A historical townhouse in New York City gets a modern interior design makeover

Living room with whote walls, dark wooden doors, fireplace, mirror and floor to ceiling windows
Furniture studio Coil + Drift and rug company Cold Picnic realise the interiors for a 19th century townhouse in New York
(Image credit: Nicolas Calcott)

Although it is common practice for design exhibitions to be short-lived, the latest collaboration in New York City between three Brooklyn-based design practices even pushes that to the limit. Earlier this summer, furniture studio Coil + Drift and rug company Cold Picnic created a temporary environment within a six floor, 19th century townhouse in the borough’s Prospect Heights neighbourhood, which fellow Brooklynite Hatchet Design Build had just renovated.

Thoroughly gutted, with several original features such as original carpentry, staircases, walnut pocket doors and fireplaces being meticulously restored, the historical townhouse was carefully brought into contemporary times. Split into a two family home, the landmarked property boasts several custom, built-in elements by Good Dog Rosie fabrication studio that helps to bring both past and present together.

‘[This was] an exercise in tactical restoration,’ says Zach Rockhill, Hatchet Design Build’s principle. ‘Preserving the most striking details that give the home its undeniable character, while introducing the infrastructure and amenities that will ensure that same character will endure for another century more.’

White room with large windows and wooden chairs and woven baskets and plants

Inside apartments designed by furniture studio Coil + Drift and rug company Cold Picnic.

(Image credit: Nicolas Calcott)

To really inject a feeling of home, Hatchet invited Coil + Drift and Cold Picnic to each style one of the apartments and bring them to life. Coil + Drift founder John Sorensen-Jolink recalls, ‘a member of [Hatchet’s] team reached out as we were prototyping [our] new collection and asked if I'd be interested in styling a townhouse using our new pieces. We did a walk-through and I knew that our design languages would live well together. The space was also really beautiful and it would be a perfect place to show our latest work.’

Deciding that it would be more fun to work together on the whole house, Sorensen-Jolink and Cold Picnic’s Phoebe Sung created an environment that effortlessly flowed from room to room. ‘We wanted the objects to feel displayed and also for the architecture to be featured’, says Sorensen-Jolink. ‘Phoebe and I have worked together before and knew that our objects lived well together. Cold Picnic's rugs and quilts bring color and asymmetric curves that compliment Coil + Drift's material-forward and sculptural, symmetrical designs.’

He adds, ‘I was personally drawn to the parlour living room and kitchen, so I knew I wanted to lead the design of those spaces, and Phoebe had amazing ideas for the den and rooftop deck. The rest of the spaces we developed concepts together and then allowed ourselves to make changes in the moment.’

Immortalised in these images by photographer Nicolas Calcott, the results of the joint effort powerfully showcase Brooklyn design in both its past and present states.

White room with wall light, brown and black chair in front of the window and patterned carpet

(Image credit: press)

Black sideboard and black and cane chair against a white wall on a wooden floor

(Image credit: press)

Sliding door looking into a dining room with wooden table and chairs and hanging lighting fixture

(Image credit: press)

White walled living room with mirror over the fireplace, rug and chairs

(Image credit: press)

Staircase in light wood with botted plants

(Image credit: press)


For more information, visit the Coil + Drift website and the Hatchet Design Build website

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.