Gentleman’s Pied-à-terre – Winter

New York, NY

A pair of 19th century Upper East Side townhouse apartments owned by an avid collector of photography were completely renovated and restored, with rich materials and exacting details that both reference and expand upon the original design. The reconfigured apartments feature seamless integrations of contemporary fixtures and appliances in ways that do not compromise their original details and historic integrity. Such elements as contemporary push button electrical devices are incorporated with antique lighting fixtures, existing historic plaster mouldings, and mantels. Other decorative elements were carefully conserved with the intention of maintaining their antique quality. For example, the apartment’s original wood slatted rolling window louvers were discovered after years of neglect, and restored to full functionality and prominence in the redesigned third floor apartment. Other contemporary interventions—such as the French polished satinwood kitchen and mahogany dressing room—are clearly new, yet harmonious with the overall sensibility.

Victorian period wallpaper and upholstered walls create a warm interiority in the 2nd floor apartment. Occasionally dense historical details are counterbalanced by the sparer aesthetic of the contemporary photographs hanging throughout. Rich crotch Mahogany doors, ornamental plaster and marble mantles are complemented by the industrial simplicity of Holophane lighting, Meljac switchplates, and a bolted steel structure supporting a loft above the master bathroom. With both apartments, every inch of available space was utilized, with a bevy of secret storage compartments cut into the cinder fill floor, nested behind door jambs, and hidden within bookshelves and radiator covers.

Structural Engineer: Murray Engineering (
Photographer: Seong Kwon (