Our clients fell in love with an apartment steps from Central Park that has a great private terrace and purchased their studio sized unit with a micro bedroom for use as pied-a-terre. Located in a brownstone on the Upper West Side within a Landmarked district, we were excited to work with their desire to maintain the character and charm of the unit, while increasing the functionality of their space.
The existing kitchen was closed off from the living room and was too small to do anything beyond making coffee. The bathroom, which opened into the kitchen, was a wonderful mess of touches from the 40’s & 60’s. The bedroom was just wide enough to fit a blow-up mattress and too long to provide functional furniture arrangement. Throughout, the unit lacked storage space.
Our first step in the design was to establish that the wall dividing the living room and bedroom was not structural. Once confirmed, we created a properly proportioned bedroom, allowing a queen size bed, with room to walk around. Surrounding the headboard, we designed custom bookshelves, with integrated end tables and closed cabinets above to add storage to the bedroom. Our clients were excited when we were also able to add a walk-in-closet off of the foyer. By replacing the existing tub with a shower, we were able to reduce the size of the bathroom and give the needed inches to the adjoining kitchen. The original metal hamper unit in the bathroom was salvaged, restored to the bare steel, and re-installed for storage. A stone mosaic accent tile in the shower compliments the custom marble slab floor and walls, handpicked by the clients. Addressing the storage issue in the kitchen, we designed custom shaker style cabinets which maximized an L-shaped layout. A backsplash of varying shades of glass tile was hand laid prior to install to confirm the patterning.
To enhance flexibility of use, we designed a six-foot-wide custom pocket door for the wall between the bedroom and living room. When open, the bedroom and living room become one space. The door has frosted glass inserts so when closed for privacy, light from the rear windows can still pass through. The pocket door, bathroom door, and patio doors were designed to match original doors that were salvaged and restored at the entry foyer. Each new door has glass infill panels that match the proportion of the wood panels of the existing. Once the doors in the entry foyer were stripped of years of paint by the contractor, the raw wood was in great condition and the client’s requested to keep it exposed with just a clear coat to seal.
A great addition the project came when the clients got approval from the building to incorporate original leaded windows found in the cellar into their renovation. We redesigned the custom doors to incorporate the windows as transoms above, adding light and character to the spaces.
The original 1920’s parquet floor was unfortunately too thin to be salvaged, and with the new layout, the decorative wood boarder would no longer follow the perimeter walls of the new layout. A new parquet floor was installed and a mahogany boarder was designed to match the new proportions of each room to better fit the space, helping make the space feel larger than before. A portion of the original floor was saved at the clients request and is now hung in the bedroom.
The client’s found a pendant fixture salvaged from Waldorf Astoria which was installed in the foyer, and compliments the restored doors and hardware and our new arched opening to the living room.
With only a few weeks remaining in the renovation, both us and our clients realized we needed to address the existing fireplace. With everything else in the unit being replaced, the existing wood mantel needed to be upgraded to match the rest of the space. The existing brick around the fireplace was refinished with a new marble surround, the wood work and trim of the existing mantel was replaced, better integrating the Fire Place with the rest of the space.