AvroKO Crafts Inkwell Apartments From NYC Elementary School
This New York renovation supplies an object lesson in sweet nostalgia. A 1905 Beaux-Arts elementary school welcomed students for more than a century. Then the students left for a modern facility around the block, permitting its conversion as the Inkwell apartments.
Architect AvroKO’s condos deftly recall the academy, though not through preservation since the building wasn’t landmarked. “All of the finishes and light fixtures are new,” admits AvroKO principal Kristina O’Neal. She and her fellow partners pulled in chickenwire glass for new transoms, and even the lobby’s literary bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The mailboxes are styled as a card catalog, with paper labels referencing 60 winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
An old-school ledger that came to light during demo now decorates a model apartment. BHDM Design humanized the institutional-scale spaces in another model using color and art. Terra-cotta ceiling paint works like a frieze, extending 24 inches down the top of 13-foot-high bedroom walls. “The very tall ceilings could have felt cold,” notes BHDM principal Dan Mazzarini. Simple frames contain the hallway’s cut watercolor-paper compositions created by the interior designers in homage, perhaps, to a century of construction paper, and paste.