Preserving the architectural heritage of our cities has taken on a new significance in recent years, and historic neighborhoods, such as Manhattan's Greenwich Village, are clearly reaping the rewards.
This townhouse in the West Village caught the eye of new owners, who had been planning and dreaming about the perfect home for several years. But it was the location, size and potential that attracted the couple, rather than the interior.
Architect Jane Sachs of HS2 Architecture, who was commissioned to design the renovation, says that at some time in the past the house had been torn apart and put back together badly.
"There was nothing worth saving inside," she says. "We gutted the entire house, leaving just the front facade and two party walls standing. Even the floors had to be replaced."
Sachs says the townhouse is in a heritage district, so every part of the project had to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This also meant the front facade needed to replicate the original house, as it would have looked in 1828. Even the color of the front door was subject to approval.
"The new white-painted double-hung windows were modeled on the originals. We were able to save the steel lintels, but these were refurbished and repainted. We also reintroduced shutters, which had been removed at some stage. "
On the inside, however, the focus was on creating a home well suited to modern living. Maximizing the available light was a priority, especially as natural light can enter only from the front and rear.