Take In The Beautiful Park Views From This Renovated Manhattan Condo


Neutral living room with large...

A play of neutrals, the living room was designed to emphasize the views over Central Park. Subtle pattern comes from the Fortuny and Fermoie fabric pillows, the Donghia print on the chairs and the drapery trim.

Entry with dark walnut millwork,...

Gleaming walnut millwork and a custom leather-upholstered door offers a chic welcome in the entry of this Manhattan apartment. A table by Zhipeng Tan and a Lindsey Adelman Studio chandelier enhance the jewel-box ethos.

Cozy sitting room with lacquered...

The cozy sitting room is lacquered in a custom Fine Paints of Europe chocolate hue. A photograph by Jim Westphalen hangs above a sleeper sofa upholstered in a graphic Brunschwig & Fils textile. The Roman shade fabric is Hermès.

Living room with lacquered ceilings,...

From the lacquered ceilings and Venetian plaster walls to the silk rug from Beauvais Carpets, the living room revels in texture. Midcentury-style Italian armchairs echo the dark wood of the T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings tables. The chandelier and floor lamp are by Lindsey Adelman Studio.

Brass-fronted bar with octagonal sculpture,...

Near the brass-fronted bar is an octagonal sculpture by Anthony James that combines stainless steel, glass and LED lights. Upholstered in an aubergine-colored leather by Garrett Leather are Quintus counter stools.

Kitchen designed by Sam Mitchell...

Mitchell Studio brought together Calacatta Viola marble and high-gloss walnut cabinetry with gunmetal steel details for a dramatic contrast in the kitchen; a Gabriel Scott chandelier heightens the effect. The walls ovens and cooktop are Viking.

Primary bedroom with upholstered custom...

In the primary bedroom, designer Elizabeth Bauer upholstered the custom bed frame in fabric from Zimmer + Rohde to complement the Fromental silk wallcovering. Vintage Murano-glass lamps rest atop John Lyle nightstands finished in bleached parchment.

Dressing area with hand-painted panels,...

Hand-painted panels on metallic tea paper by de Gournay adorn the closet doors in the dressing area. Beyond, a custom armchair and ottoman in an Élitis textile rest on a Rosemary Hallgarten rug.

Set in an elegant prewar building on Fifth Avenue, the apartment had everything a couple seeking their first-ever Manhattan pied-à-terre could ask for. It was an easy drive from their home outside the city, close to their grown children, and, best of all, it occupied a prime perch overlooking Central Park, while the views south embraced both the Chrysler and the Empire State buildings. All it needed was a refresh. Or so they thought.

The ink had scarcely dried on their contract when the husband discovered the HVAC system was sorely in need of repair. And, after spending some time in the apartment, the couple realized the floor plan could be improved and the finishes upgraded. “We started thinking bigger,” the husband recalls.

For advice, the couple reached out to their friends Pam and Jon Schneller of venerable upholstery and furniture firm Schneller Inc., who suggested they contact designer Elizabeth Bauer. When Bauer came for a look, she was wowed by the stunning views. But something else caught her eye: the low ceilings throughout; the columns that protruded into the hallway and the living-dining room; and a disjointed layout that made the space feel smaller and darker than it was, thanks in large part to a 1990s conversion from hotel to condos. “I totally understood why anyone walking into the apartment would fall in love with it,” the designer shares. “But nothing was quite right. There was no flow.”

Bauer knew just who to call: architect Sam Mitchell, whose portfolio includes city renovations and custom homes from Massachusetts to Florida. Together, they studied how they could improve the layout, beginning with the foyer, whose window was unceremoniously tucked away in a broom closet. “You had this beautiful apartment with prime park views, and you walked into a wall upon entry,” Bauer recalls. (Another window in the primary bedroom was blocked by a massive closet.)

The hits kept coming when Mitchell, alongside his studio director, Bill Pollack, determined that the awkward ceilings and columns were part of the building’s infrastructure and couldn’t be changed. Their solution? To raise the ceilings where possible, lacquer them in a high-gloss mirror finish to create the illusion of height, and to encase the columns throughout with fluting that would lend a Deco-inspired flair. “I would never say that constraints are a problem—they take you places you wouldn’t otherwise go,” says Mitchell.

And so, what started as a simple redecoration project became a down-to-the-slab renovation. Fortunately, general contractor Eamonn Ryan was up to a challenge that included navigating a building without a freight elevator and painstakingly deploying an array of materials according to the design team’s specifications. Notes Mitchell, “The kitchen is 100% about the materials—there’s walnut, gunmetal steel, brass and highly figured stone. I’ve done dozens of projects with Eamonn and nothing is impossible for his firm.”

As the bones of the apartment were coming together, Bauer began devising a decoration plan that would enhance the panorama outside while creating an elegant, enveloping ambiance. The transformed foyer sets the tone for what’s to come. Lined in matte finished walnut millwork and lit by a sparkling chandelier, it’s both an entrance and a place to linger. In the living-dining room beyond, the designer employed a tonal palette of creams, whites and beiges popped with metallic accents. “I kept everything neutral so the four seasons would speak and become the art,” Bauer says. Even the walls, which are finished with Venetian plaster, impart a luxuriously subtle feel.

Freed from its view-obstructing closet, the reorganized primary bedroom suite is an event all its own, with silk de Gournay draperies of the same pattern as the wallpaper in the dressing room. “Even though it’s two spaces, there’s a beautiful flow and a softness,” says Bauer. And should the couple crave a respite from the abundant light and views, a secondary sitting room doubling as the husband’s office offers a cozy retreat with its dark chocolate-lacquered walls.

With an interior that’s at once luxurious and welcoming, the couple now has a New York residence that makes their city sojourns as special for themselves as they are for their guests. “The apartment needed a history,” concludes Bauer. “Through architecture and finishes we gave it a soul and a story.”