Double Stoop House

Brooklyn, NY

4,000 sf



Merit winner in the 2023 Residential Architect Design Awards
Refurbishment of a 1890’s Brooklyn Brownstone, the project is organized across the section of the building and embraces multi-generational living. Each generation of the owner’s family “owns” a floor of the building, with each floor having convenient access to an adjacent outdoor environment.

The Grandparent’s floor is at the garden level, providing ease of access and the potential to age-in-place. A communal floor exists on what is traditionally the Parlor Floor. The Parent’s floor is on the 2nd level and provides sanctuary for rest and focus. The uppermost 3rd floor is the Children’s Floor, and includes bedrooms, a play room, and a reading nook.

As with any historic renovation, the challenge is to marry the old with the new, to set up a dialogue between the two without historicizing the new. The tensions that exist between old and new were embraced in the project.   In contrast to the deep ornate moulding profiles and plaster filigree of the living room, the new kitchen millwork employed use of a triangular tambour profile, adding depth, shadow, and texture to an otherwise monolithic and restrained formal expression.

Similarly, the Communal Floor (aka Parlor Floor) is organized as a series of “open chambers”. Rather than provide a series of enclosed rooms for each space, the floor plan suggests zones with the use of a series of large framed enfilade openings. These frames are large enough to offer the benefits of an open plan while still providing an architectural structure to create more intimate zones.

The original brownstone facade was refurbished to match the historic design. Rooms abutting the historical facade were designed to retain the Italianate character, with refurbished and recreated elements including window shutters, crown molding, stair rails, medallions and chandeliers. The presence of contemporary details increases as you progress to the rear of the building.

The tensions
between old and new
were embraced.

Light is drawn downward
into the depths of the building.

The interventions also sought to address challenges in Brownstones and other rowhouse typologies such as their limited ability to access natural light. Via a series of three cylindrical skylights, the light is drawn downward and into the depths of the building. The Parent’s Bathroom borrows light through a 1-story cylindrical skylight shaft. It is positioned over a clawfoot bathtub creating an element of surprise and calm.

On the exterior, the rear of the house is in dialogue with the front. Like the front of the house, the most public and communal floor is connected to the rear yard via its very own stoop. The stoop is accessed via a series of sliding doors that disappear into a pocket for the complete ‘indoor-outdoor’ experience.

The monolithic and volumetric quality of the addition is softened with a subtle shift in texture. The brick pattern changes across the height of the building, with bricks projecting outward at the bottom of the facade, and gradually receding towards the top of the facade. The gradual shift is a nod to the classical divisions of base, middle, and capital. To balance aesthetics with building performance, the rear facade is made up of a thermally broken brick rain screen assembly to increase the thermal performance of the wall. Passive house techniques and principles were applied to enhance the energy efficiency of the brownstone with triple glazed units to improve thermal efficiency as well as mitigate outdoor noise.

The gradual shift is a nod
to the classical divisions of
base, middle, and capital.

Photography by Nicole Franzen

Model Practice
917 373 3437

Site design by Once–Future Office