Project name:

Bed-Stuy Brownstone

Project description:

Opera-Studio Architecture designed the renovation of a traditional Brooklyn Brownstone with Urban Elephant as the general contractor ( This renovation is a two-family dwelling with a renter’s unit at the basement. The design intent was to retain the character and detail of the traditional townhouse while upgrading it with new systems from the inside out. The scope of work included leveling and replacing the floors, restoring and replacing interior woodwork, designing new interior kitchens and bathrooms, integrating new mechanical and plumbing work, replacing exterior windows and doors, restoring the exterior façade, and proposing a new exterior garden space at front/ rear yard with a new Parlour terrace. The scope work required landmarks and department of buildings (DOB) approval.

An important aspect of the design process was surveying and identifying key features to retain throughout the house. During the pre-construction and demolition phase, an evaluation of the original woodwork and ornaments was conducted, preserving all those which remained in good condition. Throughout the construction process, special care was taken to work around the existing remaining woodwork, especially at the stairs and fireplaces.  While the stair allows for the visual connection between the floors, the fireplace is the centerpiece of the rooms. The basement bedroom, Parlour level living room and third floor bedrooms maintained their fireplace. The second fireplace located at the parlor floor was relocated to the 2nd floor study, which was devoid of fireplaces. A particular effort was made in maintaining the character of the original fireplace, which had a distinctive use of mosaic tile at the hearth and at the fireplace surround. The selected mosaic tile from Mosaic House located in New York City, are reminiscent of those initially found in the house. Carefully hand crafted in Morocco, the design offers a contemporary and timeless feel through the more abstract tile design.

The Kitchens were a moment of new design expression. The kitchen, despite the contemporary feel of the clean linear shelves and cabinets, negotiates the traditional feel of the house by maintaining a similar tone in wood to that of the wood casing/ trims found in the house. On the Parlour floor the base cabinets are reminiscent of the commonly found wainscot and would be stained to match existing wood work, while using very simple and clean flush inset cabinets with a linear cabinet pull.  On the Basement level, for the renters unit the dark stained white oak weaves in and out of the proposal, acting as both part of the entrance threshold and kitchen backsplash. The lacquer white painted cabinets offer a simple and clean design.

(For more information check out our blog ‘A (Not So) Typical Brownstone Renovation’ :



Before and After Images