One Brooklyn row home is revamped to tackle whatever life demands from a family, now and in the future.
There is something poetic about carefully planning a home to be lived in until old age. Nestled in a dense Brooklyn neighborhood, the homeowners of this neatly programmed residence wanted to invest in a home and a neighborhood for the longterm. “When we were approached by our clients to gut renovate and add to a 110 year old row house, our goal was to create a home that could adapt to the anticipated changes in their lifestyle instead of the reverse,” explains Aniket Shahane, Principal Architect of Brooklyn based Office of Architecture.
Approximately 70% of the building can be used as a 2 bedroom/2 bath unit, while the remaining 30% of the building is given over to a 1 bedroom/1 bath unit. Depending on their priorities at any given time, the owners have the option to occupy one of the units themselves, while using the other for rental income, or to combine both units to create a 2,100 square-foot one-family home for themselves. In this way, the space can adjust to the spatial requirements of a young couple, a family of four, and eventually empty nesters. The house’s elegantly spare aesthetic, much like its classic form, is meant to absorb change.
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Aniket Shahane of OA muses, “...the building becomes much more an active participant in the lifecycle of its inhabitants, encouraging them to stay longer, maintain their property, and contribute to a culture that is truly sustainable.”
The home's rear exterior before the renovation.
The biggest challenge of the project was designing a space that could be easily converted from a 2-family to a 1-family. Thoughtful planning and inventive storage systems were thus key to the success of the renovation.
A second staircase—highly unusual in most Brooklyn homes—not only allows renters to access their unit without disturbing the homeowners, but also provides space for storage. To convert the space back into a 2,100 square-foot one-family home, the homeowners simply have to remove a small demising wall on the second floor and demolish the rental kitchen—a job that can be executed over the course of a long weekend.
Earthy details meet minimalist angularity in the kitchen. Consentino countertops play to both styles.
The white interior, in addition to presenting the home as a potential blank canvas, helps reflect ample natural light.
“Elegant material choices, subtle detailing, and thoughtful spatial sensibilities belie the building’s intelligent space planning,” says Aniket Shahane of OA.
The main bathroom experiments with varying textured tiles, and is equipped with Duravit, American Stand, Toto and Kohler fixtures.
The rear facade is clad in untreated Western Red cedar. The naturally weathering material, which appropriately faces some unruly vegetation on the adjacent property, pops against its vinyl sided neighbors.