Living in New York is fast-paced, and exhilarating, and a dream for many, but for most people, it also means making a few sacrifices — like living in a teeny-tiny apartment with no outdoor space and a view of a brick wall. But just north of Madison Square Park, atop a historic building that dates all the way back to 1869, one family has it all — in a two-story penthouse with ample outdoor space and sweeping views of the city. Here's a look inside their dreamy, light-filled rooftop home.
The building is the Gilsey House, which was originally a luxury hotel, before it became a garment factory and then a set of artists' lofts. The architect (and resident) of the space is Jay Valgora (of STUDIO V), who purchased the top-floor loft 25 years ago. Searching for a way to maximize the space and carve out more room for his growing family, he seized upon a solution that many New Yorkers before him have embraced: building up.
After an arduous permitting process, Jay finally got the approval to expand his home skyward, breaking through the building's roof and adding a glass-and-zinc structure on the roof, which gives his home a second story and also a third-level rooftop terrace, which forms a sort of outdoor living room.
On the lower level (the home's original floor), the ceiling in the living room now soars to an impressive 24 feet. The voluminous room takes advantage of that vertical space with a full-height wall of bookshelves, provided with a ladder of course, that's like something from Beauty and the Beast. A staircase leads to the upper levels, and tall windows frame views of the Empire State Building.
Upstairs are bedrooms for Jay and his wife, and for their two young sons. The master bedroom has a sliding wall which opens it up to a garden terrace, on the building's original roof. There's also a wet room, or a shower with a tub inside, where one can soak with a view of the city.
Want to see more? Check out the full tour on Dwell, and prepare to be very, very jealous.