An Archetype Design Studio town house project in Harlem, known as Strivers Row or the St. Nicholas neighborhood, has all the hallmarks of a momentous restoration. Historic documents about the neighborhood and homes there tell a compelling story. Built in the late 1890s (between 1891-93), they were ahead of their time in many respects, offering amenities not found in Manhattan in that era.
Chief among those were private stables in the rear of the homes with wide alleys that accommodated two lanes of carriages. The historian Michael Henry Adams has written extensively about the area in his book “Harlem Lost and Found.” Originally settled as a Dutch community named for Haarlem in the Netherlands, the area became home to wealthy and famous Americans like Alexander Hamilton. Fast forward to the 1920s and Harlem became the center of African American life in the United States, often called the “Harlem Renaissance.”
The town house that Archetype Design Studio is renovating belonged to one family since 1952. It had been used as a single family dwelling at one time but had become a multi-family home in recent years. The plans are to restore the house as a duplex but with the possibility of also using it as a single family home. Common to New York City town houses, the basement or cellar is used as a primary living space. Those first two floors will become one 1800 square foot unit of the duplex with its own entrance. Above will be another home with the living room, dining room, large galley kitchen and a powder room on the parlor floor (2nd story), and two floors above will contain bedroom suites, laundry and a sitting room/library/study. There will be a roof deck over the double garage and another deck off of the Master Bedroom suite on the third floor.