Interior Design

We renovated a historic mansion for coliving — here’s how we did it


Our 15th coliving home in New York City is now open, but this one’s a little different. Common Grand is a beautiful, historic row house mansion, originally built in 1901 as a two-family home.

coliving grand

We turned this architectural masterpiece into a modern, coliving home while preserving its unique history, character, and ornate details. Here’s how.

Located in a historic district

Located on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, the home sits within the historic district of Clinton Hill. Large contemporary buildings, freestanding mansions, and revival-style row houses have distinguished the neighborhood since the 19th century. It was even listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Recently, across Brooklyn, there’s been a trend of renovating old brownstones into single or two-family luxury homes. Common, however, saw Common Grand as an opportunity to do the complete opposite — adding density and restoring the home’s landmark beauty.

Common’s Director of Architecture Jenn Chang explains that her team essentially turned the two-floor residence into one communal brownstone. They paid careful attention to all the requirements of the Landmarks Preservation Commission as well as the preservation of wood details and the brick masonry facade.

Restoring the historic facade

Common Grand now features a total of five floors of coliving suites, a rooftop patio, a community lounge, and an outdoor garden. Despite these changes to spatial distribution, much of the home was restored and even elaborated upon.

Jenn describes how she felt the history and grandeur of the home when she went onsite for the first time. “There were relics asking to be preserved and things that you just can’t create from scratch today, like the color penny tiles in the entryway and the two decorative columns that approach the staircase,” said Jenn.

coliving grand before

In the renovated Common Grand, you’ll find the original herringbone flooring on the parlor floor, extra large lights for the high and exposed ceilings, and intentional wood paneling and framing. Each architectural design detail was a conscious decision to highlight the authentic look and finishes of the historic home.

coliving grand before

Coliving details

Though we kept many of the vintage qualities of Common Grand, there are certain aspects we rendered to accommodate for coliving. For instance, we made the entire second floor — which used to be two large gathering spaces separated by a pool table — one communal point for our members.

What makes Common Grand special is its truly unique layout. Unlike other Common coliving homes, this two-mansion model is a much larger unit where the space distribution considers 23 people in total. The ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms is still ideal, and we made sure to provide plenty of room and storage space in the large kitchens.

coliving grand

But coliving aside, Common Grand simply feels like home. Other shared apartments are straightforward, and you feel isolated entering the shared hallway, the shared bathroom, and the shared kitchen. When you walk into Common Grand, you’ll naturally look for the coat rack, put down your mail and keys, throw your shoes off, and relax. It’s an intimate space, and we’ve designed it so that members can feel pride and identity associated with the physical environment.

To explore more of the home, visit

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