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In Brooklyn, an ultra-narrow house is transformed into a chic family home

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Small space done right

Courtesy Rafael Gamo

New Yorkers are no strangers to creating palatable living arrangements in small spaces; recall, for instance, the 90-square-foot apartment that one West Village resident calls home. But living in an ultra-narrow space presents its own set of unique challenges, particularly when it needs to house more than just one or two people.

This was the problem faced by the Brooklyn couple who call this 1,000-square-foot, 11-foot-wide townhouse home; while the (relatively) small house worked for them for close to a decade, the lack of space became an issue as their family grew, and grew up.

Interior photos courtesy Matthew Williams.

But rather than moving, the couple brought on the firm Office of Architecture to transform the home, adding space by expanding upward—onto the roof, which now houses a master bedroom—and down into the basement, where an “urban mudroom” is now situated.

As the firm notes, “every inch was important” when redesigning the house. On the first floor, for instance, floor-to-ceiling built-ins accommodate the family’s collection of books, while a nook built into the unit provides seating without sacrificing storage space.

Elsewhere, like in the kitchen, open storage was used in pursuit of the “effective yet frugal” use of space; clean lines and bright whites (materials used include Carrara marble and subway tile) lend an open, airy feeling.

Perhaps the coolest addition is the rooftop master suite, which has its own en-suite bathroom, along with a balcony and a terrace. The structure housing the bedroom is covered in walnut, and is a seamless addition to the existing home. Suddenly, living in such a narrow space doesn’t seem like such a challenge.