Light and Air opens the door to Z House in Brooklyn outdoors

Local studio Light and Air rendered a light-filled void in the middle of a Brooklyn townhouse as part of a major remodel and expansion project.

The house in the leafy Clinton Hill neighborhood was purchased by a family of four with roots in India, and required a complete renovation to open the spaces to the outside.

The overhaul of the Z House included a large rear extension incorporating cubic volumes clad in pale brick

“They wanted a home that showed a strong connection to nature, and featured a more seamless integration between indoors and outdoors,” said Light and Air.

The project included expanding the building by one level vertically, bringing the total number of floors to four, in addition to significantly pushing it outwards at the back.

The brick continues into the kitchen and dining area downstairs

While the historic front facade has been carefully restored, the rear elevation now appears as a contemporary stack of pale brick cube volumes.

The interior has been completely reorganized to allow sight lines between the original spaces, the new additions and the outdoors.

The oak millwork continues into the kitchen through the minimalist interiors

The most dramatic change was swapping the stacked staircase for a zigzag configuration—a similar approach the studio took in another Brooklyn townhouse in 2018.

This arrangement allows for improved visual connections between levels and gave the project its name Z House.

The remodel of the house included swapping the stacked staircase to arrange a return from the foyer level to the upper floor

In addition, a corner skylight was added above the stair void, projecting light all the way down to the lobby 40 feet (12 m) below.

“The staircase is filled with light and air, and the drama of the staircase is heightened by the placement of large windows punctuating the back facade, allowing the vertical space to open to the outside,” the studio said.

A skylight above the staircase void brings light into the home

Of the house’s four floors, the lower floors are occupied by public spaces including the kitchen, dining room, living room and media rooms.

The two upper levels are reserved for the children’s rooms and the primary suite respectively. The upper floor also accommodates a home office and provides access to the roof terrace created by the rear extension.

“This private, elevated outdoor space provides a unique local experience not typically found in most Brooklyn rowhouses,” Light and Air said.

The interiors throughout are clean and simple, with white walls, custom oak millwork, built-ins and furniture.

The upstairs primary bedroom features a custom oak bed and built-ins

The pale brick of the rear facade is also expressed within the double-height kitchen and dining area, which open onto the backyard.

“Above the garden level there is additionally a green roof that isolates sight lines from the lounge floor, creating the effect of a floating garden beyond,” said Light and Air.

The Clinton Hill House’s historic street facade was also restored as part of the renovation

The studio, founded by Anne Dibble in 2018, has completed numerous display and interior design projects throughout New York City.

These include a Brooklyn apartment that was updated and upgraded with expansive custom closets and a spiral staircase, and a loft in the Financial District where partitions were removed to create an open, inviting space.

Photography by Kevin Kunstadt.

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