When the stars align in real estate heaven, magic can happen. Our clients were cold called by a clever broker who had a pocket listing that he thought might catch their fancy—it sure did!
The house was built in 1913, a glorious pile of brick in the Georgian style, elegant and large, imposing but not overwhelming. It was perfect … except for its condition.
We took on a top to bottom renovation, with an eye to restoration where possible. Air conditioning was installed where there had been none, all the original plumbing and electrical was replaced, and a geothermal system looks to the future of our planet. A 1970s addition was razed, and a new pool house entertaining structure was added. New bricks were painstakingly made to match the old, and the house was shown the respect it was due.
Entering into the foyer, you step onto the original marble checkerboard floor, which was lifted numbered and meticulously reinstalled. The elegant plaster detailing surrounding the room is all new—based on the original—but with improved proportions. This room announces the aesthetic direction throughout the house: a mix of the old and the new. Pairs of gilded antique mirrors and ruby glass sconces hang augustly above sleek consoles by Hervé Van der Straeten. Across, a supersonic bronzed swoop is a piano, by London’s Based Upon. An iconic Roy Lichtenstein painting is a summer dream; sailboats and sunshine, rendered large, bold and modern, and a Calder mobile soars like birds.
On either end of the foyer, a pair of French polished mahogany doors lead to the entertaining rooms. The living room is a glorious long room, centered by the original mantel, and arranged with three seating groups. At each end, custom sofas and lounge chairs are complimented by Art Deco chairs, and English antiques. The arrangements are mirror images, so that the symmetry is broken, and the eye travels.
The eclectic mix includes antique Indian elephant stools, Tang horses atop Regency Consoles, contemporary cocktail tables and a striking console from Hudson Furniture, tell a decorating tale not bound by culture or time. An enormous rug—an Alpha Workshops design by Edward Fields—is the warm glowing peach that envelops the room. This mellow color is tempered with shades of blue, including on the 1970s Vladimir Kagan tete-a-tete that anchors the room and brings everything together.
The dining room at the opposite side of the foyer, has paneled walls lacquered in marine blue. The style recipe here mixes a traditional table and sideboard, transitional chairs, a sparkling chandelier and an antique carpet. The art and sculptures are all contemporary, with a Gerhard Richter over the fireplace, a Linda Benglis on the sideboard, an Anish Kapoor above a cabinet and Jeff Zimmerman snake candlesticks on the table.
The library was wrapped in lustrous mahogany paneling, inset with parchment clad bookcases to lighten the effect. Furnishings include a cozy fireside grouping of chairs, a card table that does double duty for dining à deux—or six when its top flips and rotates—and an antique game table. The Art Deco and contemporary chairs sport tactile fabrics in vibrant reds. Let the games begin!
The sunroom is off the living room, and flooded with light from French doors on three sides, which opens onto the terrace beyond, as do all the rooms on the ground floor. The client challenged us here, “We will have so many places to sit. What else can we do besides sofas and chairs?”. As if Mame Dennis invaded our psyches, we said let’s hang swings in the corners. And thus, two steel hammocks are the perfect place to while away a little time. Sleek ebonized rattan chairs are sculptural line drawings, and their sunshine covers connect to the dashes of saffron in the living room. The geometric pieced cowhide Kyle Bunting rug is an energetic, yet practical, floorcovering.
The kitchen is practical but chic, chic, chic. A meandering snake of a center island, 27 ft. long, is composed of chiseled grey washed oak, espresso stained walnut, and topped with poured purple flecked terrazzo that climbs off the floor and up the waterfall sides. The white painted cabinetry is a clean and modern take on the traditional, accented with inset panels of violet back painted glass in one area. Backsplashes in lilac carry the color through.
An intimate lounge off the kitchen is paneled in vertical planks of the finest white rift oak—a highly elevated take on a 1950s rec room. Leather chairs by Soane, a biomorphic molar of a cocktail table by Les Simonnet from 21st Gallery, and a vintage 1970s lamp are smile worthy.
The second floor is filled with joyous bedrooms, studies, baths and dressing rooms. The main suite is awash in orchid with kumquat accents, and has glamorous his and hers baths and dressing rooms.