Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence 4,500-9,999 Square Feet – Judge’s Merit: Excellence in Historic Detail –
Firm: Bruce Kading Interior Design
Designer(s): Bruce Kading, ASID, Lindy Luopa, Allied ASID, Eric Kaufmann, Allied ASID, and Team
Project Name: City Brownstone Whole House
When a client acquired a historic 1855 five-story townhouse in New York, he commissioned the interior designer to restore it to its original glory while adding today’s conveniences. Design challenges were numerous, as the original façade, cornice and stoop had been removed and replaced in the 1950s. The narrow building had also been chopped up into individual apartments, which were dark and dilapidated with sagging floors. Most of the original moldings, fireplaces and chandeliers had been removed. Design objectives included adding a penthouse, an elevator, a library and a new sub-basement with a steam room, vault and wine cellar, bringing light into the tall, narrow structure, showcasing the client’s collection of antique tall case clocks, creating a functional kitchen with an intimate space for dining, and adding powder rooms to every floor. Working with the local historic preservation commission, the designer used 19th century photos of the townhouse to restore the façade, cornice and stoop. Interior design challenges included gutting the rooms, reinforcing and replacing floor joists and replacing the hardwood flooring. Design solutions included copying the original living room woodwork and repeating it throughout the first floor, using original molds to recreate plaster moldings and dividing the long entry hall with a series of elegant arches. The new kitchen features a pewter-topped island, a farm sink with a mirrored tile back splash to reflect more light, a decorative painted pantry and a 1736 French fireback above the stove. The designer found 19th century antique fireplaces for the bedrooms and sourced antique chandeliers, sconces, brass pilasters and other details from salvage companies in New York. The designer also discovered an original 1855 fresco hidden behind a mirror and brought in a museum conservator to restore and stabilize the work of art. Throughout the house, well-worn Persian rugs—many almost threadbare—add warmth and character to the rooms. During the installation, it took seven men and an entire day to hang the breathtaking custom chandelier over the circular staircase and a crane to place a generator on the seventh floor behind the penthouse!