This dreamy West Village townhouse is all about thoughtful and personal design choices
On a leafy stretch of New York’s West Village, there is a 1901 Georgian-style townhouse owned by a famous music director and his wife, the auction house manager. It’s steeped in themes of flourishing and growth, which makes sense, given his expertise in educating and cultivating creatives, and the fact that the couple have acquired the home for their growing family.
Both wanted to preserve elements of the previous owner’s renovation – done by AD100 architect Steven Harris – but felt the townhouse needed some practical renovations (think extra storage). They also wanted to put their own stamp on the house as a bespoke yet unexpected space to socialize with family and industry friends.
To bring their ideas to life, the couple called on an architect Friend Sachs, who had recently started her own practice after years with the firm of Annabelle Selldorf. Designate Penelope August (another one Selldorf Architects former student) collaborated on the furnishings and finishes. “The client had a very clear idea of how he wanted his family and guests to experience home,” says Sachs. “He was interested in creating spaces that were conducive to gathering and conversation.
After falling in love with his job at Paul Kasmin Gallery, the owners commissioned artist David Wiseman to create the ultimate dining room conversation piece, visible as soon as you walk through the front door. The installation – a tree-like bronze and porcelain light fixture that climbs the wall and ceiling, teeming with a profusion of porcelain flowers – is a statement of whimsy and romanticism. It hovers above the dining table, which is bordered by a curved bench seat covered with Jiun ho green velvet and surrounded by Gio Ponti and Pierre Jeanneret chairs. It is a place that is suitable for both intimate family dinners and evening celebrations with guests. That is, if they haven’t retreated into the comfortable front bookcase, which features chrome and velvet Cy mann chairs and a bar jewel lined with celadon limousine fabric from Gretchen Bellinger.
Throughout the townhouse, Sachs and August used an intentional, unified palette. The owners had returned from a trip to Kyoto with ideas for the blossoming flowers and a piece of plum red silk cordon that turned out to be the inspiration behind several elements, including the shadow of the moiré silk wallpaper. which lines the closet in the entrance hall. This same color winds its way up the stairs in a wool rug and is reflected in the luxurious felt curtains in the master bedroom. More subtly, it can also be spotted in an inlaid mohair panel atop the personalized dressing table. “Customers advised well, but also left a lot of room for ideas and development,” says August.
The lower floors are anchored in the greens of the rear garden (updated by Michael Franco of the firm Blue plant), which features an ink koi carp pond with a floating marble walkway and towering bamboo wall. On the garden level, there is an inviting living room with mid-century sofas oriented around a clean white granite fireplace and a custom desk designed by Sachs. Flanking the desk is a pair of solid white Wilson Audio Watt speakers. The adjacent kitchen-diner is fitted with limed oak cabinetry and a mossy green tile backsplash.
The master suite, which overlooks the garden, was inspired by the idea of a pale rose. Burgundy felt curtains and walls dressed in blush Savel inc. cotton velor provides a pink backdrop for a white wool terry bed and a vintage Paul Mathieu bench by Ralph Pucci. The main bath, meanwhile, is an expanse of luminous Rosa Portogallo and Rosa Aurora marble from Stone ABC. The shared dressing room, which joins the bedroom and the bathroom, has open shelves in warm limed oak and a central dressing table with a burgundy mohair top and Ted muehling buttons. Everything is dominated by a vintage Paavo Tynell “starry sky” ceiling lamp.
The other three existing bedrooms in the townhouse have been reconfigured into two more spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a utility room in between. To complete the floral theme, a Clarence House Crewelwork floral covers the headboard in one room, while a blush velvet covers the headboard in the other, so many choices considered by the husband. “He was really interested in doing things right for his family,” August says. “It was really nice to see how much he cared for him. He went with me to do the stuffing and sat on all the cushions.
While most of the residence is anchored in ideas about the garden, flowers and greenery, the top floor is a connection to the sky. Recognizing the enormous potential of the once unused space, they transformed it into what, according to Sachs, the owner cheekily called “my own Barcelona lodge”. Creamy veined and sandy limestone traces the north and south balconies. Colors change with the changing light: fresh and dreamy on winter mornings, warm and golden at sunset. It’s the perfect space for a family movie night or a nightcap with old friends, followed by meandering conversations that stretch until dawn.