says

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