Architect Josh Pulver works his magic within a tight budget and narrowly defined requirements.
The client put him to task and he rose to the occasion.
An executive at Calvin Klein and his partner bought a large apartment and took on its renovation in order to create a more open and airy environment.
The architect, Josh Pulver, knew he would have his hands full: clients who were very focused on their design and aesthetic goals from the beginning and very involved during the whole process - calling building management to check on approvals, source materials, products, and fixtures. In addition to their hands-on approach, the clients also wanted to complete the work on a modest budget and in an aggressive time frame. By keeping the channels of communication open and ongoing, Pulver ensured that the project have successful outcome.
The locus of the project was an apartment in a building very typical of 1960's concrete structures, with 8'-0" ceilings, compartmentalized rooms and basic details. The goal was to open up the space as much as possible while maintaining privacy in the bedroom and library. Removing the walls around the existing kitchen and providing it with a new opening allowed all of the facade windows to be seen from multiple perspectives, giving the illusion of expanding the actual space. Sliding doors were used to allow for privacy when needed. Using stock glass sliding doors in openings sized accordingly provided an economy of labor. This was initially a resource the client had found and wanted to use.
Space planning was also a large part of the endeavor as there were specific pieces of furniture which the clients insisted on using - a sofa, a bed, a storage unit, etc. Basic 3D rendered models were employed to examine the layout options. The existing elements also began to inform the material selection elsewhere. Specifically, the flooring was a boring wood parquet that was custom stained a dark color with white wash to harmonize with the existing furnishings. The clients had a "faux finishing" friend who developed the stain and helped them apply it. Calling on the friend again spoke to the degree of the clients’ level of involvement and their interest in economizing.
The Kitchen, the new focal point of the apartment, had been roughly laid out in plan, elevation and materials when the clients found an existing kitchen for sale locally on Craigslist. The contractor measured the existing kitchen and modified the layout to coincide with the purchased kitchen. With a bit of luck, the clients got a new kitchen and appliances at a high discount. The clients coordinated delivery and temporary storage and the contractor adapted and installed it.
According to the architect, it’s conventional wisdom to have one party (typically the general contractor) responsible for all the aspects of a job. But in this case, where the clients were willing to tackle some of the work directly, they gained the ability to economize and to inject more of their own personalities. From the contractor’s point of view, this approach can be tricky business. On the other hand, it can actually relieve him of some burdens. The clients researched the items they were interested in: tile finishes, plumbing fixtures and lighting. The contractor would then review and propose specific designs integrating these items. The clients took responsibility for ordering and procuring. Because of careful attention and close communication, the sharing of responsibilities worked to everyone’s advantage.
Contractor: Tamas Tiszold, ANT Contracting Inc. 718-204-5011. Photography by Steven Meisel
131 Varick Street, Suite 1009
New York, NY 10013