A Resourceful NYC Renovation Modernizes a Pre-War Apartment

Photos by Alyssa Kirsten

Renovating a family home often means finding a balance between fostering togetherness and allowing for privacy. And that's exactly the type of challenge architect Lauren Rubin faced when she was hired to help one navigate the renovation of a pre-war apartment in Manhattan. The owners, a young couple with two children, were determined to transform their address's quirky layout in a way that would make everyone happy — including the building's conservative co-op board. "There is great history in this apartment, and we paired the pre-war details with modern interventions that are appropriate for the space," Rubin said. Her first priority was giving the entire home a more open and airy aesthetic, but because of building restrictions, Rubin had to work with the existing architecture. She refurbished the doors and floors, and later brought in a neutral palette accented with rich textures and sculptural lighting. Then, Rubin individualized areas for each member of the family: she created whimsical and colorful bedrooms for the son and daughter, and a tranquil master suite for their parents. Now, the property's longstanding elements are in tune with a 21st-century family.

Living Room
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credit: Alyssa Kirsten

A light fixture by Apparatus Studio serves as a sculptural centerpiece in the living room. Rubin added custom shelving to display books, family photos, and other treasures.

Dining Room
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The dining area, which is illuminated by a McLain Wiesand chandelier, opens onto the living room and kitchen.

Kitchen
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The kitchen was transformed with painted wood cabinets, a Calacatta gold marble backsplash, white oak floors, and Caesarstone countertops. The appliances were also updated with a Wolf range, a Sub Zero refrigerator, and a Miele vent hood.

Office
credit: Alyssa Kirsten

A small niche was turned into a workspace with built-in storage and colorful wallpaper.

Master Bedroom
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"The parents wanted a master bedroom that was their own oasis with wonderful closet space and a zen-like bathroom," Rubin noted. Visual Comfort sconces and lacquered nightstands from Anthropologie add a hint of sparkle to the calm palette.

Bathroom
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The walls of the master bathroom are sheathed in Artistic Tile glass mosaic tiles, while the Kohler tub is bordered by Dolomiti marble from Stone Source.

Kid's Room
credit: Alyssa Kirsten

The son had the smallest bedroom, so Rubin gave it personality using bright wall colors and graphic carpet tiles.

Kid's Room
credit: Alyssa Kirsten

For the daughter's room, Rubin chose pretty shades of pink and subtle patterns to accompany the architectural headboard.

Kid's Bathroom
credit: Alyssa Kirsten

A whimsical wallpaper from Brewster Home Fashions perks up the daughter's powder room.