New Digs: Slow and Steady in East Kensington
Greg Charnock, a new homeowner in East Kensington, wants to create a house filled with meaningful moments. Charnock, a carpenter, designer, and plasterer (among other skills) studied architecture at Temple, and this training reveals itself while walking through his work-in-progress rowhome.
In 2016, Charnock worked with Solo realtor Jeff Carpineta to find the right house for the right price in East Kensington, a neighborhood Charnock has lived in for the past 8 years. Carpineta, an active member of the neighborhood, helped find a small home on East Boston Street. The house had been used as a rental property for several years and needed some upgrades. In a neighborhood increasingly filled with quick renovations, Charnock’s approach to home renovation stands apart.
Charnock works thoughtfully and methodically, reworking the house one room at a time. After reconfiguring the upstairs layout, Charnock added a new bathroom, tastefully adorned with marble subway tile and illuminated by a newly installed suntube. Light and windows play a central role in how Charnock organizes the space. He wants to guide the experience of the home along axes of light, and will tear out walls and roofs and doors in order to create these moments. His eyes widened as he talked about plans to install a skylight above the stairwell and create a James Turrell-inspired experience where light and color shift and change throughout the day.
The bathroom already looks great, but Charnock has plans to create a built in vanity and plaster the currently painted walls. The kitchen also looks cozy and inviting, but I quickly learned that Charnock, in a move that only an experienced carpenter could maneuver, created a “temporary” kitchen. “I’ll build out a proper kitchen in a couple of years” he remarks as he runs his fingers along the plywood countertops. In the 7 foot wide room which once contained both the kitchen and dining table, Charnock plans to install French doors which will fill the room with light and create an indoor/outdoor space with the backyard.
Charnock also pays careful attention to his environmental footprint. He mentioned “R-value” more times than I could count, and tries to salvage or reuse materials whenever possible. Shortly before I left, he gestured toward a pair of impressive marble slabs which he hoped to incorporate into a mantel and built in bookshelf. He said,“These have so much character”. Which truly, he could have said about nearly any object or corner or moment within his small and engaging home.
We can’t wait to see how he continues to transform this wonderful house.