A once-dilapidated Manhattan brownstone has been restored to its former glory by Austin and New York City-based firm Hunt Architecture.
This Manhattan townhouse transformed by Hunt Architecture is a far cry from its former self. The architecture studio were approached by a wishful client to design an inviting home that ‘respected, but was not beholden’ to traditional details. “Nothing in the home was in a salvageable state,” Hunt Architecture partner Nick Hunt admits. “All New York renovations need to be approached with a level of uncertainty until walls are opened up and one can really see if everything they have designed is achievable given the hidden existing conditions,” Nick says. “This was a full gut renovation; everything was removed down to the studs, subfloor and joists and each historic detail had to be recreated,” he adds.
Hunt Architecture have successfully stripped the home back to its bones and rebuilt it from the ground up, injecting the shared spaces with an innate sense of character and history.
“This marble was hoisted through the windows because there was no other way to get it inside,” Nick says. “These are all little things you don’t see when you look at a beautifully finished kitchen,” he laughs.
Core to the client’s brief was an open-plan home where the courtyard was visible from the front door. “The client wanted to be able to stand in her kitchen and see the busy Chelsea street, but also the private garden at the rear,” Nick says. Generous 3.7-metre-high ceilings allowed this concept to not feel ‘tunnel-like’ as Nick describes, and more like an “open-plan design dressed in a historic wrapper.” The linear floorplan follows from the kitchen at the front of the home to a central dining space and a living room opening onto the lush outdoor space.
The kitchen is informed by the picturesque, tree-lined streetscape and recreates the charm of Manhattan through ornate brass fixtures and heritage-style appliances. Swaths of Calacatta Turquoise marble clad the rangehood, benchtops, shelves, niches and designated home bar. Together with the intricate crown architraves and walnut timber floors, the kitchen channels a sense of old-world glamour with present-day functionality.
The full-height bookshelf shapes the central dining space between the kitchen and living room.
Traditional details in the living room include a custom-carved marble mantlepiece and wainscoting panels.
Hunt Architecture played with texture through Moroccan zellige tiles and hand-plastered walls in the bathrooms, cultivating a serene atmosphere that feels calmer than the communal spaces. Gold tones found in the green marble are accentuated through the fixtures and fittings and an Allied Maker pendant, resulting in a cohesive design that, as Nick puts it, “isn’t tied to one particular style.”
Layers of texture unfold in the Moroccan zellige tiles and hand-plastered walls in the bathrooms.