The purchasers of a house in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood needed to make immediate improvements to their new home, including replacing a non-functioning kitchen, adding a ground-floor bathroom for elderly visitors, and replacing collapsing steps to the rear yard. Project goals included increasing daylight, maximizing connection to the outside, and making full use of the tiny rear yard, including a mandate to utilize the space over the cellar hatch. This became a project feature: the final design for the backyard steps incorporated a “hidden” hatch lifted on custom-designed gas-spring-driven hinges to reveal the cellar door below. The new work was executed in a style in keeping with the original details remaining throughout the balance of the house. Energy-efficient lighting and materials with low environmental impact were selected.