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In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a Renovated Brownstone with Inspired Solutions

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In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a Renovated Brownstone with Inspired Solutions

October 30, 2017

When Lauren Snyder and Keith Burns renovated their historic brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, they knew exactly what they wanted, down to the hardware, the wall finishes, the built-in storage solutions—even the ventilation unit. It’s not all that surprising: Lauren owns the Brooklyn Heights (with a new NYC outpost) shop The Primary Essentials, and Keith is an architect. The first order of the gut renovation was making the 100-year-old brownstone energy-efficient: solar panels on the roof, new windows, spray-foam insulation, an energy-recovery ventilation unit, a rainwater collection system, high-efficiency radiant heating, and LED lighting throughout. (“At the end of the year, we pay almost nothing for electricity,” Keith says.) Then came the creative structural solutions and Primary Essentials–like decor. Join us for a tour.

Photography by Jonathan Hökklo, courtesy of Lauren Snyder and Keith Burns.

Lauren and Keith opened up the parlor floor to bring the light in. “We tried to minimize the amount of enclosed space, but due to the depth, I wanted to make sure we had natural light penetrating to the core as much as possible,” Keith says.
Above: Lauren and Keith opened up the parlor floor to bring the light in. “We tried to minimize the amount of enclosed space, but due to the depth, I wanted to make sure we had natural light penetrating to the core as much as possible,” Keith says.

Before starting his own firm in 2013, Keith worked in large-scale commercial projects with New York firms ODA and REX. The brownstone renovation was a new challenge, working within the confines of a historical building and a rigid layout.

A slab of Palissandro Blue marble is used for fireplace cladding behind the Morsø 3440 Stove. The sofas are Hay Mags
Above: A slab of Palissandro Blue marble is used for fireplace cladding behind the Morsø 3440 Stove. The sofas are Hay Mags 2 1/2 Seater Sofas in Steelcut upholstery. In front of the stove is the Large 3rd Eye Vessel, a book/magazine holder by Chen Williams.
The kitchen island is topped with a six-by-eight-foot Calacatta Emerald marble slab. The shelves below, made of gray-stained birchwood, are stocked with ceramics from Humble Ceramics, Helen Levi, and Luke Eastop (all available at the Primary Essentials). Above the island is an XO Fabriano Island Hood.
Above: The kitchen island is topped with a six-by-eight-foot Calacatta Emerald marble slab. The shelves below, made of gray-stained birchwood, are stocked with ceramics from Humble Ceramics, Helen Levi, and Luke Eastop (all available at the Primary Essentials). Above the island is an XO Fabriano Island Hood.
A Liebherr 30-Inch Built-In Refrigerator is flanked with a bank of plywood shelving with a clear coat. The kitchen island has a Bosch 800-Series Dishwasher, a Bertazzoni Electric Wall Oven, and a Bertazzoni Gas Cooktop. The sink is a Kraus 36-inch stainless steel basin and the faucet is a Dornbracht Tara in rose gold from the Cyprum line. Inset into the marble top is an in-counter compost bin.
Above: A Liebherr 30-Inch Built-In Refrigerator is flanked with a bank of plywood shelving with a clear coat. The kitchen island has a Bosch 800-Series Dishwasher, a Bertazzoni Electric Wall Oven, and a Bertazzoni Gas Cooktop. The sink is a Kraus 36-inch stainless steel basin and the faucet is a Dornbracht Tara in rose gold from the Cyprum line. Inset into the marble top is an in-counter compost bin.
The parlor floor walls are plastered with standard USG plaster dyed with graphite “to take the white edge off,” Keith says. “The final finish is textured to make the walls a little more expressive.” Keith installed the timber frame where the original hallway existed. The banister, original to the brownstone, is painted Benjamin Moore Graphite.
Above: The parlor floor walls are plastered with standard USG plaster dyed with graphite “to take the white edge off,” Keith says. “The final finish is textured to make the walls a little more expressive.” Keith installed the timber frame where the original hallway existed. The banister, original to the brownstone, is painted Benjamin Moore Graphite.
An open alcove on the second floor is one of two spaces framing the staircase that was opened up to bring light and cross ventilation to the floor. The reading nook, complete with black built-in storage shelves, has two Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chairs in ebony and a Carrara marble table handmade by Keith.
Above: An open alcove on the second floor is one of two spaces framing the staircase that was opened up to bring light and cross ventilation to the floor. The reading nook, complete with black built-in storage shelves, has two Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chairs in ebony and a Carrara marble table handmade by Keith.
The second-floor guest room is furnished with a vintage Florence Knoll rosewood credenza, Fort Standard Elevate Table, vintage lamp, and rug. On the bed is a long body pillow from The Primary Essentials own line (contact TPE for info).
Above: The second-floor guest room is furnished with a vintage Florence Knoll rosewood credenza, Fort Standard Elevate Table, vintage lamp, and rug. On the bed is a long body pillow from The Primary Essentials own line (contact TPE for info).
Two bedrooms share an adjoining bath. The walls here (and throughout the house) are painted Benjamin Moore Decorator&#8
Above: Two bedrooms share an adjoining bath. The walls here (and throughout the house) are painted Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White. The door knob is the Baldwin Estate Knob in Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
A bathroom with a Silver Gray Corian counter, a Kohler Stillness Bath Faucet, and a Hasami Gloss Gray Plate with Aesop products and Jen Pearson’s Apothecary Matchstick Bottle.
Above: A bathroom with a Silver Gray Corian counter, a Kohler Stillness Bath Faucet, and a Hasami Gloss Gray Plate with Aesop products and Jen Pearson’s Apothecary Matchstick Bottle.
The alcove opposite the reading nook houses a jungle of potted plants. The floors here and throughout the house are white oak.
Above: The alcove opposite the reading nook houses a jungle of potted plants. The floors here and throughout the house are white oak.
The pendant lights on either side of the second floor are Alvar Aalto Hand Grenade Pendant Lights.
Above: The pendant lights on either side of the second floor are Alvar Aalto Hand Grenade Pendant Lights.
The top floor bedroom is designed with the concept of “objects defying space,” where the headboard is also a closet wall and a glass shower cube creates an en suite bath. The pendant light is a Noguchi A Akari Lamp. In the corner is an Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and a Doug Johnston basket.
Above: The top floor bedroom is designed with the concept of “objects defying space,” where the headboard is also a closet wall and a glass shower cube creates an en suite bath. The pendant light is a Noguchi 16A Akari Lamp. In the corner is an Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and a Doug Johnston basket.
The headboard, made of birch ply millwork by Hub Woodworks, is open at the top to allow light into the built-in closet behind. The lights are Andrew Neyer Crane Wall Lights.
Above: The headboard, made of birch ply millwork by Hub Woodworks, is open at the top to allow light into the built-in closet behind. The lights are Andrew Neyer Crane Wall Lights.
A galley-style closet with custom shelving painted Benjamin Moore Marina Gray.
Above: A galley-style closet with custom shelving painted Benjamin Moore Marina Gray.
The top floor, Keith says, was completely reconfigured. Plumbing was moved and, Keith explains, “instead of adding walls around the bathroom, the shower defines the vanity and bath area.” It’s outfitted with green slate, glass panels, and a Vola 060 Matte Black Shower Head. The wall hooks are Vola T Towel Hooks, also matte black.
Above: The top floor, Keith says, was completely reconfigured. Plumbing was moved and, Keith explains, “instead of adding walls around the bathroom, the shower defines the vanity and bath area.” It’s outfitted with green slate, glass panels, and a Vola 060 Matte Black Shower Head. The wall hooks are Vola T17 Towel Hooks, also matte black.
Alcoves are a theme. Here, a lineup of bath products sits above a pair of Duravit Architect Basins with Vola HVdata-src=
Above: Alcoves are a theme. Here, a lineup of bath products sits above a pair of Duravit Architect Basins with Vola HV1 Mixers (matte black) and below mirrored cabinets with exposed linestra bulbs.
Also on the top floor is a home office with a Laminate Top Packing Table from Uline and Vitra Allstair Chairs. The ceiling sconce is a Lucifer Surface Mount Light.
Above: Also on the top floor is a home office with a Laminate Top Packing Table from Uline and Vitra Allstair Chairs. The ceiling sconce is a Lucifer Surface Mount Light.
Lauren and Keith in their backyard.
Above: Lauren and Keith in their backyard.

Plans

A view of the architectural plans. The garden floor is a rental unit, while Lauren and Keith live on the three floors above.
Above: A view of the architectural plans. The garden floor is a rental unit, while Lauren and Keith live on the three floors above.

For more on Lauren and Keith, see our posts on their Brooklyn store and former kitchen in Fort Greene and visit the new Primary Essentials location in SoHo, New York.

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