New York City’s landmark townhouses invariably started out as single-family dwellings with distinct social functions stacked across multiple floors. It’s a model that still appeals today, although updating them for modern-day living generally involves reconfiguring the interior plan to accommodate larger rooms and an improved flow.
Each project presents a fresh set of design challenges for DHD, explains David Howell. Does the parlor floor stay formal? Often the most glamorous living space, it may also lend itself to use as a kitchen or family room. Where do the master suite and children’s bedrooms go? How do you create connection to rear yards that now offer valuable outdoor living space? And where do you incorporate contemporary features such as media rooms and home offices?
For DHD it’s a matter of playing to each house’s strengths, identifying what is worthy of preservation, and what should be retained — moldings, millwork and banisters are all carefully considered. Very often the end result is a dialogue between the old and new, with spaces and details reimagined in fresh ways. The conversation extends into furnishings and fittings, where vintage and contemporary styles may be paired together and juxtaposed.
The seven townhouse projects featured in this book illustrate an exciting range of responses to these iconic buildings.
After receiving an architecture degree from Drury University in 1999, he started his career in Austin, TX. This is where he began focusing on both residential and commercial retail design. Relocating to New York City in 2006, he continued this focus at various firms leading projects nationally and internationally. In 2015, he joined DHD to build on their portfolio of ground-up single-family homes.
“My approach to design does not rely on a style, instead I seek to give each client something unique that responds to the conditions of their life and results in a place they dream to inhabit. Spatial and formal transformations develop for each project through cultivating a tailored aesthetic and addressing the social sensibilities the client brings to the table.”
In the rare moment that he is not thinking about architecture, you can find Jonathan running the streets of Brooklyn, searching for his next marathon.