A Special (Warren) Place

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.02 AMGood Morning Lacquered Lifers. Do you have that street, or that house, that you walk by with regularity and dream that one day it could be yours? Such was the case for Brooklyn Heights residents Elspeth Benoit and David Bevan, who would walk their dogs past Warren Place in Cobble Hill and dream about a life there. When one of the eleven foot wide townhouses came on the market, the pair didn’t hesitate, and embarked on a space-maximizing renovation project on the 1000 square foot gem. Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.32.57 AMOf the forty-four townhouses, twenty-four of them face the courtyard garden (seen here). Built in 1878, these townhouses were commissioned by  American housing reformer and philanthropist Alfred Tredway White as workforce housing, after a visit to London wherein he determined that conditions for the workingman in New York were terrible. His goal in building Warren Place was to give workingmen, “the chance to live decently and to bring up their children to be decent men & women.” Today what remains is idyllic setting in one of New York’s most sought after neighborhoods. Live Decently? I would say so. Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.45 AMBenoit sourced many of the materials, like this tub,  from some of my favorite destinations – Demolition Depot & Olde Good ThingsScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.19 AMThe couple raised the fireplace off the floor so that you could see the fire from the table, also making it useful for open fire cooking. 
Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.29 AMYou can see here in the kitchen where the couple maximized the space everywhere that they could, exposing beams and then dropping the ceiling in select locations to conceal ductwork, electrical etc. A project like this is a game of inches, a fact that this couple, who lived in a 325 square foot apartment prior to moving to Warren Place, were very aware of. Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.33.42 AMOnce just a powder room, it became a second bath when they waterproofed the entire room and added a rain shower head to the ceiling. This is something that Mr. B and I have always wanted to do in a home of our own. 
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For more photos, and the article, visit NYTimes.com

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You Know You’re a Preservationist When …

DetroitYou see photos like this one of an empty c. 1916 home that was probably built by an auto industry magnate, and you fall in love. Not necessarily with the architecture, and definitely not with the location (what is the temperature in Detroit right now?), but with the window into the past that a home like this provides. Having little or no renovation done over the years, this home contains the remnants of the c.1916 bathrooms, kitchen, and service spaces that really show us what life was like in 1916. And what’s most interesting about a home from this time period is that it was built with bathrooms, built with a kitchen that could be used by both a staff and the family, unlike homes of an earlier era. The original fixtures that remain in a home like this are exactly the style of fixture we are constantly trying to emulate today. So, how do you feel when you look at these photos? Are you a preservationist? Detroit 7

KitchenDetroit 2Butlers PantryDetroit 5Butlers PantryDetroit 6Refrigeration RoomDetroit 9BathroomDetroit 10Dressing RoomDetroit 8Bathroom

For more photos of this and other amazing untouched historic homes, visit Curbed Detroit

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We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! As promised last week, another project from Tara Mangini & Percy Bright, the duo at Jersey Ice Cream Co. The two began remodeling spaces a few years ago, and their process involves them moving into a space while they renovate it.  While I will not move into your house, (I give these two a lot of credit for that!) I always recommend to clients that they experience a space before they dive into a renovation. Renovating can be a game of inches, and it really helps when you know you and your family use a space.

Below is Beth Kirby’s Chattanooga, TN kitchen. Named Saveur’s Best Food Photography Blogger, the original kitchen did not provide Kirby with the type of inspirational space she needed for her photography. With a few coats of paint and plaster, some new appliances, and an extremely chic antique French faucet found on Ebay, the duo at Jersey Ice Cream Co. transformed this space into something that looks good enough to eat.TNKitch7 TNKitch6 TNKitch4 TNKitch2Photos via Jersey Milk Co. and Remodelista

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