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  • Brooklyn Heights Townhouse - City Modern Brooklyn Home Tour

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Brooklyn Heights Townhouse

Brooklyn Heights, NY


City Modern Brooklyn Home Tour
Sunday, October 07, 2012


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It took three years to find and three more to remodel, but a painstaking makeover of a five-story, nineteenth-century Brooklyn Heights Gothic Revival was worth the wait.

It seemed like such a simple plan: A couple relocating back to New York after five years in San Francisco would buy a Brooklyn Heights townhouse close to St. Ann’s, where their children had enrolled, so they could walk to school every day. Oh, and they wanted a wide footprint on a quiet street with a nice rear garden. “We had looked at the listings and thought we could find a perfectly good house, then do a modest renovation, all within a year,” the owner explains.

The real-estate market, of course, had different plans. It took three years and 75 open houses for them to find their place—a five-story, nineteenth-century Gothic Revival. Another three years of renovation followed before the brownstone was ready to move into. “It had excellent bones,” the owner says, “but it needed a ton of work,” including connecting the separate groundfloor apartment with the rest of the space, updating all the windows to fit landmark code, and replacing the two-story rear brick extension with a striking glass structure that closely integrates the home and the yard. As with the best of renovations, Pandora’s box lay in wait. The firm, 1100 Architect, had to reinstall the rear glass façade twice and the steel staircase that runs from the kitchen to the garden three times to get them just right. “It was frustrating how long it took, but with modern design everything shows,” the client says. “You can’t hide any mistakes.”

Tasked with creating “openness and flow,” says Juergen Riehm of 1100 Architect, they removed the walls of small, dark rooms for a loftlike feeling. The parlor floor, which contains the living and dining areas, was transformed into one large space, while they preserved such original details as moldings and pocket-frame doors. Throughout the home is a comfortable mix of contemporary, mid- century, and forties-era furnishings, including some family heirlooms (e.g., a set of Baker dining chairs).

One of the clients’ favorite areas is 1100 Architect’s addition of a green roof, which is accessible from the master bedroom through large glass doors. The clients get an unobstructed view onto what Riehm calls an “oasis.” Planted with evergreens and grasses for year-round enjoyment, “it’s the nicest room in the house,” the owner says. “It gives us an entirely different feeling from the normal urban environment, because you really feel like you live next door to a garden.”

-Wendy Goodman, Design Editor, New York Magazine

About the Architect


Thumb Juergen Riehm
1100 Architect
contact@1100architect.com

www.1100architect.com


Juergen Riehm, FAIA, BDA Principal and co-founder of 1100 Architect, believes in architecture as the all-encompassing art form, capable of effecting and portraying all facets of life and nature through an honest and timeless architectural expression. Juergen has guided the firm in a number of recognized projects, including the Irish Hunger Memorial, the renovation of the Linguistics Department at New York University, and the Queens Central Library - Children’s Library Discovery Center.

Juergen is a member of the teaching faculty at Parsons School of Design and is on the Advisory Board of the Foundation Städelschule für Baukunst. Juergen received a Diploma in Architecture from FH Rheinland-Pfalz in 1977 and his Post-Graduate Architecture Degree from the Städelschule Academy of Fine Arts in 1982. He is an NCARB Certificate holder, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), Member of the Chamber of Architects in the state of Hessen and a member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA).




Collaborators


MEP Engineer: D’Antonio Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
General Contractor: Yves Duboin
Landscape Design/Roof Garden: Town and Gardens
Plumbing: Peter McCann
Stonework: Tony Giliberto
Metalwork: Material Process
Woodwork: Nillas Berry


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