Renovating an historic home is about listening to the past.

Brownstones are built on patterns that have been refined for literally hundreds of years. They are all the same and yet entirely different, built by thousands of different developers over decades and covering vast areas of New York and dozens of other cities. Brownstones are as universal as the Volkswagen and as bourgeois as a mortgage. Brownstones are (or were) the ultimate middle class housing, though they now have a more upscale appeal.

The wide bay/narrow bay pattern, with front and rear rooms is a grid of the most supple and rational kind. Rooms in a brownstone are as flexible as any loft with home offices, dens, dining rooms and bedrooms all able to move around the multistory plans. The brownstone is a canvas to project one's life onto.

In this project we worked in the conceptual space between the faithful restoration and the complete gut renovation. The house had been derelict for a long time, saving it from destructive renovations but leaving it in need of a complete overhaul. The best parts of the house were salvageable; original sub-flooring floors, window and door trim and stairs and railings were all saved, while new hardware, kitchens, bathrooms and modern infrastructure were nestled within the brownstone's grid.

What was most effective about this project was filling it with the furniture, artwork and collections that supply its modernity. Image and structure merge comfortably 125 years after this Brooklyn house was constructed.