Renovation Spotlight: Hicks Street Residence by Ed Kopel, Architect

Renovation Spotlight: Hicks Street Residence by Ed Kopel, Architect

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I came across this modern renovation by Ed Kopel on Dwell and thought it was absolutely stunning.  I’m fond of the mid-century modern aesthetic and Ed Kopel’s design for this apartment renovation was spot on. Most of these images would be used for inspiration on my own dream home renovation project. )

A Transformative Apartment Renovation in Brooklyn

Hicks Street Residence by Ed Kopel, Architect

An excerpt from a post that originally appeared on www.dwell.com on May 20, 2014

WRITTEN BY: WILLIAM LAMB MAY 20, 2014

A cramped apartment in a prewar apartment building becomes an inviting space for a young family.

The space was conceived as a showcase for the client's collection of midcentury modern furniture. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The space was conceived as a showcase for the client’s collection of midcentury modern furniture. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

Ed Kopel, a Manhattan-based architect, tackled this gut renovation of a Brooklyn Heights apartment for a lawyer. The client, a bachelor when he embarked on the project, wound up married and a first-time father by the time the renovation work on the 1,250-square-foot apartment was completed in January 2013.

The renovated apartment has a brighter, more open feel than it did previously. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The renovated apartment has a brighter, more open feel than it did previously. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

Another view of the library and media room. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

Another view of the library and media room. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

A dining area occupies a space between the living room and media room. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

A dining area occupies a space between the living room and media room. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The kitchen is outfitted with Carrera marble countertops. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The kitchen is outfitted with Carrera marble countertops. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The renovated master bathroom. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

The renovated master bathroom. Photo by Francis Dzikowski/ESTO

After leveling the sagging floors by “sistering” new joists to the existing ones, Kopel reconfigured the apartment from a cramped three-bedroom space into a more open and inviting space with just two bedrooms. He used the reclaimed space to create a library and media lounge that, when opened to the kitchen and entry area, serves as an urban great room and, as Kopel puts it, “a hinge from the more public spaces to the more private ones.”

“The design was predicated upon maintaining the existing historical shell while inserting a new modernist interior that would serve as a background for his extensive holdings of midcentury modern furniture,” Kopel says.

The architect used teak in the kitchen and the family room to complement the Scandinavian look and roots of much of the furniture and to draw light deeper into what had been a much darker space. Whitewashed oak floors and Carrera countertops also work to brighten the space. All of the wood is certified by the U.S. Forest Stewardship Counsel, Kopel says.

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As Kopel describes on his own site:

“Several years ago I completed a complex renovation of two apartments at 187 Hicks. The broker who had later sold those renovated units recommended me to the buyer of a different unit on the sixth floor. My new client was a single attorney in his early forties who had grown up and gone to law school in Brooklyn. He was attracted to 187 Hicks, a seven story limestone and brick building located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic district, because of its old world charm and its central location. However, the apartment was in severe disrepair, having not been renovated in half a century. There were serious structural problems including sagging floors and ceilings with cracked joists. The windows were broken and non-functioning.

The entire apartment was gut renovated. The landmarked curved windows were replaced in kind. The design was predicated upon maintaining the existing historical shell while inserting a new modernist interior that would complement my client’s extensive holdings of mid-century modern furniture.

My client’s first requests sounded like directions to create a high end “man cave.” The initial vision included exposed ductwork, black countertops, and lots of teak. But during the course of the renovation my client became engaged, then married, and now a father-to-be. The addition of his wife softened and brightened the project and brought it more into line with my aesthetic preferences. We kept the teak paneling, installed a bleached floor, and changed the countertops to white – all in an effort to bring natural light deep into the space and to serve as a showcase for mid-century furniture.

The existing cellular three-bedroom apartment was converted into a spacious two-bedroom with a free plan. The space recovered from the deleted bedroom was transformed to an open library/media lounge that, when combined with the kitchen and entry area, becomes an urban great room and a hinge from the more public spaces to the more private ones.”

About the Editor:

RJ Diaz is a renovation and remodeling construction management executive in New York City. RJ is passionate about high quality, well-crafted construction and started RenovatingNYC in 2010 to share news and information specific to the industry as well as profile the best resources essential for a project’s success. For advice about your own renovation or remodeling plans, preliminary cost estimates and project opportunities, please contact RJ using the form below.