Greenwich Village Townhouse — Retuning a Historic Townhouse for Modern Family Living

New York, NY
7,000 square feet
Completed, 2023
Type: Townhouses

This refurbished Greenwich Village townhouse delights in as-found details and inherited layers. Our design restores the landmarked exterior while tailoring the interior for a family of four. Originally built in 1846, the building saw generations of ownership and modifications that left behind a mix of architectural vocabularies. But rather than reflexively prescribe a gut renovation, TenBerke saw past the accrued layers to envision a graceful composition that could be achieved through a series of precise edits.

The details have been retuned to balance old and new. Traditional balusters in the historical stairwell were removed and replaced with a simple, tapered metal railing to unify the vertical home. Ornamental crown molding and carved marble fireplaces were left intact, newly paired with cased openings with complementary profiles to frame the parlor enfilade. Twelve-inch wide, plain-sawn wood planks run continuously throughout the home. Hand-finished with a light satin surface, this new flooring grounds the home with a natural elegance, distinguished by its generous and consistent proportions: an attentive eye will notice that the stair treads, too, are composed in the same 12-inch boards. Behind the scenes, the renovation replaced the existing freon-based system with an all-new mechanical and plumbing system, all while adding insulation to the envelope—a quiet but systematic upgrade in comfort and efficient energy use for the years to come.

An artful sequence of exact removals and careful additions calibrated each space to the rhythms of daily life. The garden level kitchen was reconfigured to embrace indoor-outdoor living. A load-bearing interior wall was sliced away to extend the eat-in-kitchen while new steel-and-glass doors open the room to the garden beyond. The rear garden now connects the lower level to the parlor level, a jewel-like outdoor room for entertaining and relaxing alike.

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This is a story about careful editing and tweaking, with just a preciously few big moves. We took the rooms as we found them, brought their details back to life, and inserted a new, more refined architectural vocabulary where needed to complete the picture—a balance that’s at once traditional yet modern.

Marc Leff, Senior Principal

Our client brought a deep respect for craftsmanship to the project, and as such, an extraordinary community of makers has been involved in realizing this place—it’s wonderful to be part of a project where the relationships between design and fabrication are seamlessly woven into the story of the home.

Kiki Dennis, Principal

Collaborators

TenBerke
Architect and Interior Designer

John Hummel & Associates
General Contractor

Hanington Engineering
MEP / FP / Structural Engineering

J Callahan Consulting Inc
Expediter

Recognition

Wallpaper* Magazine
August 2024