Brooklyn Brownstone

This home had lost a lot from its original era over the years. Prior renovations had taken the house away from its authentic form and lost many beautiful details. The space wasn’t being used as well as it could be, and many rooms didn’t match. But with such good bones, we knew we had to be true to the original style of a brownstone from over 100 years ago. Our challenge was modernizing the home for contemporary life while bringing out the classic style that made it beautiful to begin with. So, we stripped pretty much everything down to the bricks and beams and started from scratch.

We began with a complete exterior restoration. The existing facade had started chipping and flaking away from years of decay. The original bluestone banding, bluestone lintels, and brick had simply been painted over. We restored the banding on the first floor, and some areas were flaking so badly that we had to strip them completely. We also stripped down the top layer of the original aluminum cladding and repainted them to match the windows. Then we hand stripped the paint and restored the original bluestone. In certain areas, we simply had to replace the old bluestone with new bluestone. As the highlight of the exterior, it was very important that we restored the aesthetic of the front doors that would match, so we replaced the old front door and railing with some beautiful new mahogany doors.

Brooklyn brownstone kitchen

We wanted to bring the 1920’s style back into the entryway, so we replaced the old flooring with a polished stone hexagon mosaic tile from our showroom. Reminiscent of the artistic elegance of old New York, this beautiful mosaic would lead right up to the new white oak staircase we incorporated. It was important for us to maintain an authentic style throughout the home, so that the overall aesthetic was cohesive. We were able to keep a consistent historical style by sourcing high-quality materials from the suppliers in our showroom.

One challenge we had was modernizing the home while still restoring the original authentic qualities. As you entered the apartment on each floor, the first thing you would see was the kitchen. We wanted to modernize the kitchens and still create a magical aesthetic that would feel as if you left Brooklyn and stepped right into Paris. For the first floor, we designed with the Avenue collection from Aster Cucine, combining avant-garde style with classical details. We used Aster Cucine’s Timeline collection in the second-floor kitchen, drawing on the history of artisan craftsmanship while creating a modern space for contemporary life. We combined these sets with handsome walnut cabinetry and modern integrated appliances to complete a sleek style that still remained authentic.

To further modernize the kitchens and create a sleek style that did not distract from the overall aesthetic, we used integrated appliances with finished panels. We made the fridge look as if it was integrated into the cabinet, and we gave the other appliances panels to provide the finished look of fine cabinetry. This created a very seamless look, and unlike a bulky chef’s kitchen, your eyes would not be drawn to awkward areas.

Kitchen Island sink detail Brooklyn Brownstone

For the floors, we used a Character Grade rifted and quartered solid oak, with a white oil rub finish. We also installed radiant heating in the floors, so this high-quality oak was perfect because it would not warp over time from the heat. This wide plank flooring would to complete the modernized aesthetic. We also put a ½ inch thick matt under the floors to help with soundproofing, as well as a Rockwool insulation in the ceiling and a special soundproof sheetrock.

While we were inspired by materials of the past, we wanted to modernize the house with combinations of contemporary features and styles. We incorporated a faux fireplace into the living room, and used a cement lime plaster with crown molding to bring in some texture. We then incorporated a TV above, centering the room and keeping it from feeling too rustic.

We also installed tankless water heaters and boilers, to provide hot water instantly. With the help of the architect, we were able to knock down a lot of walls and integrate the HVAC to where you wouldn’t see it. We also installed many other modern conveniences, such as wifi cameras, heated floors, and a keyless door entry.

Kitchen Island Brooklyn Brownstone

When we got to the basement, we decided to work with the existing design from the architect and open up the entire space. Since we were able to consult with the decision making, we foresaw a lot of potential issues and were able to optimize the layout to achieve the basement’s potential. We ripped out the entire slab and double staircase, and leveled all the floors. We also redid the plumbing and insulated the walls with spray foam. By consolidating the boiler room and laundry room, we opened up the rest of the room and did not block any windows. By opening up the space and allowing more natural light in, we made the room feel much less like a basement.

The second floor originally had three bedrooms, which took away from the features in the front of the house. We knew there were other options, so we changed the floor plan so that nothing was intruding on the living room. We took out the third bedroom, which blocked the opportunity for natural light to stream in. We also took out a wall by the top staircase to get rid of a tight turn (and make moving furniture much easier). By opening up the space, we were able to increase the value of the layout and create a much more pleasing configuration.

We were able to give this house what it deserved: a truly unique modernization of its classic style. The homeowner was absolutely blown away with what we accomplished. We are so thankful that we were allowed to use our resources and expertise to create such a beautiful contemporary home that still stayed true to its authentic roots. Be sure to let us know what you think of the results!

Kitchen detail Brooklyn Brownstone
Kitchen Island Brooklyn Brownstone
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen renovation
Kitchen Island sink detail Brooklyn Brownstone
Revolving Shelf cabinet Brooklyn brownstone kitchen
Lighted dish cabinet Brooklyn brownstone kitchen
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen - lighted dish cabinet
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen - kitchen island sink & cutting board
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen - refrigerator with matching cabinet facing
Brooklyn brownstone kitchen - undercounter drawers