Workbook: Making Every Inch Count

Teak accents abound in a Manhattan apartment renovated and reimagined by Tirmizi Campbell. Image courtesy Tirmizi Campbell.

Doing a lot with a little. For architects tasked with remodeling small New York apartments, that’s the battle cry. And it’s the approach Asifa Tirmizi, of Tirmizi Campbell, took when she set out to revamp a couple’s pied-à-terre in an historic Manhattan building. The residents wanted something clean and contemporary—with a few rustic touches in a nod to the wife’s equestrian bent—and were referred on to Tirmizi’s firm, which had completed renovations for several other residents.

“They had a wish list,” says Tirmizi. “They wanted an open kitchen, a renovated bathroom and exposed brick,” to name a few requests, although a wholesale reconfiguration wasn’t possible. For the kitchen, Tirmizi and her team dramatically rethought the layout, pulling out a low wall so that it now flows into the main lower level living space. Counter space, always at a premium in these apartments, has been expanded, in part because the architects opted for an under-counter refrigerator. For additional storage, custom teak cabinets now line the wall beneath the stair.

The bedroom received its own makeover, so it’s  light and airy. While the clients had wanted exposed brick, it turned out to be in rough shape. Instead, it got a coat of white paint, which looks fresh and inviting. For the door, a sliding barn-style one was chosen. On a polished metal track, it’s a blend of sophistication and rusticity that plays perfectly in the apartment.

Upstairs, the loft space got a makeover of its own. The stair leading up to it became less of a ladder and more of a proper stair—despite remaining the same size. With an open wood and cable system in place, it reads as of a piece with the apartment rather than afterthought. The cabinetry above, too, matches that found below. With its new design, what was once a landing spot for weekends, now “feels like a proper residence,” notes Tirmizi.

 

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