Elizabeth Roberts is a favourite here at est hq when it comes to stylish, elegant New York homes. With an eye for detail and an appetite for bringing historic homes thoughtfully into the modern era, Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design have shown their expertise several times over (explore our previous features on the New York Brownstone and Brooklyn Home projects).
This three bedroom Williamsburg townhouse continues the studios’ expertise in transforming traditional homes for contemporary living – in this case, pulling up (almost) everything and starting again. While this Brooklyn townhouse was in a prime position it was also in a state of disrepair; almost everything was going to need to be replaced. Cleverly, Roberts and her team decided to repurpose a standout feature of the original home – the wood joists of the top level – while stripping back, replacing and updating the remaining features of the home. Now fit for a family of four, this is a home that wears its history well, without sacrificing modern comforts.
The renovation was significant to say the least: every wall, ceiling, star, floor and window of the house was replaced, while new heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical were installed. The sole remaining feature – the wood joists – were exposed on the first floor with insulation added to the underside of the floors above, creating a loft-like aesthetic. New floors made from reclaimed wood add to the rustic feel of the home, particularly when pared with the exposed beams of the living and dining spaces.
Having studied historical preservation before starting her architecture and design practice, Roberts has a clear understanding of balancing traditional and contemporary elements. The open living and dining space is divided by the a custom steel and solid wood tread stair, while new patio doors give a glimpse of the garden at the rear of the building. The aged details of the floors, beams and stairs balance nicely with the industrial finishes of the home, including the steel frame of the stairs and ceramic pendant lights of the kitchen.
Furnishings continue to strike a balance between a classic and character-filled aesthetic; pairing Moroccan rugs, vintage ornaments and statement design pieces like Eero Saarinen’s Tulip table with simple cabinets, bench tops and tiling. While Roberts and her team have an eye for the eclectic, this is an interior that is still affordable, sourcing durable yet modest finishes that will stand the test of time.
As both a dividing feature of the open-plan ground floor and an aesthetic element, the new staircase features heavy wood treads, a thick steel base and steel balustrades and handrails. Above the stairs on the top floor, a skylight opens up the top of the home to drench the space in natural light.
Don’t let the relaxed style fool you – a combination of timeless pieces and eclectic touches strike just the right balance for a modern New York home.