A civilian revamps the Bed-Stuy townhouse to create a family-friendly layout
The founders of the Brooklyn Civilian studio remodeled a historic townhouse for themselves and their young family, revamping the layout and adding contemporary elements for optimal functionality.
Nicko Elliott and Ksenia Kagner, who founded Civilian in 2018, renovated the three-story building in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, often shortened to Bed-Stuy.
They now occupy the two lower levels of the terraced house, built in 1895, after having reconfigured its program to meet their needs and those of their two children.
“The project draws on a diverse mix of references, from the rich palette of materials found in Milanese homes to the bold use of color in the work of French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens,” said the studio.
“The resulting space brings Nicko and Ksenia’s creative circle of artists and designers to the fore while maintaining a sense of comfort and ease that supports the daily rituals of their growing design practice and young family,” Civilian added.
The changes included moving the kitchen and living room from the lower garden level to the living room level, which features 10-foot (three-meter) high ceilings and historic details.
A full height maple carpentry “block” has been added to divide the spaces, which remain connected by a hallway lined with aluminum laminate.
The carpentry creates shelving on the side of the living room and cabinets and a home workstation in the kitchen, while also incorporating a powder room.
Entered through a vestibule, the living room has a restored fireplace, moldings and a medallion on the ceiling. The new American oak parquet refers to the original diagonal parquet.
In the kitchen, a steel island with an Arabescatto marble countertop separates the kitchen and dining areas, while a red extractor hood offers a burst of color.
A central window has been replaced by a glass door, which gives direct access to the garden via a white painted metal staircase.
An interior oak staircase follows a whitewashed brick wall to the lower level, where Elliott and Kagner chose to position the bedrooms.
This level has been completely emptied and refurbished, replacing the narrow hallways with comfortable sleeping and lounging areas.
The frontage is occupied by a den that doubles as a guest bedroom, which has been painted green and furnished with a mix of contemporary pieces.
“New shelves frame a folding desk sized to accommodate a double mattress for visitors,” the team said. “The ceiling is painted in a high gloss finish, to reflect natural light deep into the room.”
A bright children’s bedroom with a striped ceiling and a spectacular black and white bathroom are sandwiched into the plan.
To the rear is the master bedroom, where the original ceiling joists have been painted white and a custom upholstered headboard is wrapped in Raf Simons fabric for Kvadrat.
A new gate provides additional access to the courtyard, which is paved with blue stone slabs recovered around a vegetable patch and perennial meadow.
Brooklyn townhouses are occupied and renovated by New Yorkers looking for more space than can be found in Manhattan.
Examples of these creative renovations include a Fort Greene home reconfigured for entertainment, a Carroll Gardens residence with minimalist interiors, and a Williamsburg property that has doubled in size.
The photograph is by Brian Ferry.
General contractor : Ameripride
Reference architect: CH Arch
Furniture manufacturing: Custom Juárez