SOUTH SLOPE TOWNHOUSE
Overlay Office has transformed a 19th-century townhouse in the South Slope, Brooklyn from a single-family home into three two-bedroom units. While retaining iconic historic elements of the original building, Overlay Office maximized space, natural light, and an indoor-outdoor connection throughout the space. The renovation sets itself apart by infusing both the exterior and interior with sustainable, contemporary materials and bold textures and patterns. “As our first development project, we wanted to also find innovative ways to use affordable materials. I love to use a graphic sensibility in my work with thoughtful color choices and pure geometries,” says Overlay Office founder and principal Abigail Coover.
The existing building was found in significant disrepair with evidence of multiple construction projects having taken place over the years. Overlay Office gutted the building while also preserving much of the exterior as a nod to adjacent residences and the traditional New York City townhouse typology. The historic brick wall and cornice on the front exterior were retained but updated with two shades of black paint and graphic scalloped projections—a reference to the arched windows and roofs commonly found in the neighborhood.
In an effort to subvert market-driven aesthetics, Overlay Office expanded the vocabulary of a townhouse renovation by using color, materiality, and geometry to create distinctive spatial experiences, and by applying easily accessible and sustainable materials throughout. “We sought to make budget limitations an opportunity to use familiar details, objects, and materials in creative and unexpected ways. Through the use of simple transformations of the conventional, we wanted to show that customization can be available to a broader audience,” says Coover. .
Project Team: Abigail Coover Hume, Kerry Garikes, Joanna Ptak, Scott Duillet, Emily Kanner, Nate Hume