Before & After: An Italianate-Style Brownstone in Brooklyn Rises Above Years of Ad-Hoc Remodels



Urban Pioneering Architecture strategically preserves the historic details of this Clinton Hill row house while creating a garden-level apartment and a top-floor guest suite.

Custom shelving now flanks the fireplace, now composed of encaustic tile from the Cement Tile Shop and a marble hearth. A floating cabinet on one side balances an uncovered radiator on the other, and Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace unifies the scheme. Throughout the first floor, Bona Traffic white oak floors with a matte finish is laid in a herringbone pattern.

Left vulnerable to the whims of several owners over the years, this 1860s brownstone in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill “had seen countless, ad-hoc renovations that left it in need of a total overhaul,” describes Urban Pioneering Architecture. The firm teamed up with CNS Construction and the new homeowners to rescue the brownstone, replacing the front stoop, creating a garden-level apartment and a triplex above, and making a top-floor suite for guests.

Before: Front Exterior

Before: when the new owners bought the house, it was separated into a two-bedroom rental apartment at the garden level and a three-floor unit above. The front stoop had been removed at some point.

Before: when the new owners bought the house, it was separated into a two-bedroom rental apartment at the garden level and a three-floor unit above. The front stoop had been removed at some point.

Courtesy of Urban Pioneering Architecture

After: Front Exterior

For the new entry, the team installed custom double doors topped with a transom. The stoop and door header are new constructions that matches the home’s original style. Black paint on the exterior trim looks sharp against the preserved facade.

For the new entry, the team installed custom double doors topped with a transom. The stoop and door header are new constructions that matches the home’s original style. Black paint on the exterior trim looks sharp against the preserved facade.

Photo: Kate Glicksberg

After: Entry

The vestibule is new, but attention to detail helps it blend in with the old. "Molding, casings, and wall paneling was replicated and reinstalled to create a new opening that looked like it had always been there," says Urban Pioneering Architecture. The glass door with the decorative metalwork is from Irreplaceable Artifacts, and the tile is the Circulos pattern from the Cement Tile Shop.

The vestibule is new, but attention to detail helps it blend in with the old. “Molding, casings, and wall paneling was replicated and reinstalled to create a new opening that looked like it had always been there,” says Urban Pioneering Architecture. The glass door with the decorative metalwork is from Irreplaceable Artifacts, and the tile is the Circulos pattern from the Cement Tile Shop. 

Photo: Kate Glicksberg

See the full story on Dwell.com: Before & After: An Italianate-Style Brownstone in Brooklyn Rises Above Years of Ad-Hoc Remodels
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