House Tour: Charles' Perfect Garden Apartment

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Name: Charles
Location: Upper East Side
Size: 1100 sqft.
Favorite: That even though this apartment is smaller than his last apt, it feels bigger.

"What you see happened in one day!" When Charles explained to me that the movers arrived early in the morning and by late that same night, (not that much after midnight, mind you) the apartment looked as it looks today, I was truly in awe of this man.

Charles had been preparing for this day for a while, and had a clear idea of how he wanted his family's belongings arranged...

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...but it is still jaw dropping and impressive to say the least. Even if Charles told me the setup took months, I would be impressed. Every placement, every angle, every directed beam of light is complimentary, reveals an incredible sense of style, and seems to make incredible sense.

Charles says he finds the "low ceilings comforting, shady, and cozy." His last apartment was slightly larger but did not have an open floor plan and thus felt cramped. To enhance the impression of space as well as to create more usable space, Charles made two major improvements to the apartment before moving in. He had a nursery built for his infant and he had a deck built in back as a second dining room.

For the nursery, Charles identified a dead space in the corner of the front room and decided it wouldn't be missed if it were to be enclosed to create a bedroom for his child. "Once you give up the fantasy that your child is going to play in his room, it becomes much easier to build." Charles made a small room and kept the common space as large as possible so that the child could play in the presence of his parents. To integrate the room architecturally, Charles extended the crown molding and bookcases found elsewhere in the living room.

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With the addition of the deck, the kitchen became the physical center of this larger apartment. "We're cooking for people," says Charles. By raising the deck 3 feet above ground, Charles provided space for the roots of the garden's Catsura tree to spread below it; he "registered the space" from within the apartment; and lastly, he created great visual access to the apartment while sitting outside. This one design decision enhances both the outdoor and indoor experience as well as adding an additional 30% of usable space to the apartment.

The yellow tinted paint color is the same throughout and was custom designed to go with the art and to play off the varying shades of light found in the space over the course of the day.

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Originally Posted January 11, 2006

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