Chelsea Triplex

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Located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, this 1,300-square-foot triplex was converted from a studio on the third floor and combined with a duplex with cellar as the primary bedroom level, into a bright & spacious triplex with cellar as living room and master bedroom suite on the third floor.

The architectural strategy was to open up the house to light from the sky and the garden and stitch it back to itself. To do this, the entry level floor and the garden were cut back from both sides of the garden wall, allowing for a double story space to meet at a midway point, and to reduce the feel of the cellar's position underground and mediate the transition between the middle and lower levels. Since this is a townhouse with one wall of windows, in order to get natural light to the back of the space, an open staircase that climbs and connects the three levels of living room, garden, kitchen and dining room and master bedroom suite was overlapped with an angled skylight on the front portion of the third floor, which redirects & filters light through itself to the lower levels and in the back at entry. With an all-glass facade in the rear, this townhouse opens up into a garden which connects nature and 'stretches from Earth to the sky,' as written by Gaston Bachelard in the Poetics of Space.

The guiding principal for the design of a small space is that if the quality of light and air is improved, if all of life's things have a place, small spaces (and, in this case, a 12'-wide townhouse) will feel right and perhaps more space is not needed. In New York City, and in the coveted Meat Packing District, every inch is accounted for. But beyond the monetary value, a home is carved from years of neglect, brick, block, paint and dirt that fits the dreamer who looks to his house as a place to dream.

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