February 5, 2015

A Brooklyn Heights Home is Transformed by Architect Coty Sidnam

Architect Coty Sidnam transforms a 19th-century Brooklyn townhouse into a vibrant dwelling full of art and artfully chosen furniture.

by Arlene Hirst interior designer SPG Architects photographer Peter Murdock architecture SPG Architects


A London-based expat couple seeking a new stateside home discovered a landmarked 19th-century townhouse on the historic streets of Brooklyn Heights. While the duo loved the dwelling's bones, they needed to reshape it to their own needs. For that they turned to New York-based SPG Architects, with whom they had worked on two previous projects. Originally constructed in 1836, the five-story structure still had its 19th-century detailing intact. SPG partner and project architect Caroline Sidnam, who prefers to be known as Coty, kept almost all of it, including the stately façade. To bring the interior into the 21st century, she used a vibrant color palette and an array of artfully chosen modern furnishings.

A floral wallpaper instills a sense of calm in the powder room.

The transformation began in the entryway on the parlor floor, a dramatic welcome to the house thanks to the jolt of color provided by the Paul Smith carpeting covering the stair treads. To create the expansive living room to the right of the stairs, Sidnam removed the pocket doors that had previously divided the space. She furnished one section of the room with sensuously curved sofas and chairs, the other with contrasting linear ones-a solution suggested by the homeowners, who were actively involved in every aspect of the project.

The dining room had previously cohabited with the living room on the parlor floor, but the homeowners insisted that they wanted the kitchen and dining area in the same place. The logical solution? Take over the lower level. Sidnam did, removing all the existing partitions to create a spacious, inviting multi-function area that looks out onto the newly installed garden. An arresting chandelier, assembled with individual pendants from Niche Lighting, provides illumination and stars as a dramatic centerpiece. Beneath it, Arthur Casas' "Triangular" dining table supplies a warm gathering place. The custom chesterfield sofa, in a resplendent turquoise, is from Avery Boardman.

Two stories above, Sidnam combined two bedrooms to create a commanding master suite. It's the only room in the house with curtains at the window-made from embroidered silk-the rest have simple solar or blackout shades. The owners installed their mid-century reclining chaise lounge to capture the view.

Throughout, the couple installed their cherished art collection. That's coming home.