Jul 10, 2013

A home renovation project in Brooklyn

This website helps homeowners find architects, designers, and contractors for their home-improvement projects, from large (whole-house renovations) to small (a wall of bookshelves).

Launched last year by Jean Brownhill Lauer, a Bed-Stuy resident who trained as an architect, theSweeten vets and pre-approves all professionals, thoroughly checking their references and quality of work so you don’t have to. She conducts face-to-face interviews, checks licensing and certificates, and monitors client feedback before inviting them to join the network. Design professionals pay for membership; homeowners pay nothing.

One such member is Sarah Zames of General Assembly, an architect who’s just wrapping up a Brooklyn Heights studio renovation she contracted through theSweeten. Her previous project, the subject of this post, was her calling card: a little bit of suburbia in Williamsburg. The home is a 1950s brick single-family across from Cooper Park, with front and rear yards and a parking alley, as well as air rights to build upwards in the future.

The current homeowners, a couple in the arts with a small daughter, hired General Assembly in January 2011, shortly after they bought the house. It had been unoccupied for three years. “It was a disaster,” recalls Zames. “It would definitely have scared most people off. The entire thing had to be completely gutted, re-plumbed, and re-wired, and the HVAC system replaced.” After a lightning-quick four-month renovation, the new owners had a completely remodeled home with a newly efficient floor plan, and were able to move in by Memorial Day.

The house is essentially a split-level, with a ground-floor living room/dining area/kitchen measuring just 300 square feet. Steps lead down to a guest room/art studio on the lower level. There are two bedrooms and a bath on the second floor.

The general contractor was Trevo Contracting, with millwork by Tribeca Design Build. Total cost of the job: under $250K. The house was staged for photography by Sarah Zames.

See lots more photos and read all about it after the jump.

Photos: Joe Fletcher (1st and 2nd floors); Paul Clemence (studio)

The graphic artwork in the stair hall is by Matt Wright, a Brooklyn artist.

When the studio is not in use as work space, a Murphy bed drops down to accommodate out of town guests. Murphy bed hardware from Hafele.


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