Inside Out: One Man’s Urban Retreat
Size: 4000 sqft, Renaissance Revival Townhouse
“The basement closed the deal for me because if that much care was devoted to its clean-up and preservation, imagine the attention paid to the rest of the house!” So said the new owner of this Stanford White palace in central Harlem when describing why he bought it.
Originally built to serve the middle class in 1891, this row of homes remained empty for almost 30 years after they were completed…
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A couple of years ago, one developer took an interest and painstatingly restored this townhouse to something very similar to its original grace. The current owner appreciates each of these details each and every day.
Considering his approach to design a “lifelong unconscious find,” the owner says he bought nothing but blinds upon moving into his 4 story building. For example, he had no idea 20 years ago, when he purchased a Renaissance Revival bedroom and dining room set at a Michigan family farm that he would one day live in a Renaissance Revival home in New York City. The pieces work so well in the home, that even the top of one of the bureaus was served perfectly as a fireplace guard in for one of the upstairs fireplaces.
Clearly, the owner integrated a bunch of influences when arranging his home. It is not just the breadth of interests but rather the relationship of each object to the next. 18th century silver co-exists happily with early 19th century furniture, 1960’s dishes, and 21st century paintings. The ease of access and the warmth of the host makes a visit both awe-inspiring and casual.
The owner’s main goal, as an artist, is to have the design of his home compliment his paintings. His second hope is that when people come over, they will want to stay a while. When the owner is in his house, he feels like everything is as it should be. One can’t really ask for more.
Years lived in: 3 months
My Style: timeless and easy to clean
Inspiration: Doing what makes you happy.
Favorite element:That it all makes make the art look good.
What friends say: “You live in a piece of a wedding cake”
Best advice: “At least try it for a while” and “when moving take a long time to pack so you can label everything carefully.”
Dream Source: Fulton Street (Lower Manhattan) between 1770 and 1840, a national center for furniture manufacturing–where one could get anything custom built.