Spaces: Bill Peterson: East Village Brownstone Before + After

. Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An amazing before and after featured in New York Mag.

"When architect Bill Peterson and development partner Carol Swedlow bought this sixteen-foot-wide brownstone on East 14th Street in 2004, it had one tenant—a ground-floor check-cashing joint—and the upper stories had been vacant for decades. Their plan was to turn it into four condominium units, with a penthouse for Swedlow. Peterson was determined not to make the brownstone look, on the one hand, like a “shallow revival,” or, on the other, too drastically modern. Why couldn’t it have old qualities, but exploit new technology? “I started thinking of ways to reinterpret the building using high-performance versions of the original materials,” Peterson says.

The result: an 1869 brownstone, its guts torn out and replaced with thoroughly modern systems and surfaces; its décor a combination of updated Victoriana and punkish East Village nostalgia; and its second-floor brownstone façade a movable plane that slowly tilts inward to reveal a white-box living room, with a careful arrangement of modern furniture (Knoll, Mies van der Rohe) tweaked to reference the past (velvet, fringe). This is a house with surprises.

An interesting mix of 20th Century design icons, including a purple velvet Florence Knoll Sofa, a Mies van der Rohe Coffee Table, Thonet's Le Corbusier bentwood chairs, and an industrial minimalist Jean Prouvé Potence wall lamp.

Click to see the before and after gallery at New York Mag.


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