GRT Architects combine oak and mosaic tiles in East Village Apartment

Based in New York GRT Architects rearranged the layout of a apartment in the East Village and added warm materials during its renovation.

The studio undertook the project at Onyx Court, a six-story Beaux-Arts corner structure on Second Avenue built in 1902 by Harde & Short.

The East Village Apartment renovation involved moving the kitchen to a brighter space

The objectives of the renovation included the reorganization of the rooms to improve visibility in the apartment and to optimize the natural light available in each room.

“Our renovation has completely redesigned the layout of the apartment while preserving its turn-of-the-century layout,” said the GRT Architects crew. “Space is neither more open nor more closed than when we found it.”

Dining room and living room view
The kitchen, living room and dining room are all connected but meant to be read as separate rooms

The first move was to straighten a hallway from the entrance, to provide a view of an east-facing window from the front door.

To accomplish this, a shallow arched opening was created in a load-bearing brick wall – the only structural change made during the overhaul.

Living room with full storage wall
A complete storage wall in the living room includes a panel that hides the TV

“The course in this corridor celebrates the irregularity of the building with asymmetrical niches and rounded openings in thick plaster walls,” said GRT Architects.

This journey ends at the semi-open kitchen, which has been moved diagonally across the apartment, to an area that is better lit and better integrated with the rest of the house.

Small office with sienna walls
A textured sliding door reveals a small desk behind

An island covered in oxblood tiles sits in the center, surrounded by white oak cabinets with oversized handles and a satin white countertop.

Two-inch checkerboard mosaic tiling on the kitchen floor ends below a storage unit suspended from brass bars, clearly defining this space from the adjacent dining area.

master bedroom
The master bedroom now sits where the kitchen once stood

A minimal brass pendant hangs above the walnut dining table, while the lounge sits through a cased opening and also bounded by a strip of herringbone parquet flooring.

Largely decorated in a cooler gray hue compared to warmer tones elsewhere, the living room features accents like a yellow armchair that matches the upholstery of the dining room chairs and a storage wall supported by sienna colored panels .

Bedroom with fitted wardrobes
Custom built-in closets have been added to the bedroom

“We organized this space around a wall full of built-in shelving that includes a sliding panel that conceals a television,” said GRT Architects.

“A series of complementary colors underline the relief of this composition while oak pulls connect it to the kitchen.”

Second bedroom-office
The second bedroom serves as both an office and a sleeping area thanks to a retractable Murphy bed

Tucked away behind a sliding textured glass door, a small desk continues the same sienna hue across all four walls.

The master bedroom is located in place of the old kitchen and includes bespoke built-in cupboards – one occupying the shaft of an old dumbwaiter.

An adjacent bathroom combines a variety of hard and soft materials, ranging from speckled terrazzo and green mosaic tiles to oak cabinet doors that visually tie into the kitchen.

In the second bedroom, a Murphy bed allows the space to be used as another office if needed.

Bathroom with terrazzo and oak
Materials in the bathroom echo those in the kitchen

A powder room was also incorporated into the floor plan as part of the revamp.

“We found space for this small room by significantly reducing circulation space without compromising privacy,” the team said.

Entrance hall
The apartment is now organized along a straight corridor

GRT Architects, founded by Tal Schori and Rustam-Marc Mehta in 2014, has worked on a variety of projects in New York – from a Brooklyn Townhouse Renovation has a cozy bakery.

More recently, the business has expanded further, completing a cedar bungalow above a swamp on the Connecticut coast and a black house with huge triangular windows in Dutchess County.

The photograph is from Nicole Franzen.


Project credits:

Designer architect and reference architect: GRT architects: Rustam Mehta, Tal Schori, Pablo Taberna, Chelsea Stitt
MEP engineer: ANZ
Structural engineer: Ancient structures

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