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Choy House by O’Neill Rose Architects, Queens

Michael Moran/OTTO

The Choy house by Brooklyn-based studio O’Neill Rose Architects reexamines the idea of an American home by combining Chinese and American ways of living.

“Our client asked us to build a home for himself, his wife and two small children, his younger brother and his wife, and their mother – the matriarch of the family,” explain architects. “He wanted the home to reflect his heritage while at the same time giving his immediate family the privacy he had become accustomed to.” Thus, the design team conceived  three homes under one roof, in the Flushing neighborhood Queens, New York, which is defined by single family homes.


They created three distinct dwellings with areas of connection and overlap. The narrow slice at the front creates a triplex for the married couple; the client and his family occupy the rest of the first and second floors. The lower level, which opens up to the sunken terraced garden, is where the grandmother lives. With front doors only a few feet from each other, the brothers live as neighbors, and all of the spaces connect through the lower level; the ground floor family room, the terraced garden, and outdoor pavilion are primary gathering spaces for the whole family.


Some of the elements in the residences are collaborations between O’Neil Rose Architects and their client, a builder who specializes in residential construction. These include, specifically, stair treads cut in half from leftover 6 x 12 wood beams, and specially-designed light fixtures in the dining room made from scrap metal pieces.

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all images © Michael Moran/OTTO