Sustainable Home Renovation in Brooklyn: Witness How One Architect Transforms Spaces

When Aaron and Anna Schiller set out to build a new home in Brooklyn, they saw an opportunity to combine their passion for architecture and sustainability. Aaron, an architect and founder of Schiller Projects, wanted to create a near-zero carbon construction using mass timber, a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete. After a year-long search, they found an 1870s brick carriage house in Clinton Hill that fit their vision.

The building, although attractive from the outside, required substantial renovation. With Aaron’s assurance that he could transform it into a beautiful, healthy home, Anna embraced the challenge. They purchased the building for $2.75 million in 2018.

To renovate the space, Aaron stripped the building down to its shell, demolished the back, and salvaged the original wood beams for flooring. He introduced a skylight and an open staircase that functions as a light well to bring in natural light. Additionally, a Japanese maple tree was planted in the middle of the house. To build most of the interior, Aaron used glue-laminated wood panels provided by Kalesnikoff, and Bensonwood, a prefab home builder, constructed the building off-site.

Despite construction delays caused by the pandemic, the house was completed earlier this year. Custom wood-framed windows and doors were installed to overcome supply chain challenges. The home was aggressively insulated with sustainable materials, such as Gutex and hemp insulation, and a radiant heating system and energy recovery ventilator were installed to minimize energy consumption.

The total cost of the project was approximately $2 million. The Schillers now enjoy living in their sustainable, light-filled home that feels like an oasis in the middle of bustling New York City. The abundance of natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting, and the incorporation of sustainable materials creates a beautiful environment that aligns with their love for nature.

Now that the project is complete and they have settled into their new home, the Schillers see it not just as a project, but as a place where they can truly call home.

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