Family Apartment

These Manhattan clients, art collectors and parents, acquired a 3000 square foot apartment in a particularly charming prewar building on lower Fifth Avenue, having already inhabited a smaller apartment in the same building. The new space, which required gut renovation, provided an exceptional opportunity for a more serious display of their collection of modern and contemporary drawings.

Capacious closets were plentiful; suddenly there was room for amenities such as a laundry room, central air conditioning, an office-cum-playroom which doubled as a guest room, two full baths and two half baths. Glenn also renewed much of the architectural detail in the apartment: crown moldings, baseboards and door casings were all painstakingly recreated.

The most striking attribute of the apartment was its abundant and spectacular views of Greenwich Village, seen through beautiful original steel casement windows. The dining room, in particular, comprised a large loggia with windows on three sides. So immense was the dining table designed by Gissler, that its top, made by Tucker Robbins of reclaimed wood, had to be brought in via crane!

The master bedroom encapsulates the clients’ eye for art and decorative accents. The pencil drawing above the bed is by Alan Saret; the embroidered throw on the bed is a Suzani from Uzbekistan. The Liberty “Thebes” chair is a Gissler hallmark, a seminal work of decorative art which appears in several of his interiors.

The master bath is a lean yet luxurious jewel box of satin nickel accoutrements and beautiful black mosaic tile, laid out in a design that expands the length of the room. Mirror panels in the deep set window bring in more light and view; the light fitting has an antique milk glass shade with Edison bulbs.

In the entry, the rustic paneled cabinet is from Mexico; the lamp is crafted from a turned wooden urn with a pair of handles in a modern silhouette. The Egyptian-inspired drawing is by Nancy Spero; the ink drawing by New York artist Beth Dary. The candlestick is by Christopher Dresser.

In the living room, two fine French art deco chairs, reminiscent of the faceted designs of Pierre Chareau, are from Maison Gerard, NYC. They reside with a collection of framed works on paper displayed cleverly along rails built into the wall.

In the hallway, a 19th century chair is paired with a large drawing by New York artist Karin Davie. The silvery urn at the side is a large mercury glass vessel.

In the foyer, an antique console is arrayed with glass vessels and an African mask; above hang works on paper by Jonathan Borofsky, Gordon Matta-Clark, Merit Cohen, Robert Smithson and Lorna Simpson.

The newly built curving stair wrapped in cerused oak paneling, appearing as if it had always been a part of the building. An enormous custom Lindsey Adelman chandelier hangs dramatically in the large curved volume.

In the living room, an array of 20th century classics is set out with variety and verve. At left, a pair of ‘Klismos’ chairs by Robsjohn-Gibbings vies with two leather Arts & Crafts stools, and an English club chair upholstered in red Manuel Canovas fabric.

In a corner of the living room, abutting steel casement windows provide spectacular views of downtown Manhattan. A chair with sinuous wooden arms contrasts with the geometry of the windows. The owners’ cat naps on an elegant chaise longue.

Bookshelves line the dining room, which opens onto the living room and its magnificent views.

In the dining room, a modified antique gas chandelier casts a glow over the custom table crafted by Tucker Robbins of reclaimed wood. It seats fourteen. The mid-century Austrian chairs with pierced slats were designed in the 1950s for Vienna’s city hall, and were bought from Kimcherova. .

Books constituted a major aspect of the clients’ collecting activities, and shelving for them was a major architectural feature of the apartment.

Art pervades the kitchen, with a large drawing by Donald Baechler.

Expanses of sparkling white “subway” tiles create a pristine backdrop for the splendid stainless steel double-oven range and crisp millwork.