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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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).

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