High-End Contemporary Design in Historic Townhouses

High-End Contemporary Design in Historic Townhouses 534 800 k—da
137 West 13th Street Townhouse High End Contemporary Residential Development by k—da

High-End Contemporary Design in Historic Townhouses

How to marry historic fabric with modern charm.

New York City is a melting pot of culture, history, and innovation, and the city’s architecture reflects this diversity. Modern single-family townhouse renovations in New York City are no exception, as homeowners seek to marry contemporary design with the character and charm of historic properties. k—da, as a contemporary-minded design firm, specializes in marrying these modern design elements with the historic charm and history of New York City townhouses.  

137 West 13th Street Townhouse High End Contemporary Residential Development by k—da

Open and Airy

One of the most popular contemporary design trends in modern single-family townhouse renovations is the ‘open floor plan’. While this phrase is played out, the concepts behind it are still relevant.  Traditional townhomes are not large, typically only 20’ wide. These were traditionally designed as a series of disconnected spaces. Figuring out how to open the space up and connect these spaces provides a better flow, and access to natural light, making the space feel brighter and more inviting. It also creates a more social environment, allowing for easy interaction and conversation between family members and guests.

Creating this sense of openness and light is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of designing a luxury contemporary townhouse. There are many headwinds that, if not properly considered, can thwart these aims.  Properly considering the location and configuration of the vertical circulation (stairs and elevator) will be the primary driver of how open and connected spaces can feel.


While natural materials like wood, stone, and concrete are becoming increasingly popular in modern single-family townhouse renovations – we consider them timeless. These materials are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also add texture and warmth to the space. These materials if expressed intentionally and detailed properly bridge the gap between the old and new.


One of the simplest ways for your luxury historic single-family townhouse to feel new and modern is to incorporate modern technology.  A house is built not unlike a living animal, it requires energy, it needs to breathe, it has a circulatory system that brings in water and removes wastes.  It also can have a brain.  A smart home system not only can control your lights and speakers but can learn your habits to keep the house comfortable automatically by automatically adjusting blinds, heating, cooling, and lighting temperature.  Incorporating these ‘smarts’ into your high-end single-family townhouse in during the course of a luxury renovation is not difficult and will serve to make your historic townhouse.


Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration in modern single-family townhouse renovations. Homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint while creating a comfortable and stylish living space. Sustainable design features like energy-efficient windows, tight envelopes, highly insulated walls, heat recovery fresh air systems, low-flow toilets, and LED lighting can help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. New York City code has caught up with some of the more basic sustainability principles, but for those looking to truly create a house for the current times, there is much you can do. k—da is passionate about sustainability and has LEED and Passive House certified designers on staff.

Contemporary design trends in modern New York City single-family townhouse renovations are all about marrying the old with the new – and is an intensive effort that requires experience and design iteration to achieve. We encourage homeowners seeking to create a space that is both modern and timeless, preserving the character and charm of the historic property while integrating the latest technology and design trends, to give us a call to discuss your upcoming project.