A Brownstone for the 21st Century by

Issue 101 · The Early Bird · December 5, 2013

A Brownstone for the 21st Century

Issue 101 · The Early Bird · December 5, 2013

Tasked with rebuilding an entire 19th century townhouse behind a landmarked front façade on New York’s upper West Side, O’neill Rose Architects (members of the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory) combined the glamorous proportions of pre-war architecture with the lightness and clean lines of modern living. 

Photography by Michael Moran.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, front | Remodelista

Above: The restored front façade of the townhouse is landmarked and is the only original element of the building that remains. The architects added a new stoop to reconnect the parlor floor back to the street.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, stair hall | Remodelista

Above: The architects reinterpreted a classic 19th century curving stair. It begins at the parlor floor and ends at a modern penthouse on the fifth floor. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, arch window, Hans Wegner Shell chair | Remodelista

The graceful proportions of the rooms are accentuated by streamlined architectural details that reference more ornate styles from the 19th century. Shown here, the parlor's grand arched front window.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, arch window, Hans Wegner Shell chair | Remodelista

Above: The three-legged Shell Chair by Danish designer Hans J. Wegner introduces timeless midcentury lines to the front parlor and sets the tone for things to come.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, dining room with colored chairs | Remodelista

Above: The architects' use of streamlined paneling adds scale and texture to the lofty dining room. The wood floor is in a herringbone pattern throughout the parlor floor. (Like the look? See our post Chevron and Herringbone: Spot the Difference.) The hardwood Dining Table and multi-colored Wishbone Chairs are Hans J. Wegner designs. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, dining room with colored chairs | Remodelista

Above: The architects built several scaled models of the fireplace mantel to determine the angles of the stones. They then asked the contractor to make a mock-up to scale to get a better understanding of the shape of the mantel in relation to the room. The final design is made of Avion, a soft brown honed marble from Spain. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, kitchen | Remodelista

Above: With a long island running through it, the streamlined kitchen features cabinetry on one side and a fireplace and built-in bookshelves on the other. A window wall opens it to a new breakfast room extension in the rear, which, in turn, opens onto a terrace. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, kitchen pantry | Remodelista

Above: The kitchen countertops are made of Imperial Danby marble from Vermont quarries. "We use this stone in a lot of our projects because it's beautiful and local for us," says architect Devin O'neill. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, black metal frame windows in kitchen| Remodelista

Above: Custom-designed kitchen cabinets maximize storage by using all of the room's available height. For kitchen cabinetry essentials, see Remodeling 101: 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Kitchen Cabinets.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, stair landing | Remodelista

Above: The delicate spindles of the black wood stair rail are modern in their detailing and remind us of Windsor chair spindles. 

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, bedroom with terrace | Remodelista

Above: The master bedroom is situated in the back of the house, where the architects weren't beholden to the original design. The room opens onto a new terrace that sits above the kitchen extension. The maximize views the glazing extends from wall to wall.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, bathroom with stand alone tub | Remodelista

Above: The bedroom's stand alone bathtub is filled from wall mounted fixtures on the side.

O'neill Rose West Side Townhouse, stair | Remodelista

Above: Natural light from above filters down the stairs.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, penthouse with cow skin rug on wood floor | Remodelista

Above: On the top floors of the house, the design, as O'neill explains, "becomes less and less formal, gradually shedding the historic detailing." The remodel culminates in a modern penthouse with a terrace, shown here. A window wall makes the division between the inside and outside disappear.

O'neill rose West Side Townhouse, rear elevation | Remodelista

Above: "We worked closely with the NYC Landmarks and Preservation commission to develop a modern rear façade within the historic footprint of the original building," O'neill says. The stepped back penthouse and terrace are hidden from view.

Want to see more work by O'neill Rose? Have a look at Porch Appreciation in Connecticut. Or see Julian King's Minimalist Moves in a Chelsea Townhouse for another New York townhouse project.  



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