The four story townhouse at 67 Charles is situated on a charming tree lined block in the heart of the original Greenwich Village Historic District. Originally constructed as one of a series of three rowhouses in 1867, the front facade has remained relatively unchanged throughout the building’s history, but the interior had seen several renovations throughout the years which were less than kind to its historic bones. Historic details including base and crown mouldings, a ceiling medallion, and fireplace mantles throughout the house had managed to survive. These historic elements were very dear to the clients, yet they also recognized the value of contemporary space planning, details, and amenities. Their design directive to TCA was twofold: to preserve these historic elements, yet create a dialogue between these preserved elements and a decidedly contemporary envelope; and to create a functioning layout complete with modern amenities that would serve the family into the future.
In response, TCA created an architectural language to highlight the moments where old and new would interact. Original base and crown mouldings appear to pass through glass entry vestibules at both the garden and parlor levels. Recessed metal reveals encircle the perimeter of preserved fireplace mantles demarcating old and new. A modern chandelier is juxtaposed against a restored and relocated ceiling medallion. Door jambs lined in non-directional stainless steel discreetly celebrate the use of contemporary reveals, without diminishing the texture and finesse that the owners so cherished in the preserved original mouldings.
From a space planning point of view, the original warren of interior rooms was completely gutted to create a simplified layout of large spaces at the front and rear facades with a stair and elevator anchoring a service core in the center. The existing cellar which had an unusable 6'-0" head clearance was excavated to create a very useable 10'-0" ceiling height. Additionally, the garden was excavated within five feet of the rear lot line to create additional living space at the cellar level. A new landscaped garden and terrace is built atop a recreational room below and the space is graciously filled with light from four flush structural glass paver skylights above.
From the finest detail to the more extensive plan and volume interventions, the new home demonstrates how old and new can complement and enhance one another.