Barker Freeman overhauls narrow Brooklyn row house for a family of four

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US firm Barker Freeman Design Office has renovated a slender brick row house in Brooklyn and added a two-storey extension with a glass wall overlooking a garden (+ slideshow).

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

Called the 12 Foot Wide Rowhouse, the project entailed the refurbishment of a 12-foot-wide (3.6 metres), four-storey residential building.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

The firm completely gutted the dwelling, which dates to the late 19th century.

"We were approached by the clients, who are married professionals with two young children, to create an open, flowing living space that feels expansive despite the narrow dimensions," said Barker Freeman Design Office, also known as BFDO.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

"This 12-foot-wide row house for a family of four organises life on four narrow but light-filled levels," said the studio.



In addition to the renovation, the firm created a two-storey addition at the rear of the house, with a shopfront-style glass wall that overlooks a small yard.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

"The clients liked the idea that the back of the house would be streamlined and modern, and they wanted to maximise the light that would enter the space," said the team.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

The rectilinear addition is clad in cement on the upper level and wood on the ground floor.

An elevated patio features a spiral metal staircase that leads down to the garden, which is bordered by a wooden fence.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

Inside, the studio preserved historic details wherever possible, including the original vestibule door, exposed brick walls and wood flooring.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

At the centre of the dwelling, the firm removed an unstable staircase and inserted a new one made of wood and steel.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

Wooden slats enclose the stairwell and help visually connect various parts of the home.

"A new open switchback stair located at the centre of the footprint sets up a dialogue between the spaces in the front and the rear," the studio said.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

The basement level contains a family room, an au pair's suite, and a sizeable mudroom.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

The first storey features a sitting room with built-in shelving and an expansive kitchen and dining area.

The kitchen is fitted with white cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and a light blue splash back.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

On the second floor, the architect created a simple master suite with a study that leads to a rooftop deck. The original fireplace mantel was retained and painted white.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

The third level contains two bedrooms for children and a shared bathroom with blue tiling.

The home is furnished with a mix of contemporary and vintage decor.

Brooklyn Rowhouse by Barker Freeman

Brooklyn-based BFDO is run by Alexandra Barker and Reid Freeman, both of whom earned architectural degrees from Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

Other residential projects in Brooklyn include a tiny retreat built in an architect's backyard and a townhouse clad in corrugated-metal sheeting.

Photography is by Francis Dzikowski.


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Project credits:

Architect: BFDO/Barker Freeman Design Office
Structural engineer: Zaki Albanna
Contractor: CK Construction