During one family’s search for a new home, they fell in love with the suburban nature of the Upper East Side—a proximity to cultural institutions, parks, great restaurants, top-tier schools, and local community centers proving hard to resist. They landed on this four-story, 6,400-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side, originally built in 1910. It required a few substantial updates, so they called on ODA, a local New York design firm specializing in both architecture and interiors. Both the client and the design team were inspired by the neighborhood’s rowhouse style—as well as the innovation of neighboring boroughs. They tell us more. 

What can you tell us about your clients? What were their goals when hiring ODA?
Our clients are a family of six: the wife is a practicing attorney, and her husband is a partner at an investment firm, they have four children, three girls and one boy ranging from five to 16 years old. The goal was a comprehensive renovation, and to create an open and inviting atmosphere, with bedrooms for each of the kids, and space to entertain friends and family in addition to the typical family needs of a place to relax, do homework, and share meals together.

Were you inspired the Upper East Side locale, or did ODA take it in an entirely different direction?
ODA’s design is characterized by a minimalist aesthetic while preserving a connection to the Neo-Greco rowhouse charm. Rather than conforming to the conventional luxury associated with the Upper East Side neighborhood, the residence feels more like an elevated Brooklyn townhouse, exuding an earthy, welcoming, and timeless atmosphere.

The chosen color palette for this home revolves around a thoughtful blend of earthy materials, light hues, and an array of textures. Soft, muted tones contrast with the incorporation of earthy materials, such as warm wooden accents, which contribute to a harmonious aesthetic and introduce a tactile dimension through the variety of textures. Not only is the space visually expansive, but also exudes a comforting and organic ambiance. 

What were some of the challenges faced in this project?
We encountered a few challenges throughout the renovation, most significantly with small room sizes that posed limitations on both functionality and aesthetics and required thoughtful design solutions to make the most of the available space. On the first floor, we addressed the original low ceiling height by rerouting the HVAC system to maximize vertical space. On the top floor, we added a bedroom for one of the children and expanded a bathroom that two daughters would be sharing to fit a double vanity. In addressing each challenge, we sought to create a harmonious and functional layout that accommodated the family’s needs.

How long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space?
The renovation took one year. Our client said, “This really feels like MY home. ODA was able to understand what we wanted and deliver it in the most elevated way! Trusting them was the easiest thing we had to do.”