Prior to the full renovation of this 81-foot-long apartment, one could easily have walked 10,000 steps a day walking back and forth down the long hallway from the kitchen at one end to the living room at the other.
When a couple with young children went under contract for the apartment and called Brooklyn-based architect Luki Anderson’s firm, Studio Officina, to discuss plans for the update, they had already thought about it. improvement of the layout and proposed a concept.
Anderson agreed it was a solid and workable idea: changing the location of the kitchen to the back with the largest of the three bedrooms at the front of the apartment. She modified the floor plan, creating an open plan kitchen/living room at the glazed end of the apartment, overlooking the street, and a new master bedroom and bathroom at the rear, overlooking the rear gardens of the block.
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“Opening up what used to be the master bedroom makes the apartment feel a bit shorter and the light from the living space is captured” for the kitchen area, the architect said.
Working in the period building was no picnic. “There was no plumbing in the front of the building, but the neighbors had risers, so we ran the piping along the floor, from the back, digging into the walls” to accommodate it, Anderson said. She also created a soffit to ventilate the kitchen through the bedrooms at the rear of the building.
Once the mechanics were sorted, the focus shifted to aesthetics. The apartment had lots of beautiful historic features, including parquet floors, window and base moldings, original paneled doors, wall mirror (pictured top) and decorative fireplace, all salvageable. “For the modern inserts, we chose materials that highlighted the original details or sat next to them in a calm but thoughtful way.”
The new floor plan trades awkwardness for greater utility and better fluidity.
One of the charms of the apartment was its existing wooden floor. “The parquet was pretty amazing, and we were able to do one more sanding,” Anderson said. “We had to do a tiny bit of patching, but not a lot.”
The original window moldings and plinths have been retained throughout.
Two original coat cabinets with their period paneled doors remain in place.
Anderson used a Stone Source large-format porcelain tile, Unique Blue, for the kitchen floor.
The new kitchen has a U-shaped layout, with an island connecting it to the adjacent dining area.
Floor-to-ceiling cabinets from Jon Besch Custom, a local fabricator, were sprayed with an off-white lacquer. The soft white and gray Calacatta Michelangelo marble countertops come from BAS Stone, a woman-owned supplier that Anderson called “the best stone selection in New York.”
The master bedroom mantle has been given a new pale blue tile hearth.
The master bathroom is completely new, with a classic palette of white subway tiles and hexagonal marble floors. The custom vanity and linen closet, also from Besch, was designed to look like furniture and painted a warm pale pink.
The original bathroom has been completely redone, with a mosaic floor by Heritage Tiles that alludes to the existing vintage tiling in the building’s public lobby.
[Photos by Ines Leong]
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