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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Rear Facade

Front Facade

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

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

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.

The laundry area is also housed on the lowest level.

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

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

"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."

Kitchen Details

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

"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."

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.

Parents' Bedroom

Parents' Balcony

Rooftop Bedroom

Bathroom Shower


Stairwell with skylight

Kids' Bathroom

  • Rafael Gamo - Exteriors
  • Matthew Williams - Interiors


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