Tribeca Citizen | Peeping Loft: 31 Harrison Street Townhouse
A press release for the renovation of 31 Harrison, one of the 1820s Federal-style townhouses on the south side of Harrison extending west from Greenwich, crashed in my Google Alerts, and Chelsea-based architect Matthew Rauch was good to get back to me And fill me in on the project. (Architects rarely do this!)
The architects moved the kitchen to the front of the house, opening up the rest of the floor to create a more generous open space for living and dining; creating a game room in the loft space below the roof deck (a hallmark of the Federal-style townhouse); And renovate bathrooms with kids in mind, adding sinks, vanities, and kid-friendly decor.
This from Matthew: “The original listing for the house is actually here. It was renovated in the early 2000s by an architect whose work I admire (Stephen Harris). The renovation was nice and contemporary, but it didn’t work for a family. I think the previous owner was a photographer The house was prepared for him and his work.
“In old photos, you’ll see how there was a gorgeous little rosewood bar with a small sink that basically served as the main kitchen for the space. It looked great, but the new owners were wondering, ‘Where are we going to put a microwave for baby food?’ Where are we going to store sippy cups? Upstairs is an open studio in the vaulted ceiling space, with cork floors, so we had to make the whole space softer, more durable and kid-friendly.
“The goal of our renovation was to make the space fit more into the historic character of the house and neighborhood. We didn’t want it to look like an art gallery. We removed the plaster from the chimneys to expose the original brickwork. We added trim and moldings to make it look a little more historic. Our kitchen was renovated with paneling on Shaker shape with natural maple wood to add some classic character and charm. (The hardware came from Royal Green whose showroom is on Broadway.)
“The house was renovated at the height of the supply chain crisis, so we had to change several materials (tiles, appliances) during the trip due to long wait times. Also, the building is almost 200 years old, so no surface was completely flat. We have to plan basically all of our millwork and cutting details to account for not having perfectly flat surfaces.
The townhouse was once located on Washington Street, when Washington was that way, and was moved to Harrison in the 1960s when much of those buildings were cleared for what would become IPN.