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A Pared-Down Beauty, at Last

A long-awaited renovation of a Prospect Heights prewar apartment brings in the light.

The living room. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The living room. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO

The three-bedroom in Prospect Heights was dimly lit and, in keeping with prewar apartments, divided into many rooms. Owners Angie Lee and Alex Lencicki knew they would have to renovate at some point. They bought the place in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the dated galley kitchen triggered the work. Through friends, they met architect Sarah Jacoby, who, before starting her own practice five years ago, had worked for Adjaye Associates, SOM, and Rogers Marvel Architects. But a gut renovation was not on the table. “They have two kids,” Jacoby says. “So they very much wanted to keep rooms; they weren’t interested in blowing it all out. They didn’t want a big open plan.”

Strategic changes, however, can make a huge difference. “There was a lot of molding that we took off the bay window,” Jacoby says of the living room, seen above. “We reframed it and reclad it with plywood so that it felt brighter.”

In the living room, a wall that had been in line with the column came down and the original patched and stained dark-walnut floors were refinished to one cohesive plane in a paler hue. The custom work throughout the apartment, including the bookshelves here, were done by Gaudioso Contracting. The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Sunporch and Snowfall White. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The formerly closed-off galley kitchen was totally updated and is now open to the dining room with West Elm’s Linear Wood Pendant light over the counter done in White Macuba from ABC Stone. The cabinets are from Ikea, with custom Semihandmade doors in walnut and supermatte. The faucet is from Grohe and the stainless-steel fridge is from LG. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The grid of wall panels in the dining room conceals storage space. “It’s filled with kids’ crafts and pretty china,” says Jacoby. “It has everything in it.” The storage wall is from Ikea with Semihandmade’s supermatte doors, and the light fixture is a Brayden Studio Cybill Chandelier. An Eames rocker in baby blue is always a treat for the eye. The table is from Crate & Barrel. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The children share a room with beds from Crate & Barrel and easy clip-on lights from Ikea. The triangles, painted gold, add a festive touch. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
“That little powder room was really unusable,” Jacoby says of the tiny, formerly claustrophobic space. She turned it into a workable wet room clad in subway tile, with a Purist shower fixture from Kohler and floor tile of Black Somertile. The sink is from Duravit, and the mirror is from Ikea. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The master bedroom has new closet space and is drenched in the only dark color in the apartment, Benjamin Moore’s Cheating Heart. The wall light is Prouve’s Potence Lamp, the armchair is Room and Board’s Braden Chair, and the side table is Flying Tiger’s Cardboard Stool. Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
The entryway has been simplified and brightened up to include a new closet with sliding pegboard-covered doors. “That was my favorite custom piece we did,” Jacoby says of the closet. “I love that New York City door in the back. We were constrained in the entry but still wanted to make a bit of a statement there, so it looks like their house and not just another apartment in the row.” Photo: Ty Cole/OTTO
A Long-Awaited Renovation That Brings in the Light