A Friendly Family Duplex in Manhattan by wUNDERground Architecture

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This duplex renovation by wUNDERground Architecture in Manhattan, New York, arose from some very practical considerations: as the architects say. “With the arrival of new member, this family of five had outgrown their 2-bedroom loft in a prominent Chelsea building and chose to expand by purchasing the identical apartment above. To rework the 3600 s.f. space, the existing units were completely gut-renovated.” “Gut renovation” could sound brutal — but in this case, it was not. The aesthetics and essence of the dwelling were preserved, even during the formidable operation of combining two apartments into one two-level dwelling. One feature of this renovation that improved the quality of life for all; the family was able, with twice the space, to decorate with items they actually use.

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The lower level is dedicated to family living, including an eat-in kitchen with a handy center island; a playroom with room for writing, drawing, and games; and a “grownup” living and dining area. The open plan allows for easy flow between the rooms and a compact functionality. A new staircase connects the lower level with the upper living quarters; here, you’ll find a study, laundry room, three children’s bedrooms, and the master suite. Use of warm wood grain makes the space homey and, along with stone-look walls in the bath and kitchen, conveys a natural, easygoing feel. Splashes of color — yellow shelving units, blue chairs and bedding — liven the décor without making it too “busy.” A family space that grew with the family: that’s the Ninth Avenue duplex project.

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