Chestnut Street – Conversion of Two Family HomeMarch 31 2017
Originally a two-family home with mirror-image apartments, the new owners wanted the house converted into a single family home. The design challenge was that the house had 14 small rooms that were separated by a double stairway that ran through the center of the building and prevented the spaces from being opened to one another. Only the kitchens offered the possibility of combination. So a kitchen-oriented design was conceived with a huge linear kitchen that stretched across the back of the house.
But since the kitchen was unnaturally long and thin, creative solutions for making the space seem more wide were sought. First, kitchen cabinet were recessed into a niche built in the wall so that they didn’t push into the 12′ wide room. Secondly, a bank of huge windows were added across the back of the house to flood the kitchen with light and create a feeling openness. Lastly, an unusual three-way arch was built that not only connected the kitchen to the living room but allowed for diagonal lines of sight between the rooms that would not have otherwise been possible. A reclaimed cast iron column was added to resolve this arch.
As a design, the house was conceived as a London townhouse with two fanciful unifying themes: Art Deco lines and a star motif. The Art Deco sensibility was conceived in the detailing of the off-black kitchen cabinets, oversized apron sink, and quartz countertop that waterfalls and stops just short of the floor. The star motif reappears throughout the house–in the Sputnik lamps, in the starburst tile floors, in the spaceship bed in the elder daughter’s room. Even the attic to the third floor is conceived as a black wormhole that leads to a celestial space with actual star pendant lights.
The house’s four bathrooms play boldly with color as the cement tiles speak to gold, avocado and baby blue colored vanities.