A Brooklyn-based couple has commissioned Alexandra Barker of BFDO Architects to renovate their brownstone in Crown Heights. “The house had a beautiful staircase and parquet floors on the first floor, but it also had two extensions that were awkward proportions,” Barker says. “The second floor was not even finished, and the kitchens and bathrooms were very dated.” The couple asked Barker to replace the awkward extensions with a new one, and ensure that there was no noticeable difference between the original floor plan and those additions. A modern, seamless approach was key, they told her, but they didn’t want to lose any original details during the update, either.
The spaces now are defined by built-in graphic millwork compositions and vivid three-dimensional color treatments punctuated by skylights, fireplaces and bold lighting choices sourced from Innermost Lighting, a company known for unique contemporary fixtures. Custom pieces are balanced by budget choices and new elements are combined with original woodwork throughout the project.
The entry vestibule is lined in orange-yellow tiles from Brothers Cement Tile with the original inner door rehung and painted a deep gray. In the parlor, original leaded glass cabinetry doors are mounted on new cabinet boxes to flank the gas fireplace. The existing stairwell was widened on the second floor to allow light from the large sculptural skylight to filter down to the dining room. A sky-blue wall-ceiling treatment provides a backdrop for the table and conceals the Calico wallpaper-lined powder room.
Ikea boxes with site-fabricated gray and white painted doors comprise the kitchen and bar and are intermixed with walnut cabinetry to line the side walls of the den. The windowed back wall overlooks a lush garden and is lit overhead by a large skylight. Upstairs, a gray-blue painted surround creates an outsized headboard in the master bedroom, which looks out onto a planted roof deck. The master bathroom features an antique gray stone slab, Waterworks fixtures, and a custom walnut vanity along with inexpensive subway wall tiles and porcelain floor tiles from Classic Tile. The custom L-shaped blue and walnut bookshelf and desk in the study frames a view to the street.