Hancock Street House is a century-old brownstone in Bedford Stuyvesant which had fallen into disrepair. Our team was tasked with rehabilitating the building and reconfiguring the layout into a 3-story home and separate rental apartment at the garden level. The clients, a couple with grown children, required a modern home they could use openly, and in different ways—with more or less privacy to accommodate visiting family and guests.
Making way for a garden-level apartment, the restored staircase now starts at the parlor floor. To improve communication between floors and make more dynamic use of space, structural partitions enclosing the hallways at each level have been edited in various ways; inviting the staircase into the living spaces, and living spaces into the overall circulation.
At the parlor floor, a living and dining area extends into the landing of the staircase and is connected to a kitchen overlooking the rear garden. Windows in the kitchen have been converted to glass doors that open onto a new steel terrace—establishing a connection to the outside without sacrificing privacy. An over-sized stair—reminiscent of the iconic brownstone stoop—leads down to the garden, and suggests an occasional resting place.
Following the staircase up from the parlor level leads to a full-floor main bedroom suite, followed by study rooms at the top floor which can be converted to guest bedrooms. On the main bedroom level, sleeping and bathroom spaces are screened from each other by a freestanding, Judd-like volume, containing a concealed walk-in-closet. When there is no need for privacy all parts of the floor are open to one another, and to floors above and below; if guests come to stay, two full-height pocket doors at opposing ends of the stair can be closed, isolating the suite from the staircase.
“It was important to the client that their home be a balance between a more modern use of space and restored original features.”
— Simon Arnold
The parlor floor living area has been opened up to the central staircase and garden-facing kitchen area, creating a flexible living space with improved communication to the upper floors and exterior.
The central staircase has been carefully restored. New built-in storage replaces the original stair run to the garden floor below, which is now a rental apartment.
At the main-bedroom suite a shower area occupies the full width of the rear facade. The windows have been reglazed with translucent glass, permitting light whilst blocking views.
New glass doors at the kitchen open onto a shallow terrace, extending the space to the exterior without sacrificing privacy.
“Simon is a great architect and designer, and a great partner. We are on to our second project with Arnold Studio, which tells you everything you need to know. They really listened and worked with us.”
— Nicholas R, Client