Loft Peeping: 31 Harrison Street Townhouse

All photos by Alexander Severin Architectural Photography

A press release for the renovation of 31 Harrison, one of the 1820s Federal Style townhouses on the southside of Harrison stretching west from Greenwich, got snagged in my Google alerts and the Chelsea-based architect, Matthew Rauch, was good to get back to me and fill me in on the project. (Architects rarely do!)

The architects moved the kitchen to the front of the house, opening up the rest of the floor for a more generous combined open living and dining space; Created a playroom in the loft space up under the pitch of the roof (a hallmark of the Federal Style townhouse); and renovated the bathrooms with kids in mind, adding tubs and kid-friendly vanities and decor.

This from Matthew: “The original listing for the house is actually here. It was renovated in the early 2000s by an architect whose work I admire (Steven Harris). The renovation was beautiful and contemporary, but it just didn’t work for a family. I believe the previous owner was a photographer, and the house was really set up for him and his work.

All photos by Alexander Severin Architectural Photography

“In the old photos you will see how there was a gorgeous minimal Rosewood wet bar with a tiny little sink that basically functioned as the main kitchen for the space. It looked great, but the new owners were wondering, ‘Where are we going to put a microwave for the kids’ food? Where are we going to store the sippie cups?’ The top floor was an open studio in the vaulted ceiling space, with cork floors so we had to make the entire space softer yet durable and kid-friendly.

“Our renovation was about making the space fit a bit more with the historic character of the house and the neighborhood. We didn’t want it to feel like an art gallery. We stripped plaster from the chimneys to expose the original brickwork. We added trim and moldings to make if feel a bit more historical. Our kitchen renovation used shaker style panels with natural maple to add some classic character and charm. (The appliances came from Royal Green whose showroom is on Broadway.)

“The house was renovated during the height of the supply chain crisis so we had to change numerous materials (tiles, appliances, hardware) in flight because of crazy lead times. Also, the building is close to 200 years old so not a single surface was perfectly flat. We had to basically plan all of our millwork and trim details to account for the lack of perfectly level surfaces.”

The townhouse was once located on Washington Street, when Washington ran down that way, and was moved to Harrison in the 1960s when so many of those buildings were cleared for what would become IPN.



  1. Thanks for the feature!

  2. I love those townhouses. They remind me of Amsterdam. I hope they are protected from someday being torn down to put up a high rise.

  3. Looks beautifully done!