Though it’s tough to believe looking at it now, this one- bedroom condo in a historic building on the Brooklyn waterfront was once a dated ‘man cave.’
Sometimes, the perfect home is right in front of you, but it can be difficult to see. Case in point: this contemporary, sun-filled studio in Brooklyn. Sure, it required a total renovation, but that’s where JAM—a multidisciplinary architecture and interiors studio— came in.
This post-industrial loft apartment is in a 1914 Williamsburg waterfront building that was originally designed by Cass Gilbert, architect of Manhattan’s Woolworth Building. JAM’s clients—newlyweds, but friends from grade school—were on the hunt for a bigger place, despite the husband owning this one for years. “The one bedroom ‘man cave,’ complete with a mini home recording studio, was nearly written off by the couple,” reports Megan Prime, JAM’s co-founder and principal. “They knew they needed more space as they were combining all their worldly possessions and had actually started looking for a townhouse before we met. Beyond just fitting all their stuff into an apartment, it was definitely a dream of theirs to have a home where they genuinely enjoyed spending time, whether working from home or cooking dinners. Before our complete rework of the floor plan and the renovation, neither task was enjoyable.”
The JAM team took things down to the studs and structural concrete slabs. “This helped us to completely reimagine and open up the space while still incorporating ample storage opportunities without it looking busy or cluttered.” Megan explains. “With such a small amount of square footage, it wasn’t 100 percent apparent at the onset how we were going to make the space feel larger.” But once in the design phase, they discovered tons of unused space hiding around the structural columns. “We were able to tuck storage into all sorts of places that the clients didn’t even know existed,” she says.
They also needed to maximize the feeling of space and light. “Given the small footprint, we understood that achieving these things would require a simple materials palette, including the accent materials,” Megan explains. “To offset the minimalistic style and clean lines of the architecture, we added a good dose of texture and sculptural shapes via our lighting and furniture selections.”
The renovation took roughly a year from design through construction. “It was quite a challenge even for the contractor to work in such a small space while executing the design with his signature high degree of craftsmanship,” Megan recalls. “Our clients were overjoyed with the end result; they absolutely love spending time at home now and even have storage space to spare!”