brooklyn

Installation In Focus: Willow Street

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We wanted the space to be a balance of contrasts, open and airy yet respectful of the rooms expected in townhouse living; modern lines and materials, but respecting the character of the house and neighborhood; natural but polished; unique and creative, yet timeless and universal.
— Damian Zunino, Studio DB
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Transformation In Brooklyn Heights

Well known for its tree-lined streets and well-preserved antebellum townhouses, Brooklyn Heights is one of New York City’s most charming neighborhoods. At the very heart of this historic district is the 1834 brownstone on the corner of Willow and Middagh Street. Originally built in a Greek Revival Style, 15 Willow once belonged to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor but, in 2016, was transformed into a single-family residence — a transformation that required a nuanced balance of innovation and preservation. The development and design team behind the renovation at 15 Willow Street project was Studio DB, led by the firm’s husband-and-wife principals Damian and Britt Zunino.

Damian explains how, as the team endeavored to modernize the 6,400-square-foot, five-bedroom townhouse, their goal was to create a balance of contrasts. “We wanted the space to be open and airy, yet respectful of the kind of interiors expected in townhouse living, [with] modern lines and materials that honored the historic character of both the house and the neighborhood.”

The choice of flooring was central to the architects’ goal of honoring the past while simultaneously integrating modern lines and materials. “We had a vision of how we wanted the floors to feel, so we reached out to The Hudson Company at the very beginning of the process. There was a specific walnut floor we were looking for — we wanted something that felt natural but still had a lot of character, and we knew The Hudson Company could produce this kind of flooring for us.”

Through close collaboration with the Studio DB team, The Hudson Company custom-milled 3,000 square feet of 5” Walnut plank and 1,000 square feet of 5” Herringbone plank for the project.“The new floors feel light but still raw,” Zunino says. “The finish brings a timeless, polished aesthetic to the house’s interior.”

The installation profile originally appeared in The Hudson Company Journal, Volume 2. Read more or learn how to get your physical copy of The Journal here.

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Reclaiming An icon: Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Refinery

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by  Paul Raphaelson.

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by Paul Raphaelson.

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by  Paul Raphaelson.

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by Paul Raphaelson.

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by  Paul Raphaelson.

Domino Sugar Refinery Photos by Paul Raphaelson.

Reclaiming An Icon

Recently, The Hudson Company was honored to be selected to custom mill 45,000 board feet of Reclaimed Heart Pine Beams and Mixed Softwood Decking salvaged from Williamsburg's historic Domino Sugar Refinery. Rich in over a century of colorful history (the factory complex was built in the 1880s and was once the largest of its kind in the world), the riverfront Domino facility was an icon of the Williamsburg skyline for more than a century. And although the refinery is now gone, much of the grand old icon of New York's industrial past is being preserved in an innovative and sustainably-minded way.

After being salvaged by Brooklyn-based developers Two Trees, the reclaimed wood from the Domino facility was transported to our Pine Plains, NY mill to be de-nailed, graded, planed, and profiled for use as park benches, furniture, and other on site décor for the buildings and park structures that will replace the old factory (exciting details and timelines for the Domino Redevelopment Project can be found here). 

Now that much of the original manufacturing facility is gone, Two Trees, along with SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations, have developed a vision for the future that preserves a number of relics from the historic Domino complex: including two 80-foot tall historic cranes, large cylindrical syrup cranes, and more than twenty stone columns from facility's warehouse. Along with the new luxury and affordable housing units being built on the site of the old Domino complex, the developers are executing a master plan that includes community-focused gardens, public parks, playgrounds and sports fields.

Stay tuned to www.thehudsonco.com in the coming months, where we will be sharing more about our involvement in this exciting development, including imagery and details on how the reclaimed wood from inside the Domino factory is put to use in the Domino Redevelopment Project.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Two Trees here, more about SHoP Architects here, more about James Corner Field Operations here, and see more of Paul Raphaelson's pre-demolition Domino Sugar Refinery photos here.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by  Two Trees Management.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by Two Trees Management.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by T wo Trees Management.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by Two Trees Management.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by  Two Trees Management.

Domino Redevelopment renderings by Two Trees Management.

The Ming: Bryan Nash Gill + The Hudson Company

Artist Bryan Nash Gill working on 'The Ming' at The Hudson Company's Brooklyn Showroom, April 2013.

Artist Bryan Nash Gill working on 'The Ming' at The Hudson Company's Brooklyn Showroom, April 2013.

‘The best art is simple, direct, and resonates without explanation. It is connected, simply, to the way things are.’ Curator and friend of the artist, Steven Holmes

Simple. Direct. Resonant. If there was ever an artist and craftsman whose work was powerful through its simplicity - it was prolific sculptor, painter, and printmaker Bryan Nash Gill (1961 - 2013).

For three days in April 2013, The Hudson Company was proud to collaborate with and host Bryan in our Brooklyn showroom, where he created the extraordinary ‘Ming’ duo-tone woodcut print. At sixteen feet in length, the ‘Ming’ became not only Bryan’s largest ever woodcut print, but also the last print he would make before his unexpected death in May of that year.

This unique collaboration was born after The Hudson Company acquired a hardwood beam originating from a temple from the Ming Dynasty of China (14th - 17th centuries). As long time admirers of Bryan’s work, we wondered what stories he might be able to draw out of such a venerable artifact; what history the grain and knots of the ancient beam could reveal?

With his signature passion for exploration, Bryan applied his creative process to the ‘Ming’ project with a childlike excitement. During those three days, Bryan described what drove him to continually experiment and develop his craft: ‘...it’s a process of discovery, a process of learning, a process of putting yourself on the edge and kind of having the courage to go forth and see what happens, and learn from the process.’

At the end of his three days of ‘discovery’ at The Hudson Company showroom, Bryan produced a large-scale print that is both beautiful and surprising. Far removed from its place and era and utility of origin, ‘The Ming’ shows us a new perspective on the patterns of life encapsulated in the lines and layers of wood. Like a massive fingerprint from a distant time and place, ‘The Ming,’ like all of Bryan’s woodcuts, draws viewers into the very heart of wood - past it’s surface and color and hardness - to the nucleus of it’s identity.

Steven Holmes describes the woodcuts of Bryan Nash Gill as a way to, ‘participate in historically anchored beauty,’ by understanding wood, ‘not as an object, but as a verb.’ Today, ‘The Ming’ hangs proudly in The Hudson Company showroom as a symbol of the new perspectives that can be gained from reimagining historical artifacts. It hangs as a tribute to our friend Bryan. It hangs as an example of beautiful craftsmanship and innovative vision. It hangs as a reminder of the resonance that comes from simple beauty found in the way things are.

Watch the video below to see Bryan at work on The Ming in The Hudson Company's Brooklyn Showroom, in April 2013.

Featured Design Installation: Passive House, Brooklyn, New York

As a part of the renovations for their 1860s Brooklyn townhouse, Laura Mackall and Robert Marley chose to incorporate two Hudson Company Reclaimed flooring products into their project: Reclaimed White Pine [Surfaced] and Reclaimed Heart Pine [New Face].

These two specific flooring products, with their historical character and sustainable footprint, were the perfect solution for the couple, as they embarked on updating not only their home's aesthetic, but also it's energy profile. As a 'Passive House,' the Mackall-Marley renovation focused on optimizing the way that the home retains and ventilates both warm and cool air. The townhouse's existing, thick perimeter walls made it an ideal candidate for this kind of a sustainably-minded modernization.

With Laura's father, architect Louis Mackall, and Gowanus-based Build With Prospect taking the lead on the project's design and build, The Hudson Company was able to provide the client with two custom flooring solutions: 3/4" x 6" Reclaimed White Pine [Surfaced] flooring and, additionally, 3,000 square feet of 3/4" x 9" Reclaimed Heart Pine [New Face].

We should also note that both of the reclaimed flooring products have interesting origin stories: the White Pine [Surfaced] flooring was sourced from the Mackall-Marley townhouse itself and then custom re-milled by The Hudson Company in Pine Plains, New York. The Reclaimed Heart Pine [New Face] used in the passive house project was a surplus batch of flooring, originally salvaged from a historic Phillip Morris Factory in Louisville, Kentucky and then later re-milled by The Hudson Company for The New Whitney Museum of American Art in 2015.

To learn more about the products used in this design project, contact us today and let us know how The Hudson Company can help you reach your goals for your next design project.

Photographs by Michel Arnaud

 

"As with a good book, the experience of a good house is transformative.”
Project Architect Louis Mackall