A Clinton Hill Carriage House Gets an Uncommonly Vibrant Transformation

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The exterior was painted in black and pale-gray stripes.
The exterior was painted in black and pale-gray stripes. Photo: Annie Schlechter

It takes a certain type of person to decide to live in a sea of construction-­cone orange. “Our idea was not to think about its resale value,” says artist Markus Linnenbrink, who, along with his wife, gallerist Cindy Rucker, hired architecture firm LOT-EK to transform their Clinton Hill carriage house in 2013. “We thought a lot about what we wanted from this house and how to make this our house.” The 23-year-old firm, helmed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, was founded on a platform of sustainable design and became known for its ability to upcycle common materials, from detergent bottles to an airplane fuselage. But the design world really took note in 2000 when it used petroleum-trailer-truck tanks to house the bedrooms in a converted parking garage in the West Village. 

LOT-EK’s renovation of this project took nearly three years. It involved adding a penthouse in addition to filling the core of the building with shipping containers to house the bathrooms and kitchen. The signature orange tint covers façades throughout the entire space the same way a stair runner might be used in a more conventional design. “We chose this ‘safety orange’ color because it’s particularly graphic,” Lignano says. “Like the diagonal bands used on concrete barricades.” There is nary a bathroom tile or marble counter to be found; Linnenbrink and Rucker opted for more unexpected details such as a kitchen backsplash made of end-grain wood chips. As for living in a tangerine glow, Linnenbrink says: “I would recommend this color to anybody; it is actually very warm and welcoming.”

*This article appears in the July 25, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Façade

The exterior was painted in black and pale-gray stripes. “It echoes the same stripe design of the container ‘tower’ inside,” architect Giuseppe Lignano explains.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Entryway

The entryway houses the family’s bikes, a knockoff Eames lounge chair, and an ottoman that Cindy found and had reupholstered. The art on the wall: Two Halves of a Loaf by Jennifer Grimyser.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Kitchen

The stainless-steel cabinets are warmed up by a wooden backsplash designed by the house’s owner, artist Markus Linnenbrink, with the help of a woodworker who gave him discarded end grains, which were then cut into quarter-inch pieces and glued to the wall. Linnenbrink added colored resin to fill in the gaps.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Dining/Living Room

The dining table was designed by Matt Gagnon. The wall sculpture is by Jessica Stockholder, and the photograph on the right wall is by Malick Sidibe.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

Their Daughter’s Room

Estlin’s light-filled room features a hammock from Yellow Leaf Hammocks. The painting on the right wall is by Linnenbrink.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Bathroom

The bath mat is from Cold Picnic, and the striped towel is from Dusen Dusen.

Photo: Annie Schlechter

The Roof

“The idea was one of ‘driving’ a container tower through the existing building that would contain all the functions of the house: the stairs, bathrooms, and kitchen,” Lignano explains. The added third floor, here, houses an office that doubles as a guest room. The table is a vintage Wendell Castle, and the woven hoop chairs are by Soñadora.

A Carriage House Gets a Vibrant Transformation