April 23, 2020
Homes with history can be daunting projects to renovate; there are potential issues, features worth preserving and typically tight floor plans. Designers and founding partners Paulina Hospod and Albert Rutkowski of New York City-based AhA!nteriors were charged with updating one such historic townhouse in nearby Queens.
A Simple Black-and-White Renovation
The clients were looking for an update to their townhouse – including an open, airy and modern feel – while keeping the home’s best original features. According to Hospod, the client’s requirements were simple: a functional kitchen with more space and an open plan with the dining room.
“Our goal was to correct the tight layout and make it feel more spacious,” she said. “The clients love to cook and bake and spend time together as a family, which is why our goal was to also make it cozy and homey.”
The existing historic townhouse kitchen had a long way to go; originally it sported a small galley layout with minimal natural lighting and a narrow doorway leading into it. The design team started opening up the space by removing as much of the wall between the kitchen and dining room as they could. They could not remove this wall completely because of waste pipe risers for drainage, so they used what remained to partially hide the often-messy, apron-front sink from the dining and living area. Floating shelving, white subway tile and LED strip lighting make the wall feel more like a feature and less like a barrier.
Circling this partial wall is a peninsula with seating on the dining room end and the apron-front sink on the other. The open end of the peninsula that extends out from the partial wall provides additional countertop space, as well as multiple types of storage in the black-stained cabinetry.
“The clients came to us with a desire for two tones of cabinetry,” said Hospod. “We proposed black-stained walnut for the bottom cabinets for durability, because painted wood chips tend to show more. Typically, lower cabinets take more wear, so we painted the upper cabinets white and stained the lower ones black.”
More than a Traditional Design
The clients were looking for their master bathroom to be a fun twist on a classic look. The designers had a challenging layout to deal with first though; the toilet was just feet across from the sink, and the shower/bath combo was squeezed inches next to the same sink. In the redesigned layout, the toilet was moved next to it – which was expanded into a dual-sink vanity – and the shower/bath combo was placed next to the exterior wall and the window.
To make this tight bathroom feel a little larger and more contemporary in the historic townhouse, the team used larger 4-in. by 8-in. white subway tile on the walls and black-and-white hexagonal tile on the floors and in the shower niche. The dark tones of the floor and the teal-painted vanity are balanced by white quartz countertops and bold brass, wall-mounted sink fixtures. The result is exactly what the clients wanted: a unique take on a traditional palette.
Designers: Paulina Hospod & Albert Rutkowski, AhA!nteriors
Photographer: Paulina Hospod
Backsplash tile: Nemo Tile
Cabinets: Custom built by AhA!nteriors
Cooktop, Microwave and Oven: Bertazzoni
Faucet: California Faucets
Refrigerator: Fisher & Paykel
Faucets & Shower Controls: Watermark
Floor Tile: Somertile
Medicine Cabinets: Pottery Barn
Sconces: Hudson Valley Lighting
Toilet: Icera USA
Vanity: Custom built by AhA!nteriors
Wall Tiles: Nemo Tile