Project: Park Slope Neo-Federal House
Architecture: The Brooklyn Studio of Architecture
Project Team: Jesse Fearins, Claire Leavengood-Boxer, Lauren Abbass
General Contractor: Chilmark Builders, Inc.
Structural Engineering: Martos Engineering
Interior Design: Jesse Parris-Lamb
Landscape Design: Alive Structures
Stylist: Katja Greeff
Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York
Area: 5280 ft2
Photo Credits: Nicole Franzen, David Mitchell
Courtesy of The Brooklyn Studio
This three-story, 5,280-square-foot rowhouse is located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Historic District. It was built in the first decade of the twentieth century, and was designed Neo-Federal style. Our primary challenge was to preserve the architectural and historic integrity of this home while updating it for modern use.
Our most significant intervention was the relocation of the kitchen. Originally, the kitchen was housed in the rear extension, closed off from the rest of the house. We swapped the location of the kitchen and the dining room — a simple move that helped reorient the building’s entire center of gravity.
The new dining room is housed in a long and narrow space. To create a feeling of openness, we added large, curved windows. These windows were inspired by the observation windows found on early twentieth century passenger trains, specifically the Twentieth Century Limited, which began service in 1902 and ran through the late 1960s. The addition of these curved windows is a subtle nod to the era in which the house was built, and they facilitate a seamless transition between the dining room and the adjacent garden.
We then applied this design language to the three- story bay window on the rear façade. We replaced the traditional bay window, which had large mullions and small panes, with modern curvilinear panes that extend from floor to ceiling.
We refurbished the existing winding staircase and lightwell, allowing natural light to flow into the center of the building. In addition to restoring some of the original woodwork, our design called for the installation of modern millwork in twenty locations throughout the house.
At the front of the building, we restored the stone stoop and vestibule, re-pointed the brick masonry, refurbished the ironwork, restored the wood cornice, replaced degraded cast stone coping at the parapet, and installed new windows in the original masonry openings.
In collaboration with the interior design firm Jesse Parris-Lamb and landscape designer Marni Majorelle, we sought to create a balance between the traditional and the modern. As one moves through the home, the design transitions from classical to contemporary, creating harmony between the original architect’s intent and our client’s modern sensibilities.