A Resourceful NYC Renovation Modernizes a Pre-War Apartment

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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.

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Living Room
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Living Room

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.

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Kitchen
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Kitchen

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.

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Office
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Office

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

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Master Bedroom
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Master Bedroom

"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.

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Bathroom
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Bathroom

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.

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Kid's Room
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Kid's Room

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

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Kid's Room
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Kid's Room

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


Elizabeth Stamp is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and CNN Style.

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