Park Slope Brownstone
TYPE: Development, Residential
Client: Hammond Family
564 5th Street
Located within the historic Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, this 4-story 7,000 sq. ft. brownstone originally contained 4 full-floor apartments and an abandoned basement apartment that was being used for storage. The brownstone had been owned by our client’s family for several decades, and was in desperate need of a renovation.
Located within a district protected by the NYC Landmarks Commission, any renovation work needed to be reviewed and approved by Landmarks, whose mission is to protect buildings and neighborhoods that are historically and architecturally important.
The family wanted to gut-renovate the building to create three floor-through luxury rental units, while keeping the ground floor duplex for themselves. They sought a design that would seamlessly merge the existing historical features of the building with a more contemporary design aesthetic to appeal to those seeking the comforts of a modern lifestyle in a warm, historical setting.
DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT
Based on the client’s needs, we wanted to create a historically respectful contemporary Brooklyn residence where the building’s historical features could be integrated into a more open warm, modern environment. To achieve this, we identified the existing features that would remain, including the fireplace, the wood pocket doors at the living room, and the built-in Victorian mirror units at the foyer of each apartment. With these elements identified, we then worked around them and incorporated them into the design. To achieve the desired goals, we enlarged the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, and then widened the narrow hallway where we exposed the brick wall on one side. To bring in much needed natural light, we enlarged all the side windows, but needed to obtain approval from the Landmarks commission as this secondary facade was visible from the street. A palette of warm, contemporary finishes was selected including prefinished wood flooring, marble tile, custom teak millwork at the bathrooms, and custom wenge millwork in the kitchens.
The construction involved stripping down the units to the bare structure with only exposed floor joists and raw bricks walls remaining after demolition. After repairing damaged floor joists, the floors were leveled and the partitions framed. A completely new plumbing and electrical system was installed along with a new central HVAC system with individual boilers and meters for each unit. In accordance with our approval from Landmarks, all windows were replaced, the limestone facade was cleaned and the cornice was repaired. A new landscaped deck was installed for all the tenants to use on the roof with spectacular view of downtown Manhattan.
The completed apartments each contain 3 bedrooms, a living room, dining room, an enlarged, open kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. We opened up the kitchen and installed custom, modern millwork faced with dark wenge wood with new fixtures and appliances. Contrasting against the wenge millwork is a nublado marble backsplash surrounding a dramatically enlarged the kitchen window to brings in more natural light. The enlarged bathrooms contain custom teak millwork, and the master bathroom features a teak backsplash, freestanding modern tub, and a frameless glass shower. The widened hallway contains exposed brick illuminated by a cove light that washes light down the wall. With the historical features restored, they can now be better appreciated and contribute character to the renovated units.
The building was fully leased prior to the completion of construction, and the family that owns the building are now considering a condo conversion.