Little House Big City.
The owners of this 11-foot-wide row house in Brooklyn were faced with a conundrum that many young families in New York eventually confront: the possibility of sacrificing location for space. After living in the house for eight years, the pair – architect/Yale critic Aniket Shahane and jewelry designer Blanca Monros Gomez – chose to expand in order to make room for their two growing children and remain in the Brooklyn neighborhood they had come to admire. The original 2-story, 1000SF home was completely gutted and extended to 4 levels by adding a bedroom suite above and digging a new urban mudroom below. The narrowness of the house required the design to make effective yet frugal use of space; every inch was important. Precise positioning of walls, doors, and windows was crucial as each floor was planned to serve a purpose. The lowest level serves as a new entry, storage, laundry, and mechanical area; the first floor is a continuous public space with living, dining, kitchen, and library opening to gardens in the front and back; the second contains two kids' bedrooms along with a 2-sink bathroom; while the topmost level holds the master suite with a sleeping area, bathroom, balcony, and terrace. A slender steel stair repositioned on the south side party wall connects the house vertically and draws more light, air, and views into the building. Materials throughout the home are modest, natural, and unassuming: the rawness of black painted brick, unfinished steel and character-grade walnut is juxtaposed with the simple refinement of honed Carrara marble and matte ceramic hex tiles. 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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Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Brick Siding Material, Stucco Siding Material, and Stone Siding Material. Rear Facade Photo  of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Rear Facade

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Brick Siding Material, Stucco Siding Material, and Stone Siding Material. Front Facade Photo 2 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Front Facade

Modern home with Outdoor, Rooftop, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, and Wood Patio, Porch, Deck. The added top floor houses the master bedroom and bath, as well as a rooftop terrace. Photo 3 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

The added top floor houses the master bedroom and bath, as well as a rooftop terrace.

Modern home with Laundry Room. The new basement level now serves as an entryway, and includes an 'urban mudroom.' Photo 4 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

The new basement level now serves as an entryway, and includes an 'urban mudroom.'

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, and Brick Siding Material. Spanning a mere 11 feet, this Brooklyn row house known as Little House, Big City has been strategically transformed to accommodate the needs of a young family of four.  Photo 5 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Spanning a mere 11 feet, this Brooklyn row house known as Little House, Big City has been strategically transformed to accommodate the needs of a young family of four.

Modern home with Laundry Room, Side-by-Side, White Cabinet, and Wood Counter. The laundry area is also housed on the lowest level. Photo 6 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

The laundry area is also housed on the lowest level.

Modern home with Bath Room, Concrete Floor, Wall Mount Sink, One Piece Toilet, and Wall Lighting. Floral wallpaper adds extra flair to the home's small powder room. Photo 7 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Floral wallpaper adds extra flair to the home's small powder room.

Modern home with Kitchen, Marble Counter, White Cabinet, Stone Slab Backsplashe, Ceiling Lighting, Wall Lighting, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Ice Maker, Light Hardwood Floor, Undermount Sink, Wall Oven, and Range. Honed Carrara marble lines the kitchen countertops as well as the backsplash. Photo 8 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Honed Carrara marble lines the kitchen countertops as well as the backsplash.

Modern home with Kitchen, Marble Counter, Dark Hardwood Floor, and Wall Lighting. "The narrowness of the house required the design to make effective yet frugal uses of space," explains the firm. "Precise positioning of walls, doors, and windows were crucial as each floor was planned to serve a purpose." Photo 9 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

"The narrowness of the house required the design to make effective yet frugal uses of space," explains the firm. "Precise positioning of walls, doors, and windows were crucial as each floor was planned to serve a purpose."

Modern home with Kitchen, Marble Counter, White Cabinet, and Dark Hardwood Floor. Kitchen Details Photo 10 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Kitchen Details

Modern home with Ceiling Lighting, Wall Lighting, and Dark Hardwood Floor. The first floor is a continuous public space featuring a dining area, kitchen, and living room. Photo 11 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

The first floor is a continuous public space featuring a dining area, kitchen, and living room.

Modern home with Dark Hardwood Floor. "Some of my favorite spaces are those that weren't even necessarily planned," says Shahane. "For instance, underneath the stair on the first floor it ended up being a few inches deeper than initially planned because of plumbing requirements. But those inches made a perfect and impromptu alcove for our daughter's drawing table." Photo 12 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

"Some of my favorite spaces are those that weren't even necessarily planned," says Shahane. "For instance, underneath the stair on the first floor it ended up being a few inches deeper than initially planned because of plumbing requirements. But those inches made a perfect and impromptu alcove for our daughter's drawing table."

Modern home with Ceiling Lighting, Wall Lighting, and Dark Hardwood Floor. To maximize functionality in the original two-story home, Office of Architecture treated the residence to a complete gut renovation, which allowed for the new four-level layout.  Photo 13 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

To maximize functionality in the original two-story home, Office of Architecture treated the residence to a complete gut renovation, which allowed for the new four-level layout.

Modern home with Dark Hardwood Floor. Parents' Bedroom Photo 14 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Parents' Bedroom

Modern home with Outdoor and Small Patio, Porch, Deck. Parents' Balcony Photo 15 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Parents' Balcony

Rooftop Bedroom Photo 16 of Little House. Big City. modern homeView Photos

Rooftop Bedroom

Modern home with Bath Room, Wall Mount Sink, Ceiling Lighting, and One Piece Toilet. Bathroom Shower Photo 17 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Bathroom Shower

Modern home with Bath Room, Wall Mount Sink, and One Piece Toilet. Bathroom Photo 18 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Bathroom

Stairwell with skylight Photo 19 of Little House. Big City. modern homeView Photos

Stairwell with skylight

Modern home with Bath Room, Wall Mount Sink, Ceiling Lighting, One Piece Toilet, and Wall Lighting. Kids' Bathroom Photo 20 of Little House. Big City.View Photos

Kids' Bathroom

Photographer
  • Rafael Gamo - Exteriors
  • Matthew Williams - Interiors

Overview

Location
  • Bedrooms
  • 3
  • Full Baths
  • 2
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Year
  • 2017
  • Square Feet
  • 1800