Skinny Brooklyn rowhouse renovation makes room for family of four

Rafael Gamo
© Rafael Gamo

Skinny houses are a TreeHugger favourite; they are built on narrower lots, which mean higher urban densities while still satisfying the North American penchant for the single family home.

In Brooklyn, Office of Architecture renovated an existing two-storey, 11-foot-wide home with a new four-storey scheme for a young family: an architect and jewelry designer, and their two children. The family has already lived here for eight years, and wanted to stay in their beloved neighbourhood. To accommodate their growing needs, the design has created a new basement and "urban mudroom," added a new floor for the master bedroom, as well as a small rooftop terrace.

Rafael Gamo© Rafael Gamo

Rafael Gamo© Rafael Gamo
As the architects say about the Little House, Big City project:

The narrowness of the house required the design to make effective yet frugal use of space; every inch was important. Precise positioning of walls, doors, and windows was crucial as each floor was planned to serve a purpose.

In the basement, an entryway has been added, in addition to storage, mechanical area, and a laundry room where clothes can be washed and hung.

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

The first floor has been transformed into a more open layout that encompasses the living rom, dining room, kitchen, and library -- all accessible from the front steps and backyard of the house. To increase the sense of spaciousness, the scheme uses a lot of light-coloured materials and finishes, pairing it with touches of walnut wood flooring, a marble counter, ceramic tiles and unfinished steel railings on the stairs.

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Going up the stairway, lit by a skylight above, we reach the second floor where the children's two bedrooms and shared bathroom are located.

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams© Matthew Williams

Up another flight is where the master bed and bath are situated, along with a balcony at the front of the house, and a terrace at the back.

Rafael Gamo© Rafael Gamo

Rafael Gamo© Rafael Gamo

As we can see, a narrow house doesn't have to be cramped. By carefully designing the available space on the new floors that have been added within the existing building envelope, the design has succeeded in creating a lot more living space despite the narrow footprint. To see more, visit Office of Architecture.

Skinny Brooklyn rowhouse renovation makes room for family of four
From an existing two-storey transformed into four compact floors, this 11 ft. wide house is redone into a much more spacious home.

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