Henry Street Residence New York

5,000 Square Feet

A complete renovation of a five-storied 1850’s townhouse nestled in picturesque Brooklyn Heights, this landmark site was the last residence to be touched by Louis Comfort Tiffany, interior designer and creator of the well-known light fixture.

The house retains the original entrance of stained glass, mosaic marble, and gold leaf ceiling designed by Mr. Tiffany. Intensive repairs and reconstruction restored the historical integrity of the moldings and detailing, while new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, not to mention state-of-the-art electronics, transport the building into the 21st century.

The clients, though charmed by house, were modernists at heart and required a solution that would marry their love of modern furniture and decidedly untraditional bent for contemporary art with the Victorian architecture.

To resolve the dichotomy, the heavily articulated trim was painted a soft white color, reducing it to a simple, more modern, textural relief. The furniture and accessories were conceived of as a discerning, carefully edited collection of custom, antique, and vintage pieces spanning the breadth of the modernist movement, from the industrial revolution through to contemporary creations of today. This archival attitude towards the furnishings and the deliberate mixing of styles becomes a bridge between the architecture and the interior design.

A neutral palette ties the various rooms together with the more modern elements, while refined finishes including glazed linen and mother-of-pearl in the formal rooms, and the rougher finishes of sisal and sandblasted oak in the more casual areas, provide textural relief.

The “double parlor” living room, a peculiarity which features identical rooms with twin fireplaces, is linked by a continuous custom designed wool and silk rug, tête-à-tête sofa placed under the room’s conjoining arch detail, matching black lacquer credenzas and, as if made for the room, a Donald Judd diptych.

The formal dining room features a custom-designed twelve-foot coffee colored, rift-oak and patina bronze table, ivory shell chandelier, a vintage lacquered mahogany credenza and remarkable cut marble lamps. Also included in the renovation were a media room, library, study, nursery, kitchen, breakfast room, as well as bedrooms and baths throughout.

As with the furniture and accessories, the artwork is a curatorial collection representing a variety of schools and movements within the modern and contemporary periods — consisting of pieces by postmodern masters Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Fred Sandback, and Jenny Holzer; and contemporary works by Lothar Baumgarten, Julian Opie, and Thomas Struth. Relative newcomers, such as the Clayton Brothers and Ryan McGinness, round out the assemblage.

Henry Street Residence New York