AvroKO Crafts Inkwell Apartments From NYC Elementary School

This New York renovation supplies an object lesson in sweet nostalgia. A 1905 Beaux-Arts elementary school welcomed students for more than a century. Then the students left for a modern facility around the block, permitting its conversion as the Inkwell apartments.

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AvroKO converted a 1905 Beaux-Arts elementary school into Inkwell, an apartment complex in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

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In the lobby, mailboxes are styled as a card catalog. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

Architect AvroKO’s condos deftly recall the academy, though not through preservation since the building wasn’t landmarked. “All of the finishes and light fixtures are new,” admits AvroKO principal Kristina O’Neal. She and her fellow partners pulled in chickenwire glass for new transoms, and even the lobby’s literary bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The mailboxes are styled as a card catalog, with paper labels referencing 60 winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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Finishes and light fixtures are new, including the pendant inside a model apartment’s home office. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

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Ceiling paint extends 24 inches down the 13-foot-tall bedroom walls. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

An old-school ledger that came to light during demo now decorates a model apartment. BHDM Design humanized the institutional-scale spaces in another model using color and art. Terra-cotta ceiling paint works like a frieze, extending 24 inches down the top of 13-foot-high bedroom walls. “The very tall ceilings could have felt cold,” notes BHDM principal Dan Mazzarini. Simple frames contain the hallway’s cut watercolor-paper compositions created by the interior designers in homage, perhaps, to a century of construction paper, and paste.

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Living space in a model apartment. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

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Kitchen in a model apartment. Photography courtesy of Gotham.

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