Unlike the “Central Park West” project in The San Remo, only the lobby, facade, and the building itself were landmarked. The interiors could be changed and renovated. So, we didn’t have to worry about dealing with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and could work without special permits and approvals.
The clients wanted to bring the apartment back to its original splendor, keeping the beautiful classical architectural details while making everything look new. This is where the question of cost came in. It is often less expensive to build new when it comes to prewar buildings due to the time and expertise required for this type of restoration. However, in that cost savings, you lose a good deal of the old-world charm, as many of those details cannot be replicated exactly.
After many discussions, the clients chose to allow us to restore the existing classical details, including the crown and base moldings and wainscoting throughout the apartment. Along with the refurbishment of all the molding details came the repair and painting of all the base walls and ceiling. There were over twenty five years of different colors of paint that had to be removed, so the walls needed a complete overhaul consisting much scraping and of multiple layers of skim coating. The painting and restoration of the molding details took over six months of full-time work.
Another big job was stripping the original built-in all-to-ceiling cabinetry. When we got down to the raw material, we found this glorious antique oak, which we oiled and brought back to life. We also were able to restore all the herringbone wood flooring with ebony outline tracing inlays.
As for decoration, one of the crown jewels was the acquisition of a spectacular antique Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier that we placed in the dining room. One the biggest decoration challenges ended up being how to give the place enough light while still keeping it private. The apartment was on the top floor of the building, so a lot of sunlight came in through all the windows. Unfortunately, the apartment was also directly across from another one, which you could see right into. The solution came in the form of two layers of Parisian silk fabric: the first layer being balloon Roman shades, and the second being floor-to-ceiling straight flowing sheers. Together, the layers were opaque enough to act as curtains while still allowing a great deal of dynamic defused light into the apartment. The clients loved that the draperies were as beautiful and elegant as they were functional.
The duration of the project was eighteen months.
Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York
Construction & Installation