For six months James Botha carefully analyzed the raw, exposed materials and open design in his Brooklyn attic before putting pencil to paper to look some modifications. “After things settled and I began to learn what was necessary, I took action and began drawing,” says Botha, an architect. He then sparingly added walls and walk-throughs to split out a dining room, living and bedroom area. He worked with Arc Fabrication, a building and carpentry firm, and each room now highlights exposed air ducts, original brick walls and the attic’s natural light and airflow.
at a Glance
Who lives here: James Botha
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,200 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
That’s intriguing: The residential building was once a warehouse that housed the New York Trolley Museum.
The attic’s original floor plan didn’t include the wall and bookcase. Botha’s love for fun prompted him to maintain the attic open and define the chambers with walk-throughs. “I blurred the lines between the general public and private locations,” he states. “The bedroom is ordinarily an area people like to keep private, but I left it quite open to the dining space, with reclaimed wood beams framing the pass-through.”
The new floor plan allows for your living area, dining area and bedroom to flow into one another.
Wall and trim paint Super White, Benjamin Moore; dining room chairs: Hudson, Restoration Hardware
When Botha was rising up, the dining area was the most formal room in the house. He maintained some of that formality in his space with an alder wood trestle dining table and upholstered chairs. “The dining area has such a elegant yet playful sense to it,” he states. “It contains all my favorite elements of the apartment: the brick wall, the flat wood paneling, the background, the retrieved wood, the chandelier and so on. It is sort of a greatest hits.”
Botha’s parents gave him the ornate teak screen in the back corner. The walk-through is lined by thin strips of timber planks to the bedroom.
Chandelier: Tomorrow’s Antiques; timber planks: Arc Fabrication
Botha converted this small, open niche in the dining area to a storage and display shelf with reclaimed wood.
Background: Trade Routes; artwork: Rebecca Posner (top), Jay Davis (bottom)
This mohair wall hanging is by Sotho artisans in South Africa, purchased by Botha’s parents on a trip from the ’70s. “I was born and spent a great deal of time in Europe, and have traveled extensively through Asia and Africa,” he states. “I’m in love with all the regional aesthetics I have discovered in these places.”
Console table: Hybrideclaimed wood, Nightwood; floor lamp: Paul Pisanelli, from Brooklyn Flea
Exposed brick and a wall Botha built-in feel to the bedroom. The horizontal support beams in the wall twice as shelves.
Bedding: Fab India
Botha made this custom storage wall to prevent just beneath the ceiling, leaving space for air to flow to the next room.
Structure and Cosmetic: Arc Fabrication; cupboard paint: Gettysburg Gray, Benjamin Moore
The other side of the unit displays Botha’s records and records.
Arc Fabrication used plywood with a poplar face to build the bookcase. The bar is reclaimed walnut.
Botha attracted back this handwoven wool Kashmir rug from a trip to India. His mother purchased the open-arm wing seat while the family lived in Scotland. He had it reupholstered by Rosini and Sons.
Couch: Ethan Allen; pillows: Andrew Martin; artwork: Re-POP
Lawyer’s case: Luddite; floor Lamp: Paul Pisanelli, from Brooklyn Flea; stools: Toledo, Restoration Hardware
During the renovations Botha eliminated a tiny closet on the side of the fridge. The countertops are out of IceStone and are a mixture of reclaimed glass with an aggregate of concrete.
Botha found these vintage industrial pendant lamps at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts. He bought the custom stainless steel kitchen in Chinatown.
Recording gear and tools are stored within this extra office space. Botha soundproofed the far wall into consideration of his neighbours by doubling the Sheetrock and adding Green Glue, a rigid foam between the layers.
Daybed: CB2; rug; ABC Carpet & Home; doorway and trim paint: Gettysburg Gray, Benjamin Moore
A floating shelf carries a few cherished collectibles above a classic desk.
Wall and trim paint: Super White, Benjamin Moore
Wall paint: Carrington Beige, Benjamin Moore; shower curtain: Target
“Do all of the design work on front to save yourself from sudden change orders in the future,” says Botha, shown here. “This may also help the builders get you an accurate quote from the beginning in order to and they, can plan better. The more buttoned-up the design is the shorter the building work will take.”
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