All posts by Jeffrey Kamen

Vanessa Patisserie

JKA designed this patisserie located on a Landmarked block on the Upper East Side. As conceptualized by Marc Silengo and his wife–the baker, Magali–and in consultation with Juell Interior Design, we created a French bakery ala’ Marseilles that is at once clean and modern, but that also feels quite intimate with an old world flavor. The ambience, along with exquisite pastries, of course, draws a line around the corner of of eager customers every morning before the door opens.

Fred Perry Showroom, New York City

A new three-story commercial building attached to the rear of a 4-1/2-story 19th-century mixed-use building in the NOHO Historic District of downtown Manhattan. The project was designed in collaboration with James Kramek, Associate Architect, for an office suite. The roof and garden above the second floor connect this modern rear building to the historic residential building facing the street. Large skylights bring light to all floors and virtually every space; the combination of bamboo wall panels and floors, and the playful use of masonry units makes for an understated, sleek, and welcoming work environment.

Birch Coffee, New York, NY

The job was to convert a tailor shop into a coffee shop. Our client, Jeremy, is a passionate 39 year-old coffee roaster and co-owner of a local chain of cafes. He now oversees 10 of them. The aim, in each case, is to bring into the neighborhood a place to meet, study, or sit down with a cup of Joe in a setting that feels like its been there forever. Partitions and ceiling of natural wood, local store-bought hardware, and simple lighting are a few of the ways we were able to achieve our aim.

Edson Lane, Old Brookville, NY

A married couple needed to convert a small ranch house into a home that could accommodate their large and growing extended family.  JKA was asked to take over from a local Architect who disappeared as soon as approval was obtained and construction began. We completely redesigned the house: simplifying the forms, maintaining and extending original roof lines, integrating new elements with the old, and most importantly insisting that no decisions or changes be made without first going through us.  The result is a home that every day gives cause for family celebration.

Marine Boulevard, Amagansett, NY

A year-round cedar-shingle beach house envisioned as an organic extension of an early-1950s summer cottage pre-existing on the site. The new house is both broader and taller than the original and extended at least 100′ behind the crest of the dunes as new zoning required. The main house, garage, and storage areas take advantage of the sloping site. Hurricane proof windows strategically permit natural light and air into every living space and also open up to breathtaking views. The interior is designed so that the spaces flow easily into one another and allow for different degrees of privacy and social interaction, which was of primary importance to the client.

Bayview Ave, Brooklyn

A Neighborhood in Transition

The client requested more living space for a family of four along with Apollo, an extra-large dog. As the house was situated on the corner, we wanted to provide an inspirational anchor for a block conceived as part of a working class development comprised of 2-story houses. It was built on piles in sand during the 1980’s.  A vertical and horizontal addition grew from the house. We provided a new façade of corbelled brick to bring a new sense of texture and solidity to the house and to the neighborhood.  It was the first of its kind. And since its completion we other exterior additions and renovations springing up and emulating our design.

The interior plan is open and modern. Floating stairs with a single stringer connect four stories and are adjacent to a continuous vertical opening of glass blocks that filter translucent light.

Two years later we added a modern garage with a green roof deck that is integrated with the original house but completely breaks away from the restrictive mold of neighboring houses.  The garage doubles as additional entertainment space as it may be opened to the living room/kitchen area.

Gray Garden – Rockaway Beach

Bungalow Rebirth

The aftermath of hurricane Sandy presented an opportunity to redefine what it means to be a resident of Rockaway Beach. Rather than flee this storm-threatened area, hipsters, families, and entrepreneurs are flocking to this working class beachfront community. The few remaining bungalows on the peninsula provide a particular draw to these newcomers. In our project, the integrity of these 1910 bungalows is maintained as it meets the challenge of “tiny house” living. Large insulated sliding glass windows in were employed in order to maintain the open lightness while also allowing for expansion of private secure space. The enlargement is open and precisely constructed even as the existing structure maintains its organic feel. As a result, the summer bungalow has essentially become a “cottage” weatherized for year-round use.

A white-with-black-accent interior was chosen to contrast with exposed roof rafters and new traditional painted board and batten siding on the exterior. In combination with a next door bungalow, two bungalows joined buy beachfront landscaping reinforce the the old typology but also show the way forward in the Rockaway Renaissance.

Coral Gables Bungalow – Rockaway Beach

Bungalow Sister

This Bungalow –next to the “Grey Gardens” Bungalow– was renovated a year following the completion of that first one. Here was an opportunity to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The coordination of colors and the small space between these two one hundred year old bungalows establishes a dialogue and a direction that adds clarity to this project. The original structure remains exposed and intact as the entire house is weatherized for year-round use. The porch has been enclosed predominantly with large insulated sliding glass windows in order to maintain the open sense of light while also allowing for expansion of private and secure space. Sacrificing a small amount of storage, all the ceiling rafters are exposed in this project and a modern white on white interior further opens to create an illusion of far more space than 400 square feet would indicate. Like the first bungalow, this project keeps the integrity of 1910 seasonal structure and yet rises to meet the challenge of “tiny house” living. Two bungalows joined by beachfront landscaping will help show the way forward to better beachside living and the Rockaway Renaissance.

Hudson Street Entryway

The reconfigured entryway for a condo loft building (formerly New York Hospital until the early 1950s). Materials and details reflect the TriBeCa neighborhood’s industrial past, and the final design was well-received by the Landmarks Commission. A large custom skylight at the rear opens up what would otherwise be a dark, narrow space, beckoning the visitor to the entry door.


These are examples from a twenty-year collaboration with renowned sculptor and artist R.M. Fischer. Mr. Fischer works on a variety of scales, both public and private. In this case the architect’s job has been to help make Mr. Fischer’s sculptural visions a reality, through illustrations and technical drawings prepared during the initial creative phases of work.

Chinatown Federal Savings

A gut renovation of a four-story early 20th-century brick building in the Sunset Park district of Brooklyn, this is the third branch of a small family-owned savings bank. The client wanted a high-ceilinged, spacious interior with modern glass and metal surfaces that would give the feeling of a much larger building.