There are several challenges facing an architect while working on a recently built (aka post-war) building. The apartments are smaller than those of the previous era. In that respect, most support spaces such as services entries, butler pantries, spacious kitchens etc. have been given up in order to increase the number of apartments per floor. Moreover, these apartments suffer from a poor layout lacking proper hierarchy between public and private. Lastly, ceilings have shrunk at least one foot, and window proportions were a decision relegated to value engineering. These crucial changes affect every architect and owner seeking a harmonious and functional space, and present a stumbling block to the design process. The architect and the owners alike strive to make sense of any given space and make the necessary re-configurations. The architect’s task is also to see the good in all of this and bring it out to the open.
This post war example is located on the upper west side of Manhattan and across from Lincoln Center. The two bedroom apartment had all the ingredients for a wonderful home; however, everything was in the wrong place. The dining room occupied the best part of the apartment. Its corner location provided an uninterrupted view south down Columbus Avenue and east towards Central Park. The remaining space was a narrow leftover space labeled: the living room. The kitchen was enclosed and tucked away from the rest of the apartment.
Koder set out to reverse the order of some of these public functions, and open them unto each other. The living space reclaimed the old dining room and took advantage of the views. The entertainment wall separated it from the kitchen. The dining room table now floats in the living space and doubles as a library table. Being open, the kitchen fits well within the elegant living and dining spaces. The subtle color of the marble top and walls inspired the straid paint on the cabinets. A “modern” version of a domed space acts as a vestibule leading to the living room and the master bedroom suite. Custom doors were designed with stepped recessed panels; and Walter Gropius door handles with pewter finish were installed. The small second bedroom was transformed into a home office with a center sofa bed sitting in front of quartered mirrored wall. The custom plaster crown was sheared as curtains were drawn full height to the ceiling; and the ceiling panel is laminated with linen fabric creating a cozy feeling. The flow of the apartment now better suits the life of the newlywed young owners.