April 17, 2019

Renovation Diary: A Clinton Hill townhouse makes room for layers of history and modernist design

Our Renovation Diary has been following 6sqft writer Michelle Cohen as she takes on the challenge of transforming a Brooklyn townhouse in the historic Clinton Hill neighborhood into a site-sensitive modern home. She previously shared plans for the 150-year-old building and the first big steps she and her husband, a public health lawyer and antique lighting dealer, have taken to make their dream home a reality, including two years of hunting, planning the renovation, and assembling the professionals needed to make it happen (and how the homeowners made the best of all the waiting time). With Landmarks' signoff and permits in hand, a year-long renovation began. Below, the results, with plenty of hindsight, advice, resources and construction photos on the way.
Hear from Michelle and see the transformation
December 9, 2015

This $14.8M UWS Townhouse Does Not Have a Pool in the Back Yard

But it almost did. In 2008, when Turkish millionaire and Mavi Jeans mogul Ragip Ersin Akarlilar and his wife bought this historic 1870 four-story Italianate home at 51 West 83rd Street among the brownstones of the Upper West Side for $4.3 million, it was in need of renovation. Plans were drawn for a gut overhaul, including a sleek wall of glass at the back that could open up to encompass an outdoor swimming pool (shown here in the Post). Neighbors balked at the proposed additions, and a kerfuffle ensued. Akarlilar eventually obtained permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, permits were granted, and work began. According to the Observer, the homeowners “unintentionally fell in love with another house,” and sold the home, mid-reno, for $6.8 million to a buyer/flipper who intended to finish the ambitious job–sans pool. Forward to now. The home recently hit the market for $14.8M. The renovation is not only quite attractive, but an additional lower level has made the home a whopping 6,300 square feet with a nifty bi-level backyard.
Take the tour
September 16, 2014

A Brooklyn Heights Loft in an Old YMCA Building Makes Room for Books, Art and Entertaining

The owners of this Brooklyn Heights loft on the top two floors of a converted YMCA building wanted to remodel their space to accommodate both of their individual, extensive book and art collections; they also needed a home that would be great for dinner parties and entertaining. Rather than settling on boring built-ins, they turned to Ensemble Architecture to create a solution that would put their most treasured items on show.
Tour the renovated space here

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