Who lives here: Jeff Sherman
Location: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Size: 2,500 square feet (232 square meters)
There are two units. Sherman inhabits the upper two-story dwelling, which has two bedrooms and two baths, and rents out the lower one-bedroom, one-bath unit.
The brick row house was built at the turn of the 20th century. When Sherman bought it the floors were caving in and the stoop had collapsed. “I purchased it in 2000, and the neighborhood was rough, but there were a lot of nice areas around it,” he says. “I thought it would be a matter of time before this area improved, and I was right.” Sherman completed the remodel in 2010.
The thick copper-clad wall at the entry also has a space carved out of the center — it acts as a bench for removing shoes. “I used copper because I wanted this dividing wall to read as a two-story object,” he says. (It reappears on the second story in the guest room.) “I also knew I could apply it myself, and I like how it reacted to the human touch, growing shiny over time where it is handled.” The ceiling is made of inexpensive cedar, the kind usually used to line closets. “It smells wonderful,” Sherman says.
Gray painted wood, salvaged from the house during demolition, brackets metal pieces and acts as support beams. “It was cheaper to leave the beams visible, so I made them a statement,” he says.
The master bedroom, directly over the kitchen, is kept private by two layers of a corrugated plastic, the kind that’s usually used as roofing. “One layer just didn’t provide enough privacy, so I added another,” says Sherman.
The open shelves above and to the right of the table act as the rear wall of the bedroom. “I was going to cover the back of the shelves with something, but I couldn’t stand to do it once they went up,” says Sherman.
On the upper level, the architect designed a catwalk that runs between the two bedrooms. A row of built-in cabinets divides it from the lower story.
The original floor on this level was able to be saved, “although I had to pull many, many staples out of it when I pulled up the carpet,” says Sherman.
He left a window (the lower half is obscured) and tiled the floor with brick (a long drain is located under the window), because he wanted the space to feel like an outdoor shower. “I’ve always wanted one but can’t have one in the city,” he says. “I just made it feel like it’s outside.”