The Turett Collaborative was engaged by a developer to return a multi-family residence at 74 Washington Place back to a townhouse as it was originally constructed in the mid-1800s. As with all landmarked sites, we worked closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to preserve important aspects of its front facade which includes a brownstone faced piano noble, stoop, and entry pediment, a painted brick facade, and a rather simple limestone cornice.
The most prominent feature of the front facade is its 4th story casement picture window with views to the city skyline to the north which served to provide light for an artist’s studio in the building’s previous incarnation. Although the window could not be restored due its deteriorated state, it was replaced with a new glass and steel window assembly to match as closely as possible to the window that existed.
While the front facade was lovingly restored, the rear of the building was allowed to be significantly altered so as to present a contemporary face towards the rear. A three-story masonry addition of roman length iron spot brick was added which features an expansive three-story window wall bringing southern light deep into the interior. The rooftop of this addition provides a private landscaped terrace for the master bedroom suite that is adjacent.
In contrast to the relatively tranquil expression of the new rear facade, a new addition was added to the roof that exhibits a unique sculptural quality. The faceted, zinc-clad addition consists of folded planes that are artfully creased and folded to create an origami-like volume. The form was created using a computer-generated modeling process of carving out triangular volumes from a 3d rectangular solid object. The object was progressively carved and shaved down to eliminate its visibility from the street as was stipulated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The creased and folded planes translate into the interior and are equally expressed in the ceiling of the addition.
The 22’-4” wide lot afforded the ability to plan gracious living spaces around a centralized core. The first three floors contain the townhouse’s major public spaces which spiral around this core. The cellar was extended below the garden to provide space of a generously proportioned rec room, gym, and wine cellar. Skylights embedded in the terrace below bring sunlight directly to the spaces below grade.
At the garden level, a kitchen, designed in collaboration with Henrybuilt, features silver oak clad millwork complemented with Imperial Danby Gold Marble countertop surfaces and glass and stainless steel Gaggenau appliances. Sliding doors lead from a double height informal dining space situated directly off the kitchen to a landscaped garden in the rear that is itself complete with an outdoor kitchen.
The parlor level contains both a dining room and living room with soaring 12’-10” high ceilings delineated and defined by knife-edged coves and other lighting interventions. The walls of these rooms are clad in floor to ceiling silver oak paneling giving these spaces a rich, yet cozy feel. While the public spaces flow without interruption, a discrete butler’s pantry connects to both the living and dining room. A dumbwaiter provides direct access from the kitchen pantry below to the butler’s pantry above. The living room also features a glass-enclosed fireplace as well as a wood and steel clad bridge to exterior stairs providing direct access to the rear garden below.
Connecting the public floors to the private floors above is a stair featuring a sawtooth blackened steel stringer clad top and bottom in silver oak treads. Low iron glass panel partitions maximize the visibility of the stair emphasizing its sculptural quality.
The master bedroom suite occupies the entire third floor and in addition to the previously mentioned private terrace, includes a completey fit out Henrybuilt master closet with dressing area offering direct access to the 5 fixture master bathroom. A freestanding volcanic white limestone tub sits atop a heated floor of Imperial Danby Gold Marble. The marble continues up all four walls of the bath with a simple glass partition delineating the toilet and steam shower from the rest of the bathroom.
Our design intervention involved an all-inclusive transformation of the existing building at 74 Washington Place. The confluence of restored elements with the addition of our new interventions works in concert to create a dynamic and inviting home. While every aspect of the home was considered and thoughtfully designed, enough of a blank canvas was established to allow the ultimate owner to imprint their design aesthetic and lifestyle thus creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.