Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Fourteenth Street Renovation: LOCALbrooklyn

14th Street South Slope Brooklyn: 

L O C A L brooklyn   Meret Lenzlinger Architect

Is this a trend in Park Slope South? I have noticed that in recent years quite a few two-family residential buildings in my neighborhood are being turned over by old timers and then converted into single families by their new owners.  There are four houses on my block alone that have made the transformation.  Back in the day, when the neighborhood was not so nice as they say, two family homes not occupied by their owners were often illegally sliced up into three units or more.
Is this just part of the gentrification process?  Do new homeowners no longer need the additional income from a rental apartment to help pay their mortgage? Maybe they don't want the headache of being a landlord.  
Or, maybe it's because a growing  family needs the entire 2,300 (plus or minus) square feet  these two story, basement, and cellar row houses can provide.  The South Slope did vote to limit it's building boom recently by down zoning from R6 to R6B.  The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) dropped from 2.43 to 2.00 with height and setback restrictions reducing the allowed buildable floor space and making it harder to add on stories to an existing home.  With all the new multifamily residential development built in Brooklyn in the last decade, I wonder how many housing units have been lost to three and two-family down sizing?  

Reducing Family Units to Increase Family Space
This house on 14th Street purchased back in November 2012 for $1,050,00 is doing just that. Architect Meret Lenzlinger of the firm LOCALbrooklyn has filed plans to change the certificate of occupancy from a two family to a one family.  Plans also call for a small single story addition off the rear of the building. I think it is common for new home owners to move the kitchen to the basement garden level and then opening up the rear facade with glass to allow more light into what is usually a dark floor.  There are a good number of residential renovations that can be seen on LOCALbrooklyn's website.  Their portfolio shows many such kitchen spaces.  

Looking forward to the restoration of the wood frame house.  No doubt it will be a great addition to the street scape.

In Process.  Tyvec has been installed after the front stoop and old layers of aluminum siding have been removed from this two story wood frame house.  The building was already missing its crowning cornice, but still has the original iron fence and gate.  This mid block house is the last in a row of similar wood frames probably all built at the same time.  The facade on the home next door looks as if it has been recently restored and is in perfect shape.
In comparing the upper story fenestration to the ground floor's,  you can see how much more interior light  will be gained by removing the old double hung aluminum windows and replacing them with new full frame windows installed stud to stud..  This works best, of coarse, when you don't have to worry about moving interior wood trim and moldings. 
I'm going to guess that the stoop will be rebuilt and the upper and lower entryways kept in place.  This is a great opportunity to reconfigure the basement entry under the stoop, usually a dark, damp, and cramped space inhabited by spiders and mosquitoes.  Many of these spaces are open to the weather and behind iron gates with restricting swings that make moving any kind of large piece of furniture almost impossible.  You really can't afford to waste even the tiniest space especially one near the front door.  
Front Yard   Plans call for a small green space in the front yard which I greatly prefer to the concrete one now in place.  As there is no street tree directly in front of the house, an appropriately sized, shade loving tree would be a welcoming addition.  


Meret Lenzlinger said...

Hi there, I came across this post a while back. The project took a long time to finish, but it was a wonderful collaboration, and I am really happy with the work. Since we have completed the work now, I thought you might be curious to see some finished pictures. We have yet to photograph the top floor and garden, and I am looking forward to sharing those images as well sometime in the future:
All the best,

Meret Lenzlinger said...

Here's the finished product! Thought you might be interested:

IMBY said...

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