A Clinton Hill Carriage House Gets an Uncommonly Vibrant Transformation

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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. 

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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.