Got A Skinny House? Here’s How To Make A Fat & Fabulous Brownstone

Prices being what they are, best to make the most out of what space you have.

By Jeff Vasishta November 10, 2016
Credit: Beyond My Ken

Brownstones—they’re the supermodels of NY homes—tall and skinny and very expensive. Some brownstones, like their catwalk counterparts, look positively odd. Some seem like they were on the wrong end of a brick shortage. So skinny they’d make a kitten claustrophobic. Still, being in New York, they also command a premium price. And like a great fashion designer with an anemic model, a great architect and interior designer can also make these super narrow homes look fashionably fabulous.

Related: Designers Build A Sleek Tower That Eats Smog And Makes Jewelry

This skinny West Village townhouse is a perfect case in point. The stunning after photos of a gut renovation by Brooklyn base architects Lubrano Ciavarra was featured in An excavated back garden, platers, seating and new kitchen were the result of collaboration with garden designer Marni Majorelle and her team at Alive Structures who designed and installed the garden.

As you can see from the interior photos, it’s hard to believe the house is as narrow as it is. How did the designers pull off such an optical illusion? The key is in the light colors, straight lines and lighting. By using white cabinets in the kitchen and a poured concrete floor, they were able to forgo tiles and stopped the room feeling “busy” which would equate to being small. Also, by seamlessly flowing into the back garden with a sliding door, the feel of letting the outside in also makes the space appear larger.  The multiple hi-hat recessed lighting keeps the space doused in light which plays off the floor and metallic countertop.

The large window on the parlor floor, almost the entirety of the wall, also allows light to flood in and looks out over the excavated back garden. The horizontal planks which encircle the garden walls also add the feeling of width as opposed the vertical ones which would give a tighter, smaller feeling.

Large tiles and light, often metallic surfaces play throughout the property giving the feeling of openness and even on the roof garden walk on skylights and a horizontal plant wall design continue the themes on the lower floors.

Now, ready to revamp your rabbit hutch of an apartment?


Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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