Signs from the universe can take many forms. For instance, two bronze turkeys flanking the front door of a grand red-brick home in Bronxville, New York, were all it took for the new owner to know it was the one. “The first time I visited the house, I saw the turkeys and thought, ‘If this house is great on the inside, that’s it,’ ” she recalls.
Fortunately, it was beyond great. The historic 1930 dwelling was the work of renowned architectural firm Delano & Aldrich, whose more famous buildings include Manhattan’s Knickerbocker and Colony clubs and Oheka Castle on Long Island. The client, who lived in a duplex in Central Park West, along with her California-based son, had been hunting for a spacious residence that could also act as East Coast headquarters for their family. The picturesque plot, nestled in the embrace of Sarah Lawrence College, felt like it was meant to be.
The original architects’ penchant for symmetry and whimsy—seen in the home’s unique V-shaped layout, antique brick and ironwork, and elegant curved staircase—sealed the deal. But while beautiful, the almost-centenarian house needed some love. “The floors were out of level and much of the period detailing had been bastardized over the years. Our instruction was to make things right again, in terms of what was original, then add contemporary touches and modernizations,” says architect Michael Baushke, whom the son confidently enlisted after collaborating on his own San Francisco residence.
That brief kicked off a sprawling renovation laudable for its historical accuracy. Since existing hero features, like the oak flooring and slate roof, were past salvageable, Baushke sought out replicas. And throughout the abode, all doors and windows were replaced with new iterations replete with panes of restoration glass. “We tried to emulate the profile and the functionality of what was there to begin with—the detailing, the size, the way the windows and doors work, and in some cases, even the hardware,” he explains. General contractor Ian Hobbs admits that such consideration for the existing framework was no small feat. “The restoration glass truly gives it an authentic feel,” he says. “But, at some point, there had been a big shift in the building and the window openings were no longer plumb and square, so we had to work to patch them in without appearing crooked.”
“All of those elements were significant and really helped create that shell of, ‘Could this have been original?’ It set the stage for the decorating piece,” adds designer Melissa Lindsay, who teamed up with Baushke across finishes and architectural flourishes before implementing her fresh take on traditional. “I love the tension that’s created in a room when you have one style meeting another, unexpected style,” she says of the mix. “In her makeup area, for example, there’s a Biedermeier-style chair with an Art Deco-style vanity and modern sconces. It was all about creating the right balance of traditional and modern elements, and never having it feel fussy.”
Combined with streams of sunlight and verdant views, botanical motifs imbue the home with a tranquil, garden-like ambience—a theme the designer continued through materials. “There’s a real sense of bringing in that garden element with all the French doors and metal touches, like the bar stools and kitchen chairs in the breakfast area. It has an almost café-like or outdoor patio feel—that charm of not feeling too formal.”
Of course, the actual garden is also spectacular. Landscape architect Renée Byers preserved three majestic, heritage London plane trees, bringing them to life at night with lighting. Around the property, she used arborvitae and American hollies to create privacy and a painterly backdrop for a variety of perennials and flowering shrubs, while dashes of burgundy foliage, such as a Japanese maple and red-leaved perennials, harmonize with the exterior’s mellow brick.
When her son visits, the duo make the most of it. “We just love just hanging out in the library, sipping a glass of wine and having very long, deep discussions,” she says. “But we always get back onto the subject of how much we love this house.”