A Spring-Friendly Renovation w/ Essential Design + Build

by Shera Nuss

A fresh start in a Summer St. home

Spring is in the air — a time for the fresh and the new! So, with Spring in mind, we have a fresh renovation from one of Sweeten’s newest members. Essential Design + Build is a full-concept, design-to-execution firm based in Manhattan. Last year, Essential finished up a full restoration & renovation of this 3,960 sqft single-family home in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens. The home was originally built in the 1920’s and hadn’t been updated since 1970 before its new owners brought in the team at Essential. The firm’s president, Rich Hiler, and architectural designer, Alison Lang, gave us the full details of their Summer St. home renovation; here are some of our favorite highlights of the finished project.

home renovation forest hills queens

The renovated home is abundant with traditional elements such as built-ins, window seats, and crown moldings, but a modern palette of fixtures, furnishings, color & pattern give the space a distinctly 21st century feel (–it didn’t surprise us to learn that the homeowner is actually an interior designer!). Here in the family room, monochromatic walls in Benjamin Moore hue black pepper are a neutral base for an eclectic mix of furnishings & fixtures. Among our favorites are a pair of Artemide’s miconos sconces at the window seat, and a round marble-top table by Draenert.

home renovation forest hills queens

The home’s new design was intended to maintain the integrity of its original 1920’s arts & crafts interior, while also updating the architecture to be more open & modern. Looking at this opening to the kitchen, subtle differences in the detailing indicate where the traditional and modern elements meet.

home renovation forest hills queens

We love the new kitchen — the design here was inspired in part by a photo the homeowner provided of Julia Child’s Boston kitchen. Without becoming a literal translation of the image, the inspiration lead to a slightly 1970’s vibe in the very modern space. The monochromatic scheme in the adjacent family room also continues into the custom kitchen. Other highlights are the David Hicks wallpapered ceiling (a nod to the homeowner’s living room rug by the same designer) and the topan vp6 pendant lamps by &tradition.

home renovation forest hills queens

Upstairs, Essential built a sitting area and dressing room that compliment the master bedroom’s sleeping quarters. The dressing room is outfitted in full with beautifully designed & executed, custom built-ins.

home renovation forest hills queens

Like the detailing downstairs, the built-ins showcase a modern play on traditional design & craft.

home renovation forest hills queens

In the master bathroom, the flooring is a traditional white penny tile with black penny tile accent. Walls are tiled in Saarinen-inspired Echo tile from Waterworks in ‘clear day’ with black accents. The project architect, Daniel Flebut, custom designed the vanity with ‘white zeus extreme’ countertops, as well as the flush, mirrored medicine cabinets.

home renovation forest hills queens

Another bathroom in the home features a very similar design, but if you look closely, you can find the differences!

We can’t wait to see more from our new friends at Essential Design + Build — many thanks to Alison, Rich & their team for sharing this unique renovation!

Ready for a Spring remodel? Post your project to Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors.

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