This renovated four story brick townhouse has been designed by Turett Collaborative Architects, located on East 61st Street in the Upper East Side of New York. In the redesign of this 100 year old 4,500 square foot townhouse, the interior and back walls were removed and reconstructed; now, a large airy skylight above the staircase in the midsection of the house floods every room with natural light.
Expanding livable space appealing to modern aesthetics is a primary design challenge in townhouse renovation. In our renovation of this 61st street townhouse, the interior and rear walls were removed and reconstructed. With floor-to-ceiling windows and skylight, natural light now floods every room.
The beauty of this townhouse is in the simplicity of its design, and in the use of natural materials to enhance it. Stone, steel, travertine and fiber-cement panels are used extensively on the exterior, while frosted glass, white stained maple, and polished steel adorn the new interior. The clear spatial configuration, innovative glass addition, use of natural materials and attention to neighborhood integrity, work in harmony to redefine a modern townhouse.
The townhouse garnered national attention when it was used as the on-camera contestants’ residence for Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel.”
Townhouse Design Tip
Townhouses are often defined by a narrow width with multiple floors. Stair design demands design creativity and innovation to make optimal use of space and to amplify a sense of opens. Consider waterfall or “sawtooth” oak treads and risers which cantilever over the painted stair stringer enhancing the perceived thinness of the stair section. Glass walls define the stair circulation zone at the lower two public floors, transitioning to a custom designed steel guardrail.
Photos: Courtesy of Turett Collaborative Architects
Upper West Side Combo is a prewar apartment renovation by design firm StudioLAB of two dark and tightly configured units into a single unified space, located in Manhattan, New York. The designers were challenged with the task of converting the existing arrangement into a large open three bedroom residence. The previous configuration of bedrooms along the Southern window wall resulted in very little sunlight reaching the public spaces.
Breaking the norm of the traditional building layout, the bedrooms were moved to the West wall of the combined unit, while the existing internally held Living Room and Kitchen were moved towards the large South facing windows, resulting in a flood of natural sunlight.
Wide-plank grey-washed walnut flooring was applied throughout the apartment to maximize light infiltration. A concrete office cube was designed with the supplementary space which features walnut flooring wrapping up the walls and ceiling. Two large sliding Starphire acid-etched glass doors close the space off to create privacy when screening a movie.
High gloss white lacquer millwork built throughout the apartment allows for ample storage. LED Cove lighting was utilized throughout the main living areas to provide a bright wash of indirect illumination and to separate programmatic spaces visually without the use of physical light consuming partitions.
Custom floor to ceiling Ash wood veneered doors accentuate the height of doorways and blur room thresholds. The master suite features a walk-in-closet, a large bathroom with radiant heated floors and a custom steam shower. An integrated Vantage Smart Home System was installed to control the AV, HVAC, lighting and solar shades using iPads.
Photos: Courtesy of StudioLAB
Marin Bungalow is a 1950’s ranch house renovation by Feldman Architecture, perched on a hill in Tiburon with sweeping views of Richardson Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, California. This stunning residence had a casual charm and great potential. Even though it was tiny by neighboring standards, its prime location helped the architects to see an opportunity to create a striking space, worthy of the spectacular views.
Sensitive to the neighbors’ views, expansion of the house was limited to the existing envelope. Also presenting a challenge was the awkward floor plan without a formal entry space or a master suite. The firm expanded the living spaces into the garage to create a new front door and entry, as well as a master suite with South facing windows that capture the Golden Gate views. Interior walls were removed to create a more open floor plan with a larger kitchen and dining room, plus the addition of a family room and separate laundry room. The south facade was opened up to the backyard and the views with new windows and doors which also maximize the natural light in the formerly dark spaces.
The interiors received a contemporary facelift with a palette of mostly whites and light woods to keep the small house feel light, bright, and airy. The owner’s furniture and styling nicely complemented the house’s fresh new look. Custom metal sunshades were added to the South façade to shade the back deck while maintaining maximum views to the Bay.
Photos: Paul Dyer
Midtown Apartment is a one bedroom contemporary home that has been designed by New York based interior design firm Cara Zolot Interiors, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Showcasing bright and welcoming interiors, this stunning apartment offers an open plan living/dining/kitchen area with one bedroom and one bathroom as well as a guest bedroom/office/TV room, with beautiful views of Central Park.
The client wanted a guest bedroom/office/TV room for this space. The sofa is a semi custom sleeper sofa from classic sofa and a custom designed leather club chair. the rug is a wall to wall strie carpet in caramel and beige muted tones. Vinatge modern nesting tables with a hammered copper lamp from Los Angeles. The coffee table is an antique painted tortoise like design and the art was a gift to our client. A natural grass cloth is on all the walls to really warm the space and pulls it all together adding great texture. It is a very warm cozy welcoming room with beautiful views of Central Park.
This bedroom I designed has navy blue ultra suede on all the walls, detailed with nail heads below the crown molding and above the base molding lining the entire bedroom. the bed was custom upholstered in the same ultra suede used on the walls. the bedside tables were custom made and the lamps and bulls eye mirror are all vintage mid-century modern.
Photos: Matthu Placek
Skirt + Rock House is a modest bungalow design by MCK Architects, perched on a hill overlooking Vaucluse House, an historic garden estate located in the harbourside suburb of Vaucluse, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The clients were equally modest, simply needing more space for their family and a better connection to the garden, sunlight and air. The architects initial response was to maintain as much of the house as we could, but the new program required the removal of rear rooms for a larger living area, and the tiled roof to provide first floor accommodation. The introduction of new form and textures are responsive to the existing bungalow.
The existing gardens contained two large eucalyptus that greet you on your rise up the hill, and a large rock that sat in the hill to the rear of the house, which became our focal and pivotal natural element in the new composition.
With the underlying philosophy of relative modesty, the new form is setback, maintaining existing amenity enjoyed by neighbors. First floor accommodation is concealed in the black roof form, providing a recessive appearance from the street, nestling into the landscape, and being undemanding, unlike close neighbors.
When arriving at the house you walk up through the garden to the door at the lower entrance level. Rising to the main living level of the house you experience the union of old and new, arriving in the central void that contains kitchen and lounge, opening onto outdoor dining, pond and garden areas. A connection to the old formal dining area and front verandah, with period detailing meeting new, again blurs the distinction between the architectural periods.
We arrived at the double height central void early in the design, as it allowed access to desired sunlight, air and connection to the landscape, with our ‘rock’ becoming a feature in the lounge room. The shingled roof contains the void and envelops a parent’s suite and gallery library/study. It rests on two legs at opposite corners of the building allowing possibility of a clear opening to the garden and pond at this level. It opens like an eye to the sky and trees folding and undulating along the perimeter of the plan. When describing this form to the client, and the experience one might feel standing in the lounge room looking out, the analogy of a skirt was used and then stuck, hence skirt and rock.
The planning is centered around the living space, with the teenager quarters discreetly located behind the kitchen, with a central staircase leading to the parents. A living room to the lower level doubles as guest room and teenage retreat, with it’s own external sitting area. All rooms look onto the garden and have plenty of sunlight and natural ventilation.
Photos: Richard Glover
The Runners House is a contemporary refurbishment and extension of an existing house by AR Design Studio, located on the outskirts of Winchester, England. Nestled along a leafy lane on the outskirts of Winchester sits Kilham House. Once a tired building with a confusing layout, the house now boasts a contemporary update that really transforms the house into the five-bedroomed family home that it desperately needed to be.
A grand, double-height entrance guides you into the building, immediately bringing you into the heart of the home which has now been become the main living space for the family. A large expanse of sliding glazing gives views into the garden, allowing the three children to run wild whilst the parents can relax in the central space and still keep a watchful eye.
A key and exciting feature of the house is the staircase. Centered in the property it acts as a locus to the project, dividing the space between the kitchen, dining area and the living areas. Steel wires hang around the staircase, enclosing it in a contemporary wrap whilst also forming part of the balustrade. The stairs take you up to the first floor and onto a bridge that flows across the double height entrance space. A tongue in cheek use of Foscarini’s Gregg pendant lights give a feeling of being up in the clouds, adding to airy and spacious feel of the central space.
At the rear of the property a central timber form connects the two wings of the house and projects into the garden creating an architectural form that ties the whole project together. A large concrete plinth that steps down to the garden creates a place to relax and dine outdoors. The concrete plinth flows into the property and makes up the entire ground floor surface. This use of material, mixed with the large sliding glazed panels that face onto the garden, blurs the boundary between indoors and outdoors.
Photos: Martin Gardner
Chambers Street Residence is a three story property encompassing beautifully composed spaces designed by Mim Design, located in South Yarra, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The interiors of this meticulously designed residence focuses on superior finishes and detailing throughout to showcase a highly effective planning and design strategy.
Love this house? Check out another home the designer’s have done here.
An abundance of light filters throughout all levels, from the master bedroom and en-suite down to the lounge, dining and kitchen which flows out on to an entertainers courtyard. Locally sourced handmade brick tiles span the 3 levels adjacent to the staircase to provide a vertical integration feature.
Stone throughout bathrooms and kitchen add a softness to the strong monochromatic palette. Efficient use of space throughout the living zone creates a well-proportioned, comfortable and clean lined interior.
Photos: Derek Swalwell
East Austin is a lively mix of commercial buildings, Victorian architecture, and bungalows. The lifestyle there is casual. It was important to the homeowners that their new 2235-square foot, two-story home fit into its friendly neighborhood setting while also expressing their contemporary tastes. To achieve that purpose, the architects designed a gabled house with a minimalist palette of white siding and contrasting bronze windows and steel detailing. The profile is simple and modern, yet also iconic: The long side of the house faces the street and an over-sized front door encourages visitors to drop in.
Inside, a sleek Lueders limestone fireplace surround anchors the all-white living room. The exterior’s contrasting palette is carried through to the adjacent kitchen, with black Shaker-style cabinets highlighted by Carrera countertops and white subway tiles. Vertical steel slats on one side of the room are a dramatic screen for the stairs and also allow light from the second story to filter into the open dining area. Upstairs, two bedrooms and a flex space are connected by the spacious and light-filled book-lined landing.
The Final Result
This house looks timeless while melding with the here and now.
Photos: Ryann Ford