Tour a Very Innovative Townhouse Renovation in Williamsburg

Bergen Street Studio created an inside-out staircase.

Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO

Bergen Street Studio created an inside-out staircase for this Brooklyn townhouse renovation by using a vacant three-foot side yard.

Bergen Street Studio, known for its innovative renovations of townhouses, did something a little unusual with this Williamsburg building: If you look very closely at this photograph of the restored exterior (center building), you will notice that what seems to be open space between the building on the right is actually a glassed-in addition that houses the staircase. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
“We were able to use the vacant three-foot side yard that our clients owned,” Bergen Street Studio’s principal Clay Miller says. “We put the staircase out in that area, allowing the building to get wider. We restored the original front façade, and then in the back [shown here] we were unrepentantly modern.” All that glass makes a big difference in terms of the rooms inside, giving them that much more light and breathing room. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
Inside, the walls have fallen away for open space, and a vertical green wall, courtesy of Verdant Gardens, climbs up two stories, a bit of which is shown here on the right. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The kitchen features a polished concrete working and dining island, designed by Bergen Street Studio and fabricated by Remik from Concrete Shop in Jersey City. The overhead light is from Roll & Hill and the appliances are from Sub-Zero and Wolf. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The wood-paneled kitchen wall is a lovely surprise and creates a rustic bookend. The wood on the wall was sourced by Josef Gotsch from Innsbruck Renovations. The floors were done by Exquisite Surfaces. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
“The green wall emphasizes the verticality of the space,” Miller says. The southern exposure also helps the modular plants, pictured here, thrive. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The open plan of the parlor floor is visible here. The décor was done by Katch I.D. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The third floor encompasses the couple’s master suite, which includes a hanging fireplace on one end from a Canadian company, CF+D, and more of the beautiful salvaged wood sourced by Gotsch. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The master bedroom gets maximum light from the floor-to-ceiling glass wall, which wraps around the corner, making such a difference in opening up the space. The floor-to-ceiling curtains further enhance the height of the nine-foot ceiling. The bed is from Katch I.D. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The open master bath features an Agape Spoon XL bathtub floating on a concrete floor. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The green wall makes it feel like summer all year long. A glass panel at the end of the second-floor den provides a view toward the new brick wall. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
The back garden on two levels, also landscaped by Verdant Gardens, mixes wood and stone flooring; bamboo reinforces the garden walls. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
“The building was in dire shape,” Miller says before the renovation started. “There was also a massive, several-thousand-pound boulder, where our client wanted the gym,” Miller says. Instead of blasting the rock out, which would have created obvious problems for the neighbors, they used an expanding compound injected into the rock that caused it to crack so that it could be removed piece by piece. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
A perfect view of the Williamsburg Bridge from the rooftop deck. Photo: Frank Oudeman/OTTO
Tour a Very Innovative Townhouse Renovation in Brooklyn