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Dwell Home Tours

Chelsea Triplex

Chelsea, NY

City Modern Manhattan Home Tour
Saturday, October 06, 2012

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With the addition of the apartment next door, a narrow Chelsea triplex becomes one family’s spacious retreat.

Adam Bremner and Tamara Hubinsky’s good fortune commands grade-A New York real estate envy. Just as the pair were planning a light renovation of their Chelsea apartment on a row of landmarked co-ops, their neighbors decided to sell. They jumped at the chance to gain more space and a top-floor terrace, turning the minor makeover into a complete remodel of three half-floors of their building.

The couple enlisted architect Alex Scott Porter to reconfigure the interior; high on their wish list were uncluttered rooms with storage tucked into every spare inch. Porter created an expansive first floor, including an open kitchen and living room with a raised platform for extra seating, divided by a wall of sliding doors that conceal a utility area, coat closet, and china cabinet. The streamlined kitchen has a tranquil feel (thanks in part to an adjacent terrace surrounded by trees), and though the effect is effortless, it’s actually the product of Tamara’s painstaking planning. An avid cook, she made a list of all the appliances the family owned, the ones they intended to purchase, and which items would go in each drawer.

Porter introduced a material palette that’s as functional as it is attractive, using stainless-steel countertops set against wood-trimmed glass cabinets in a midcentury- inspired color scheme of gray, white, and orange. The aim, says Tamara, was to create a mix that would give the space a “warm, modern bent with lots of texture, both tactile and visual,” incorporating durable furniture that develops a patina over time. “There’s nothing in this home that’s precious,” she says.

Much of the apartment’s appeal is its seeming remove from the city. Porter installed a second pane of glass to reduce sound from the windows on the street-facing side and created a shiplike master bath in a berth below the stairwell connecting the second and third floors. The third floor features two walls of sliding glass doors leading to a terrace with roofline-level foliage, a Weber grill, and sawgrass. It does triple duty as a playroom for their two children (Max, 9, and Josie, 7); a guest suite complete with hidden Murphy bed for family visits; and an urban backyard in the sky.

-Kelsey Keith, Senoir Editor, Dwell

About the Designer

Thumb Alex Scott Porter
Alex Scott Porter Design

Domestic spaces are the life-blood of ALEX SCOTT PORTER DESIGN. We have a real interest in how families live in a home. We specialize in comfortable, lived-in modernism; creating houses and apartments that connect people, invite activity and organize lives.

With both a home design and a furnishings division, our studio seamlessly provides a one-stop-shop for its clients. Our approach to design is enhanced by a sophisticated palette of material finishes juxtaposing the raw with the refined and the reclaimed with the newly fabricated.

With a diverse background in architecture, fine arts and design-build construction, founding Principal ALEX SCOTT PORTER draws inspiration from the art world, traditional crafts, and the natural world. Growing up, Alex lived in a Nantucket whaling cottage, a Brooklyn brownstone, and a former sewing factory in Chelsea, which informed her interest in the old and repurposed. Alex holds a Masters of Architecture degree from Columbia and has taught at Pratt’s School of Architecture.


Designer: Alex Scott Porter Design (Alex Porter, Principal; Elise Fussell, Project Manager)
Furnishings: Tamara Hubinsky (with Alex Porter)
Contractor: Object Design Inc. (Aram Isajanyan, Partner-in-charge) 
Architect: John L. Beringer, AIA
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates 
Mechanical Engineer: Pavane & Kwalbrun Consulting Engineers
Landscape Design & Installation: Holly, Wood & Vine 
Concrete Counters: ContreteWorks East 
Floors: Structure Flooring Inc. 

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