ISSUE 11  |  Emerald Isle

Before and After: A Garden Duplex in a Historic Chelsea Townhouse

March 22, 2015 10:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

Remodeling a period townhouse means confronting the past, indoors and out. Layers of history get uncovered–along with awkward floor plans, evidence of earlier ill-advised remodels, and horror-movie overgrowth in the backyard.

One of our all-time favorite remodels in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is architect Julian King’s thoughtful update of a Victorian townhouse, which uncovered character-filled historical details and created a sunny back garden.

N.B.: For the interiors, see Minimalist Moves for a Chelsea Townhouse.

Photographs courtesy of Julian King Architect.

Julian King Architect designed this Victorian townhouse in ChelseaAbove: Recycled bricks and stones found on the property during the remodel pave the garden and edge the garden beds.


Julian King Architect's Chelsea Victorian projectAbove: Overgrown vines, bamboo, and a cramped patio signaled years of neglect in the garden.


Julian King Architecture remodeled this Victorian townhouseAbove: The rear elevation was replaced; a new second-floor balcony overlooks the garden. King moved the master bedroom to the ground floor, where a wall of glass slides open to connect it with the garden. The kitchen he moved upstairs…


Julian King Architect designed this Chelsea townhouseOn the top floor of the duplex, French doors swing open to connect the kitchen and dining area with the outdoors.

Julian King Architecture headed this remodel of a Chelsea VictorianAbove: A new staircase leads from the kitchen balcony to the garden.

Julian King Architect designed this Chelsea townhouse remodelAbove: The master bedroom has full-width sliding glass doors set in a recessed track in the concrete patio.


Julian King Architect designed this Chelsea townhouseAbove: The cantilevered stairs are made of ipe wood. A generous bluestone slab serves as a landing at the base of the staircase.

Julian King Architect designed this Chelsea townhouse

Above: In his remodel, King honored the proportions of the townhouse’s Victorian design while updating the floor plans to create an intimate relationship between the garden and indoor spaces.

For more NYC townhouse gardens, see: