409-411 Vanderbilt Avenue

 

Built during the late 19th century, this Queen-Anne-style carriage house on Vanderbilt Avenue epitomizes the heart, soul, and style of Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill, a neighborhood once famed for its mansion rows and carriage houses. Designed originally to house coachmen and horses for an estate on Clinton Avenue, the building, having most recently been home to the Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital, has just undergone a careful restoration by The Brooklyn Home Company. At just under 24-feet-wide, this stunning, red brick property, which boasts its own gated driveway and private parking, has a stately and timeless appearance which was carefully reinvigorated during the renovation process.

Open AWD was commissioned to restore the property’s façade in 2017. Working alongside the developer, we set out to help them achieve their vision for what the building could look like. Open AWD had been tasked with preserving the original arch by creating custom-made steel and wooden doors. These doors, we feel, perfectly embody the architectural and historical significance of Clinton Hill. Above the original arch, and very much characteristic of its time, the building has a striking Flemish gable which conceals a luminous, sunlit living room with an 11-feet, high-rise ceiling.

After much consultation and planning, we began the project by installing new, simulated double hung windows as well as the heavy-duty double entry doors with fixed panels. We chose simulated double hung windows instead of traditional double hung because we felt they would allow us to more closely match the building’s original style. Moreover, they also provide superior soundproofing as well as added security. Mindful of New York City’s building code, we worked closely with the developer to ensure that we could maintain as many of the original details as possible, while striving to modernize the building to meet the needs of the twenty-first century.

Initially concerned by the weight of the reinforced, triple-glazed entry doors, after much research, we decided to use a German-made electronic lock and heavy duty-concealed hinges to ensure that they could carry the load. The hinges we chose hold up to 650lb per sash. It was important to us, at every stage of this project — whether it concerned sourcing materials, or solving structural or cosmetic problems — that we strove to maintain the simple and subtle beauty of the original façade.

Although not complex at first sight, one of the most labor-intensive units we designed and installed during the renovation was the fixed ocular window. To fabricate the distinct circular profile, we used two different types of brick molds as well as muntins, which separated the divided lite windows into 45 distinct panels. We estimate that our team spent more than 40 hours drafting and designing these particular window units in order to ensure the original aesthetic had been adhered to.

We fitted the rear elevation with elegant and extra secure steels doors.