Turner Towers Apartment by Frederick Tang Architecture
Frederick Tang Architecture has completed the renovation and interior design of a 2,500-square-foot, 13th-floor apartment in Brooklyn’s Turner Towers Apartment, a grand pre-war, art deco building dating to 1926. Located on Eastern Parkway, the apartment overlooks both The Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Designed for a couple who work in the arts and their two children, the renovation balances reverence for the apartment’s history with contemporary, custom details inspired by the family’s artistic sensibility and casual lifestyle.
About Turner Towers Apartment
Creating a Modern and Centralized Kitchen
The project started with a reconfiguration of the original layout to open up the home and centralize the kitchen. “We aimed to make this apartment suitable for a modern family,” says Frederick Tang, principal of Frederick Tang Architecture. Although the original kitchen featured generously proportioned living areas and tall ceilings typical of classic prewar apartments, it was cramped and enclosed by walls. Additionally, it was bordered by two small rooms initially designed as staff quarters.
The firm moved the kitchen to the apartment’s core, opening it up on two sides and connecting it to the dining area through a black soapstone bar with custom white lacquer cabinetry. Tang says, “The owners, passionate about cooking and entertaining, wanted a large kitchen space that would enable them to socialize with their guests.” Next to the new kitchen, the original small staff rooms were transformed into an office, guest bedroom, and guest bathroom.
Streamlined Interiors and Custom Built-ins
The home’s interiors were streamlined, and custom built-ins were added to optimize casual family interactions and entertaining. “The owners had a specific vision—nothing was to feel too precious, but instead lived in and relaxed,” says Barbara Reyes, Frederick Tang Architecture’s Director of Design and Interiors. “And all elements had to integrate with the historic bones of the space.”
In the kitchen, custom cabinetry inspired by mid-century Southern California woodwork features deep auburn cherry with integrated handles and sliding doors. A White Encaustic tile backsplash from Clé highlights a jet-black soapstone countertop, which includes an apron-front sink and an integrated, subtly sloping drainboard. A Polish opaline industrial flush mount illuminates the space.
Matching Soapstone Bar and Vintage Lighting
On the opposite side, a matching soapstone bar with concealed storage and a wine fridge opens onto the dining area, providing a pocket for two Cognac leather stools by Afteroom for MENU. Above, a trio of 1960s Scandinavian pendants by Arnold Wiigs Fabrikker lights the kitchen and bar.
Reyes notes that vintage light fixtures throughout the home “add a layer to the apartment’s history, and 1st Dibs became a valuable resource for one-of-a-kind pieces from the past and from afar.”
Dining Room and Entryway Accents
The dining room is anchored by a bold vintage fixture—a deep orange, 1960s Equator Pendant by Jo Hammerborg for Fog and Morup. A custom reading bench, designed by Frederick Tang Architecture and upholstered in IKAT from Fabricut, hugs the dining room window bank, while a vintage Danish media cabinet, an heirloom from the owner’s parents, lines another wall.
In the adjacent entryway, a vintage German Opaline Glass Bauhaus lighting fixture, a Shaker-style hook/shelf system, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases lead directly to the light-filled living room and main bedroom. The main bedroom features custom walnut millwork with wardrobe storage, a vanity nook, and brass hardware lining one wall. Additionally, it includes a standing Noguchi lamp and a vintage Werner Herzog poster from the client’s collection. The piece joins the family’s larger art collection, reflecting their extended creative community and personal work.
Colorful and Patterned Bathrooms
The bathrooms showcase bold colors and patterns. In the kids’ bathroom, mix-and-match hot pink, yellow, and blue plumbing fixtures by VOLA complement dimensional wall tiles by Kho Liang and yellow lighting fixtures from Barn Lighting. In the guest bathroom, a custom walnut mirror and shelf are embedded into a deep turquoise painted wall, partially clad in midnight blue Zelig Tiles by Mosaic House. Faceted sconces by Cosack continue the vintage lighting theme; these were originally installed in a German theater, playfully reflecting the clients’ creative interests.
Photography by Gieves Anderson