Casey and Kumar’s Clinton Hill Co-op Renovation

Movable walls create a multi-functional home

What is in the water over at the Clinton Hill Co-ops?! Really amazing things are happening in that Brooklyn enclave of twelve 1940s towers. We’re back for a preview of a deeply thoughtful and personal renovation that has allowed a family of four to make a one-bedroom apartment work in ways that might make you think differently about your home.

living room

Before buying, Casey, a designer and artist, and Kumar, a designer, talked at length about the classic conundrum that so many young NYC families face. Moving out of the City seemed like the only obvious option for finding a home that they could afford and that would have enough space for all of the work and play they wanted to do.

But as they eyed floor plans of the Clinton Hill Co-ops, a different route began to take shape. The couple realized that the building’s original design was actually quite accommodating to different arrangements. With only one central structural element and a wall of south-facing windows, an unassuming little one bedroom just might offer them surprisingly flexible layout options.

They wanted to stay in the city, they really wanted to ensure that the wall of windows was uninterrupted throughout the shared living space, and they really really wanted to think about the space in the context of its origins and history. With these guiding principles top of mind, they began their first husband and wife design collaboration to re-create the apartment in a way that is both highly innovative but also contextual. The pair posted their project on Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted contractors. They were introduced to a Sweeten general contractor to manage the renovations in each room and fit in multiple uses throughout. Here is a peek at the very technical solution they brought to the living room that paved the way for what is now an amazingly creative and vibrant space.

flexible space

Flexible space

Flexible space

I loved hearing from Casey and Kumar about how close examination of the routines and patterns in their daily lives led to seemingly unconventional decisions that now seem so natural. Their sons (Luc, 2, and River, 4) need quiet when they go off to bed early each night. This suggested the use of the master bedroom as the nursery and the need to fit Casey and Kumar’s bed into the main living area where they spend the majority of their time together after dinner. Their design for a disappearing bedroom — including a wall of custom millwork that deploys a pull-down bed, surrounded by retracting walls—allowed them to trade in square footage otherwise devoted solely to sleep for more play space and workspace and entertaining space.

The transformable architecture is intentionally not the star of the show—but rather a specialized space-making solution designed to disappear.

Check out the family’s full Sweeten renovation on the rest of this beautiful space—a stunning kitchen, a classic bathroom, and a multi-use living and dining room. More from Clinton Hill soon!

Sweeten handpicks contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project on Sweeten.

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