Architects: Barker Associates Architecture Office – BAAO Architects (previously BFDO Architects)
Project: 12 Foot Wide House – Brooklyn row house renovation
Structural engineer: Zaki Albanna
Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Photography: Francis Dzikowski
Text by BAAO Architects
This project is a renovation and extension to a 12′ wide Brooklyn row house. BFDO completely gutted the existing four story brick building and added a two story extension. A new open switchback stair located at the center of the footprint sets up a dialogue between the spaces in the front, which preserve elements of the original detail of the late 19th century house and the rear, which includes an addition with a full wall of storefront-system glass.
BFDO was approached by the clients, who are married professionals with two young children, to create an open, flowing living space that feels expansive despite the narrow dimensions. They liked the idea that the back of the house would be streamlined and modern and wanted to maximize the light that would enter the space, so we suggested using a storefront system with narrow sitelines for the rear facade.
They also liked some of the original details of the house, including the vestibule door and the wood flooring, which included details like feature strips in the border patterns. The new stair was necessary because the existing stair had been a modification to the original and it was structurally unstable, so BFDO designed a switchback stair that would allow it to be compact in the center of the footprint and maximize the size of the rooms to the front and back.
The vestibule and sitting room at the front of the house preserve a few original details including flooring patterns and window shapes. In contrast, at the rear, an open, modern kitchen and dining room space is framed by a full wall of storefront glass that looks out onto a rear deck.
On the second floor we created a master suite including a study that opens onto a roof deck on top of the extension. The third floor is kids’ suite with a shared bath. The garden level houses a family room, large mudroom area, and an au pair’s suite. The backyard garden is framed on four sides by wood fencing that continues along the lower facade of the building.