Downsizing in the City

Downsizing from the old family home, the owners vetoed the notion of a condominium lifestyle, and instead opted for something completely different. We were approached with the question, “Can we still live downtown, with easy access from the home out to a garden, without sacrificing living space or sunlight?”

This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to create brand-new spaces within the shell of a Depression-era apartment building. The owners had a few essential needs: ground-floor access from the street; a generously-proportioned space for entertaining, animated by a fireplace; lots of wall area for mounting their collection of artwork; a kitchen design maximizing functionality, with easy access to Pantry storage; bedrooms on both the ground and second floors served by their own respective bathrooms. And, should the stairs ever become a burden to use, an elevator shaft was roughed-in to access all floors, disguised on each level as a large walk-in closet until such time as the system should be activated.

We gutted the building and replaced the plaster-and-lath interior with a superinsulated cocoon. Windows and mechanicals were updated. Radiant flooring was installed in all bathrooms. Sound insulation within walls and floors brought tranquility. Northern Wide Plank’s hardwood flooring was laid throughout, creating a warm background to the pale walls and ceilings. We custom-built a home office in which telescoping glass doors close off the workspace from the bedroom beyond. The grandchildren get their own skylit bedroom, overlooking the garden.

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