Architect Kathleen Kinan has been working hard to bring a a beat up old building on Grant Street back to life. After receiving a substantial NY Main Street grant from People United for Sustainable Housing, Kathleen was able to complete the project (or just about), in order to refurbish the structure, which is comprised of two apartments and a storefront. When I mentioned to Kathleen that she was helping to create a new frontier on the West Side, she corrected me by saying, "You can thank the businesses that stuck it out for all of these years - the barbers, the grocery markets, the hardware stores... those are the real heros of the West Side."
Kathleen has also got her hands full with a small building next door that is slated to reopen as Freddie J's: The Hut (see here
). But it's the old house where she is concentrating most of her efforts. The place was a mess until she got her hands on it. Taking inspiration from artists such as Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and infusing her green sensibilities into the structures, Kathleen is rocking the boat when it comes to redesign. She's using found and discarded materials. She's implemented a geothermal heating system that will save on energy costs, and solar panels are coming soon. LED lighting was used whenever practical. She purchased as many building supplies from businesses in the neighborhood, to keep it local. Kathleen also purchased American-made products whenever she could.
Between the original rear 1860's house, and the 1910 addition in front, she has her hands full righting all of the wrongs that have been done to the interior and exterior over the years.
Fortunately the bones of the house are strong, and there are some fascinating building elements that have been left intact - original plank and wood walls and floors in parts of the house, beautiful old porcelain sinks and tubs... "There are surprises everywhere you look," she told me. "I found treasures under the plaster and the paint. "Now it's a mix of old and new. I retained as much of the 1860's vintage as possible, and then added modern amenities, while paying respect to the house. There are awesome imperfections here. This mixed-use house has tons of character and will be a great addition to Grant Street."
Already Kathleen has been opening the doors of 197 Grant Street to the public, and she's doing it again this Thursday. She's inviting people to come in and take a look around, and at the same time she has invited some local artisans to show their wares in the space.
Realtor Larry Bartolomei wrote to me to tell me about what Kathleen has planned for the occasion:
All are invited to stop by 197 Grant Street this Thursday (12/20) from 3:30pm to 8:30pm for an Open House and Pop Up Shop event featuring creative gifts by local artisans AND tours of this beautifully renovated building rescued and brought back to life by talented local architect Kathleen Kinan. There will be something for everyone, whether you need to shop for unique and affordable holiday gifts or are interested in sustainable design and architecture.
Kathleen will be offering tours of her uniquely and sustainably restored apartments, truly an inspiration for anyone interested in saving old buildings in the Queen City. You'll be amazed at what Kathleen has accomplished here - a must see for anyone interested in architecture and preservation. In the storefront (soon to be Kathleen's architecture studio) you'll find wonderful hand-crafted goods made by talented (and fun) local artisans. Shop, browse, or just laugh along with us - merriment is the rule for the evening. We may even have refreshments and entertainment, so please stop by - we'd love to see you!
Participating Creatives: Arachne Designs (jewelry), Coyote Candles (candles & lotions), David Udin Pottery (stoneware), Mario Nunez Woodworking (boxes), My Cousin's Cookies (Santalos), Nature's Child & Sea Hag (jewelry & facinators), Tamaran Designs (knitwear).
^Photos are from the first Holiday open house that was held last Thursday.