Brooklyn Townhouse Renovated the Way Cities Should Be Redeveloped: with Small, Slow Steps

From Dwell magazine: "Architect Jeff Sherman, of Delson or Sherman Architects, has more guts and gall than your average home renovator.  In 2000, strapped by a 'very finite budget,' he bought a wrecked row house in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that had been used as an illegal breeding kennel.  Over the next ten years, working as his own general contractor and builder, he transformed the scariest building on his block into a high-design home, all for about $100 per square foot. "'The day after closing, the contractor started demolition.  When he was finished, I had an insulated shell with utilities and big structural cuts and an opening for a skylight.  The entire middle of the house was opened up to bring light in and counteract the darkness typical of row houses.'

"'After I decided to cut that giant hole in the center, the room configuration quickly laid itself out.  The kitchen went in the back, the living room in the front, and the two-story space became the dining room.  Upstairs, there’s a bedroom in the front, a bedroom in the back, and a catwalk connecting the two.  I also wanted to separate the living room from the foyer, so I built a volume that contains storage space.  I covered it in inexpensive copper flashing so it would read as a single object.'

"'Throughout the renovation, I used a lot of local artisans.  Albert, from around the corner, did the striped stained glass on the back door, and a local storefront company mounted the glass.  My next-door neighbor Ullah is a mason, and he built my stoop.  I’m pretty antisocial by nature, so bringing in neighboring craftspeople was an attempt to help create a community for myself.'"  Full article with image gallery here.

Update: Excellent video here.