“The great American front porch was just there, open and sociable, an unassigned part of the house that belonged to everyone and no one, a place for family and friends to pass the time,” said architect Davida Rochlin in her essay “Home, Sweet Home.” It was this idea that Brooklyn-based firm Noroof Architects kept in mind when redesigning this 1879 two-story, wood-frame home in Bed-Stuy. It was structurally sound and maintained original details like its covered porch with original cornice and trim, marble mantels, and carved stair balusters, but mechanically required a full gut renovation. To complete their “porcHouse” vision, Noroof added a two-story addition at the rear that they say “creates a kind of ‘interior portico.’”
No matter how lavish, developer and flipper renovations rarely hold a candle to the custom designs executed by architects for their clients’ homes–even more so when the architects are the clients and the homes are their own. This unassuming townhouse at 702 Monroe Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, on the market for $1.635 million, is a prime example.
In this case, the innovative pair behind architecture firm noroof (they received national recognition for their “Slot House” and specialize in designing small spaces) worked their creative and practical magic on a comparatively compact historic Brooklyn townhouse with a unique front porch and a lot of potential charm. Based on love and respect for the porch as a gathering, sheltering and enhancing element, they’ve named the resulting project “porchouse,” an elegantly-designed home with a clean, modern interior that’s perfect for family living–with plenty of curb appeal.
The tiny house movement seems to be taking over the nation, but living in modest quarters has pretty much always been the norm for the average New Yorker. One architecture studio that’s focused their energies on the challenges of designing the super small—versus the super tall—is Fort Greene-based noroof Architects. Led by the duo of Margarita McGrath and Scott Oliver, the studio has been developing ingenious ideas that address the space challenges that come with living in a dense city—and they often involve transforming furniture. Jump ahead to learn more about how the pair approach downsized living and designing for families, where they find inspiration, and then get some ideas on how you can make your cramped apartment feel far more capacious.
Who says small spaces can’t be designed luxuriously? In fact, this compact home in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn looks downright gorgeous—even if there is a bed lofted above a refrigerator. Noroof Architects designed the home in the early 2000s, and nicknamed the project “Slot House.” The exterior “slot” was inspired by the existing maple tree on site, which the owners did not want to remove. The slot allows the tree to be seen from the inside, and this clever slotted design gesture was carried to the interior.
Image courtesy of Dwell
Couples shacking up in small spaces is nothing new, but this may be the first time we’ve seen more than two folks squeezing into a tiny pad. Featured on Dwell, this family of four in the East Village proves that home is where the heart is—not how big your house is. So how do they manage with a baby and a nine-year-old in just 640 square feet?