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West End Avenue Renovation

New York City. Completed in 2007.

Located at the top of a landmarked building in Manhattan, this compact 650 square foot apartment has a 750 square foot terrace overlooking the Hudson River. Owned by a couple who live in a larger apartment 6 stories down, this apartment was to fulfill programmatic functions the downstairs apartment couldn’t: accommodate dinner parties of more than 6 people, be a guest house for visitors, house a library of books, allow more than 4 people to watch TV, be a quiet place to study and work, and act as a frame for beautiful views of the river.

The original apartment was a one bedroom, and we removed all interior partitions except the bathroom. A large Wenge table was placed at the very center of the apartment with a fold-up end to allow a path directly from the library/ guest room/ TV room to the living room. One side of the table houses a broom closet and bar with a drop-down serving table, the other is storage for books, ceramics, and guest’s clothes. Over the table is a ductless air conditioner and lighting, while under the table are drawers for cutlery and linens.

On one side of the center table is the library, with a corner book stand, a drop-down table for craft projects and a pop-up TV hidden in the cabinetry. The bookshelves frame views of rooftops and sky.

On the other side of the table is the living room, where we removed two small windows in the middle of each wall and installed a large steel-framed corner window that takes in the Hudson River view. A new fireplace anchors this room and provides a warm and cozy spot to sit when storms blow in.

The original small kitchen was expanded to include more work surfaces and a raised bar where people can hang out whilst dinner is being prepared. The soapstone counters are impervious to all staining, and honey-colored tiles help maintain a warm glow. The cabinetry throughout the apartment is made from prefinished plywood in 3 colors and 2 textures, with dark stained edges that heighten the planar quality of the construction.

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