Modern interventions in historic townhouses are always a challenge. Here, natural materials—Blue De Savoie countertops, wide-board oak floors, and stained oak cabinetry—soften the sleek, contemporary lines so they fit elegantly into the classic bones of the house. The suspended oak slat ceiling does double duty as camouflage for the unsightly mechanical equipment that lurks above.
Old townhouses aren’t known for their light and airy feeling, so the rear masonry wall was replaced with a floor-to-ceiling accordion door that creates a seamless connection to the terrace and yard, whether open or closed.
Part of the existing stair volume presented a huge obstacle to the new view out the back. The client and architect wanted it to disappear, so we waved our magic structural-steel wand and suspended a new section of open stairway from above, mating it with part of the original steps and railing below. The result is a graceful tribute to the principle that modern design need not erase its own history to come alive.