Back in April, I made mention of the Conover Cottages design competition, an innovative, preservation-minded residential restoration/renovation contest taking place in Brooklyn's Red Hook section, home to truck farms, zero-energy building projects, Kurt Vonnegut memorial composters, high-end green furniture designers, gorgeous garden centers, and last but not least, yours truly.
Located on a tree-lined cobblestone street, steps from the water, Fairway, Sunny’s, Botanica, the Waterfront Barge, Liberty Sunset Garden Center, and lovely public parks, gardens, and piers, these homes are located on one of the most desirable blocks in 'the Back' of historic Red Hook.But time has not been kind to the Conover Cottages. Their facades have been swathed in vinyl, and their foundations are distressed. The houses’ humble origins are evident in their low ceilings and sloping floors. It is unlikely that the original builders intended the homes to last for a century, but they have endured. Sensitive to the evolving community and its historic roots, we look forward to the rebirth of these beloved homes.Inspired in part by the Small House Movement, we invite our neighbors and the design community to contribute their visions of what the three adjacent homes can become; they will be renovated based on the winning plans. The designs should embrace traditional cottage style, but as with the original houses, each should retain its own character. Though the block is not restricted by any landmark status, our goal is to keep the spirit of the cottages intact while adding light, higher ceilings, and modern mechanicals.
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