Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Size: 1500 sqft
Favorite: The shower and the transom in the master bathroom
"I said to my contractor, 'I want to feel like I am taking a shower outside'." Gil, a dumbek player, photographer, and computer consultant uses his gut, and his insatiable desire for light as the two guiding principles in the redesign and renovation of the top two floors of what he refers to as "a once narrow, dark, claustrophobic, depressing brownstone, like many such buildings in Brooklyn."
To address the brownstone's darkness, Gil and a legion of local artists who moonlight as plumbers, contractors, and finish carpenters started at the top of the building--literally on the roof--and through the use of skylights, transoms, and transparent walkways, have begun to transform the space.
Overzealousness on the light front, as well as the penchant for experimentation, led to the occasional costly mistake. Gil is not deterred, however. Such a huge undertaking is always an expensive learning experience. Next time, he will know not to make the skylight so big, or to slope the skylight more when installing it.
Although not overt, an Eastern influence reveals itself amidst the renovated spaces. Gil's contractor prefers stark, modern, and minimalist (which can trace its way back to the East), while Gil leans toward Eastern theory and materiality. Their collaboration, most clearly evident in the bathroom, aims for a light drenched serenity.
The clawfoot bathtub and the exposed brick don't exactly follow in the simplicity vein, and when I asked Gil about them he said, "I don't say, let's just do this style and follow these rules of conduct. I do what I like." Gil has wanted a clawfoot tub since he moved to the United States and now he has one. He wanted a giant bathroom, and now he has one. He wanted as much light as possible, and now he has it. On a gray day in February, utilizing no electricity, Gil's space was awash in light, everywhere, and it was wonderful.