Hicks Street Residence


Photos: Copyright Francis Dzikowski/Esto

Several years ago I completed a complex renovation of two apartments at 187 Hicks. The broker who had later sold those renovated units recommended me to the buyer of a different unit on the sixth floor. My new client was a single attorney in his early forties who had grown up and gone to law school in Brooklyn. He was attracted to 187 Hicks, a seven story limestone and brick building located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic district, because of its old world charm and its central location. However, the apartment was in severe disrepair, having not been renovated in half a century. There were serious structural problems including sagging floors and ceilings with cracked joists. The windows were broken and non-functioning.

The entire apartment was gut renovated. The landmarked curved windows were replaced in kind. The design was predicated upon maintaining the existing historical shell while inserting a new modernist interior that would complement my client’s extensive holdings of mid-century modern furniture.

My client’s first requests sounded like directions to create a high end “man cave.” The initial vision included exposed ductwork, black countertops, and lots of teak. But during the course of the renovation my client became engaged, then married, and now a father-to-be. The addition of his wife softened and brightened the project and brought it more into line with my aesthetic preferences. We kept the teak paneling, installed a bleached floor, and changed the countertops to white – all in an effort to bring natural light deep into the space and to serve as a showcase for mid-century furniture.

The existing cellular three-bedroom apartment was converted into a spacious two-bedroom with a free plan. The space recovered from the deleted bedroom was transformed to an open library/media lounge that, when combined with the kitchen and entry area, becomes an urban great room and a hinge from the more public spaces to the more private ones. 

This project was featured in dwell magazine. Check out the article here.