Controlled voyeurism took over New York City this past weekend as Dwell and New York Magazine hosted the very first City Modern Home Tours and opened up some of the Big Apple's most opulent homes up to curious cats like us. Oohs and ahhs abounded as visitors padded around hard-wooded corners in their blue sanitary booties (hey, you wouldn't want hundreds of people scuffing up your floors either, would you?) and admired fantasy features like seemingly endless walls of built-in storage, an indoor koi pond, a green-walled living room, giant windows and more terraces than we could count. We were also pleasantly surprised to learn that most of these dream homes also boast sustainable features like low-e windows, planted facades, solar shading, double windows, vintage and reclaimed materials and more. Step into our gallery to take your own little tour through these truly spectacular and inspiring Manhattan lofts, triplexes and townhouses.
The Union Square Duplex
Kate and Daniel Wadia wanted their double-level Fifth Avenue apartment to look like a “little house in the sky” and after stepping into the light-as-air duplex, we congratulate them for accomplishing their goal. Joseph Tanney and Robert Lutz of Resolution: 4 Architecture helped the homeowners achieve their vision of an open space in many different shades of white, and the final result is surprisingly functional (you’d never know by looking at these pristine pics, but the Wadias have two small children!). In addition to being gorgeous, the home also features glazed windows, an energy-efficient HVAC system and the architects made use of the pre-existing floors.
Mrs. Wadia found this chair at a fleamarket in France and transported it back to NYC with her as part of her luggage. She then had the chair reupholstered with a striped Missoni fabric she chose herself.
A small area on the lower level of the apartment in case you get winded by the stairs.
The Chelsea Triplex
Tamara Hubinsky and Adam Bremner were in the midst of planning a few small renovations on their landmarked Chelsea co-op, when they found out that the unit right next door to them was up for sale. Recognizing a great opportunity when they saw it, they brought in designer Alex Scott Porter to transform the two separate apartments into the 3-level home of their dreams. Now the beautiful and functional family home is a cozy place to get away from the buzz of the city and also incorporates green features like reclaimed wood, cork flooring, vintage decor, passive solar design, natural materials and double windows that keep out noise and regulate interior temperatures.
Bremner and Hubinsky’s son officially has the best kids room we’ve ever seen. It has a nature theme complete with a loft bed, a tent canopy and squirrel pillows.
One of the Chelsea Triplex’s three terraces.
The Townhouse at 41 Bond
41 Bond St.’s greenery-adorned facade is just a hint of what lies within. Entering the building’s posh but modest lobby, you would never imagine such an expansive home inside. Designed by DDG, the double-level townhouse opens up to a 50-foot-long great room with a panoramic view of a 1,700 square foot backyard, and feels a world away from the bustling NoHo neighborhood that envelops it. The artfully decorated home features handmade American furniture by BDDW and ethereal light fixtures made in NYC by Lindsey Adelman. 41 Bond also boasts a green roof on its top level to reduce stormwater runoff and save energy on heating and cooling.
The townhouse’s windows are shaded by a living curtain that will eventually serve as a privacy screen once it grows thicker.
Funky art and poppy accents differentiate this space from the more subdued upstairs great room.
The Flowerbox Duplex
The tour took us far, far to the East Side of town, but it was worth it to be able to enter the Flowerbox Duplex, which was the most unique one of the lot. Inhabited by a young family of four and designed by Jon Handley and Melissa Baker of Pulltab Design, the 2,400 square foot apartment greeted guests with, what else, an indoor koi pond. Upon transcending a few steps into the living room, another surprise element – an elevated half wall of living ivy – beguiled visitors with its unexpected leafy facade. Don’t forget to click through our full gallery to see some of the other treats the Flowerbox had in store on its second level.
Excess water from the living wall drips down into the koi pond.
The serene views from the back terraces are of the 8th Street Garden’s pond.
The Chelsea Townhouse
The Chelsea Townhouse had such a long line at its door, that we wondered what could possibly be so enticing that people were waiting half an hour to enter. Well, it turns out that Julian King Architect‘s thoughtful renovation of the pre-war home was well worth the wait. Despite being a historic building, the interior of the light-filled dwelling is almost museum-like in its elegant modernity but its seamless integration with a soothing backyard garden keeps it from becoming too austere. The home was remodeled with sustainability and waste reduction in mind with considerations like preservation and reuse of original plaster moldings and wrought iron grilles, the use of reclaimed brick and wood, installation of a new high efficiency HVAC system, a dual-flush wall hung toilet, bamboo flooring and LED light fixtures.
Ultra-modern accents create cool counterpoints for the historical features of the home.