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AWARD-WINNING TOWNHOUSE TRANSFORMATION IN BROOKLYN


Pulled-in-place fluted plaster arched bar niche with a limewash finish by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata. Photo by Gieves Anderson.

The standout architectural move was the creation of a deep vaulted arch with fluted plasterwork detail in the middle of the parlor floor.Brownstoner, on the Boerum Hill Townhouse renovation designed by BAAO.



Guided by the vision of architect Alexandra Barker of Barker Associates Architecture Office (BAAO), our partner artisan Patrick Shoemaker created a fluted plaster arched bar niche that became a focal point of this 19th-century Brownstone renovation in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill. This inspirational project won a well-deserved 2023 NYCxDESIGN Award in “Townhouse Transformation” from Interior Design magazine.


Pulled-in-place fluted plaster archway with a limewash finish by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata. Photo by Gieves Anderson.

From the moment you enter the home you are greeted by curved elements both in the architecture and the decora welcome contrast from the classic box-like exterior of a Brownstone. Curves are echoed across all four stories of the townhouse, and notably with the pulled-in-place fluted plaster arched bar niche. It certainly draws attention, leading you from the playful parlor room through to the kitchen area that the deep archway so beautifully frames.


The recessed bar also acts as a transition from the neutral palette of the kitchen to the rest of the home that showcases a more moody scene with vivid pops of color. Per Alexandra Barker, "It’s become a strategy to create a deep threshold between the front and back to conceal functions that are necessary on the parlor floor but hard to find places for, like a powder room, closets, and sometimes a bar."


Pulled-in-place fluted plaster archway by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata. Photo by Laura Wheatley.

Creating pulled-in-place plaster flutes is an especially challenging feat to accomplish, as it requires the artisan to have immense focus and skill in order to pull such straight, consistent flutes inside a large curve. As Barker recognized, “The control needed was amazing. We didn’t want to have any wiggle in it.”


Regarding the process, a handmade custom tool was developed to produce flutes with a high curvature that still had a gentle look to them, in line with BAAO’s vision. Patrick Shoemaker’s team applied wet plaster to the inside of the arch and guided the tool through the entire curve. The process was repeated until each flute was shaped perfectly. Finally, limewash was painted over the plaster flutes for a matte finish that mirrors the surrounding rooms’ softer aesthetics.


1. Behind-the-scenes of the pulled-in-place fluted plaster archway process done with a custom tool. Photo by Laura Wheatley.

2. In-process pulled-in-place fluted plaster detail by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata. Photo by Laura Wheatley.


The result is a testament to the beauty that can be achieved with fluted plasterwork by our expert artisans, elevating the most ambitious designs around the world.


Closeup of pulled-in-place fluted plaster archway by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata. Photo by Laura Wheatley.




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