Townhouse

A townhouse renovation in Boerum Hill

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The living room, after: The sculptural fireplace rising to the 20ft ceiling was inspired by the organic work of the sculptor Valentin Schlegel. The fire pit was integrated into a custom entryway bench with drum upholstery and upholstery by Pollack and Maharam. The rug is Safavieh’s Windy Hand-Tufted Rug, available from Neiman Marcus, and the sofa on the right is a Kayra Bouclé Sofa from Article with brass legs purchased on Etsy.
Photo: Gieves Anderson

Two years ago, in the midst of a pandemic, Kate Yearwood Young and her husband lived in a McKim, Mead & White building on Livingston Street for almost a decade, but felt restless. Their first son had been born the previous year, and the confinement had convinced them that their place had become too small. They loved Brooklyn brownstone but were hesitant to buy a brownstone. “We are not handymen,” she says. “We really wanted a condo.”

A townhouse, of course, doesn’t come with a super. “We don’t know anything about housekeeping, and it’s overwhelming to learn all these things,” says Yearwood Young. They are busy; she owns her own business as Financial Advisor. “But then with the pandemic, outdoor space very quickly became a priority,” she says.

This six-story, three-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot home in Boerum Hill, however, was built in 2013. It had no front porch and had an elevator — useful because “my mom uses a wheelchair,” says Yearwood Young, and they knew they were planning on having a second child: “It was, oddly enough, one of the only homes I felt comfortable with, and I wanted the accessibility so that my parents can come and visit me.”

There was one drawback: the interior finishes, especially the staircase, of the house did not suit them. The seller’s broker suggested a meeting with the architect Frederic Tang and Barbara Reyes, director of interiors at the Tang firm, on how to update its traditionalism. “The first thing you see when you walk in is this fake-A colonial fireplace in the double-height room and a kind of Italian handrail on black iron curves,” says Tang. “We agreed that some details, like the railing and the chimney, could be updated, could be redesigned a bit.”

And unlike a 19th-century brownstone, it hasn’t had to undergo major renovations. “We loved these crazy double-height spaces,” he says. “We do so many townhouse projects, and in most of them, over half the budget is for structural upgrades, mechanical work, and here we have to do all the fun stuff. “

Before: The living room was bathed in wonderful light but had a generic fireplace. After: The new fireplace. From left to right : Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

Before: The living room was bathed in wonderful light but had a generic fireplace. After: The new fireplace. From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Ta…
Before: The living room was bathed in wonderful light but had a generic fireplace. After: The new fireplace. From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

The Staircase, Before: The Italian handrail involved an overload of black iron. After: The project took nine months to design and build which included transforming the staircase into a winding sculpture. “We removed what was in dire need of a change – it’s the most impactful, like the stairs, the fireplace, etc.,” Reyes explains. “We enjoyed the challenge.” From left to right : Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

The Staircase, Before: The Italian handrail involved an overload of black iron. After: The project required nine months of design and construction which…
The Staircase, Before: The Italian handrail involved an overload of black iron. After: The project took nine months to design and build which included transforming the staircase into a winding sculpture. “We removed what was in dire need of a change – it’s the most impactful, like the stairs, the fireplace, etc.,” Reyes explains. “We enjoyed the challenge.” From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

The double-height boudoir upstairs, before: The room felt like an afterthought. After: The L-shaped sofa that belonged to her husband’s late grandmother has been reupholstered in lavender Rebel fabric by Knoll. The vintage coffee table is from Red Pagoda Antiquities and Moderns, and the wall sconces are from the Atelier de Troupe; the pendant is from Circa Lighting. The Sculpt Velvet Side Chairs are from Crate and Barrel. From left to right : Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson
The double-height boudoir upstairs, before: The room felt like an afterthought. After: The L-shaped sofa that belonged to her husband’s late grandmother…
The double-height boudoir upstairs, before: The room felt like an afterthought. After: The L-shaped sofa that belonged to her husband’s late grandmother has been reupholstered in lavender Rebel fabric by Knoll. The vintage coffee table is from Red Pagoda Antiquities and Moderns, and the wall sconces are from the Atelier de Troupe; the pendant is from Circa Lighting. The Sculpt Velvet Side Chairs are from Crate and Barrel. From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

The kitchen, before: It was ideal, as it opened up to the outside space.
After: Frederick Tang Architecture left the existing wood cabinetry and replaced the kitchen island with a custom-made piece from Casa Quieta. The AGA range and black custom hood complement the new Hurricane Black marble stone backsplash. The outdoor patio was landscaped by Brook Landscape. From left to right : Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

The kitchen, before: It was ideal, as it opened up to the outside space.
After: Frederick Tang Architecture left the existing wooden cabinets and replaced the…

The kitchen, before: It was ideal, as it opened up to the outside space.
After: Frederick Tang Architecture left the existing wood cabinetry and replaced the kitchen island with a custom-made piece from Casa Quieta. The AGA range and black custom hood complement the new Hurricane Black marble stone backsplash. The outdoor patio was landscaped by Brook Landscape. From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

Landing on the top floor, before: A bar area was a great idea for entertaining on the roof garden. After: The renovated top-floor landing concludes the interior leading to the rooftop garden with hand-painted floral wallpaper by Artemest and light fixture by Anna Karlin. The bar was rebuilt by Yuriy Nych of Home Evolution Construction, who carried out the renovation work for the whole house. From left to right : Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

Landing on the top floor, before: A bar area was a great idea for entertaining on the roof garden. After: The renovated landing on the top floor concludes the inter…
Landing on the top floor, before: A bar area was a great idea for entertaining on the roof garden. After: The renovated top-floor landing concludes the interior leading to the rooftop garden with hand-painted floral wallpaper by Artemest and light fixture by Anna Karlin. The bar was rebuilt by Yuriy Nych of Home Evolution Construction, who carried out the renovation work for the whole house. From above: Photo: Courtesy of Frederick Tang ArchitecturePhoto: Gieves Anderson

Yearwood Young with Lionel, 3, and Julius, 7 months.
Photo: Jessica Castano

Roof garden: “We wanted a bit of ’60s Hollywood glamour,” says Reyes.
Photo: Gieves Anderson

“The second floor has a narrow hallway that can now be used for dinner parties and gatherings with a custom bench upholstered in Maharam and James Dunlop fabric. The wet bar conceals the HVAC unit with tambour joinery. The painted wallpaper on measure is from Gournay. The vintage brass travertine side table is from Judy Frankel Antiques.
Photo: Gieves Anderson


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