A close-knit block in Boerum Hill was rocked in July 2000 when a gas explosion leveled a three-story townhouse at 420 State Street. After the rubble was cleared, the lot sat vacant for nearly a decade, until architect Ben Hansen and his wife Christine purchased it in 2009. Eschewing the look of the traditional brick-faced houses that line the block, Hansen created a decidedly modern four-story home and welcomed the public to see the space during this year's Dwell/New York Magazine City Modern house tours. Most homes center around the parlor-level entertaining spaces and place the cooking area on a lower floor, but Hansen designed his house to "emanate from" the kitchen. Knowing that contemporary families, like his own, tend to gather the most in this room, Hansen created a large, open parlor floor, shared by the kitchen and living spaces.
Natural light permeates every room of the house thanks to large windows and an open layout. Even the stairs are open so sunlight coming through the wall of windows along the rooftop garden filters through to lower levels. In keeping with bringing the outside in, every level incorporates greenery. The kitchen overlooks a backyard, which can be accessed from a spiral staircase or through the ground floor play room. On the roof, Hansen created a vegetable garden using steel watering troughs that double as rainwater cisterns.
The children share the second floor, where the open layout connects the bedrooms and bathroom, and the master suite occupies the third floor. Hansen designed and built many pieces of the furniture himself, including the walnut master bed, the desk in the parlor, the bookshelves in the study, and the marble vanity in the master bathroom.
· 420 State Street coverage [Curbed]
· City Modern tours: State Street Townhouse [official]
· Ben Hansen Architect [official]