An Artist-Architect Breathes New Life Into a Brooklyn Row House

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Brooklyn-born and -raised Shane Neufeld is an artist who happens to be an architect; he earned his graduate degree from the Yale School of Architecture in 2009 after receiving his B.A. in fine arts from Amherst in 2004. He worked for Rogers Marvel Architects and Christoff: Finio Architecture before launching his own firm, Light and Air (L/AND/A) in 2017. For the past ten years, he lived in a Bed-Stuy loft big enough for his painting studio, but after getting married in 2015, and having a child, Malcolm (who is nearly a year old), it was time to put down deeper roots. So Shane set out looking for a wreck that he could breathe new life into with a full-throttle gut renovation. And the result is downright glorious. The key to Shane’s light-filled drama at home? It’s all about the switchback staircase.

Shane first spied this 1880s row house turned S.R.O. on a quiet street of brownstones in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “This was an opportunity to try something new,” Shane says, “to rethink what a townhouse in the city could be.” Photo: Kevin Kunstadt
“I knew I wanted to do something dramatic with the light,” Shane says. “I grew up in a brownstone in Brooklyn and I loved it, but I felt like it was just a very, very dark space.” Shane loves the exposed brickwork. “It really gave the light a textured experience; if this had been drywall, it would not have been nearly so nice.” Photo: Kevin Kunstadt
The Loewen double-hung windows bring the outdoors inside. “I feel really happy and lucky that we get to live here,” Shane says. Photo: Kevin Kunstadt/© Kevin Kunstadt 2017
An Architect Breathes New Life Into a Brooklyn Row House