When living in a city as densely populated as New York, families often face the same dilemma: whether to sacrifice location for space. Just ask Aniket Shahane, founder of Brooklyn–based firm Office of Architecture. After living in his 1,000-square-foot row house for eight years with his wife, jewelry designer Blanca Monros Gomez, the couple chose to confront the common conundrum with another solution.
Instead of moving away from the neighborhood they had come to admire, the duo decided to expand their narrow, two-story home in order to make room for their two growing children. "We were very much motivated to find a way to stay in this neighborhood," explains Shahane. "Our goal was to stay in this city for the long haul, so we wanted to create a house that not only enabled our kids to grow up in New York, but would be one that they would simply love to grow up in."
Having only an 11-foot width to work with, Shahane reimagined the skinny residence—dubbed Little House, Big City—by renovating the existing interior and digging out a basement to make way for two additional levels.
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"Working with a house that's just 11.5-feet wide on the interior posed one of the biggest challenges of the renovation," says the architect. "To create space for a family of four meant we had to find ways to make every square inch useful—wastefulness wasn't an option."
Through careful consideration of every window, wall, and fixture, the firm has maximized space, comfort, and functionality on all four levels, proving that a home's small footprint and slender dimensions don't have to equate a cramped lifestyle.
"Good design is more than just solving problems; it's seeing them as opportunities," adds Shahane. "With Little House, Big City, the result is a home that is not just larger, but livelier—filled with the possibility to do more and stay longer in a city that requires its residents to be resourceful and inventive."
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Builder: Nick Moons of Montesbuild, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Joe Kelmanovich of Blue Sky Design
Lighting Design: Office of Architecture
Interior Design: Office of Architecture
Cabinetry Design: Matthew Gribbon
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