This renovation posed the challenge of creating a serene, luminous pied-a-terre apartment in an existing two story space in which the principal living level located one-half story below ground level.
The apartment is entered from the building lobby directly onto the stair landing between the two floors of the apartment. The Living Dining and Kitchen areas are located on the larger lower level, which is one half story below sidewalk level. The experience of arrival at the entry landing from the adjacent dark paneled lobby belies this submerged location. Light wells up from the lower level, introduced through a large south-facing skylight which extends into the rear yard. The entry space, sheathed in sycamore paneling, connects the two floor levels, opening vistas through the apartment and distributing natural light to the interior bathrooms through etched glass partitions.
The apartment is designed for use during visits to New York by a single individual, a couple, a couple and guest, or a couple and their two young children. A sliding partition coverts the upper level bathroom from a single spacious bath with two lavatories a bathtub and a shower, to two self contained bathrooms with independent entrances. Likewise, a pivoting wardrobe cabinet converts the second sleeping area from a spacious guest room to two children’s bedrooms.
Similar transformable elements recur throughout the apartment. Appliances are completely concealed behind sycamore cabinets, allowing the kitchen to function as a serene background to the dining area. The simple island cabinet in the kitchen transforms into two corner chairs for adults and two smaller chairs for children.
The result is a flexible apartment which can accommodate a range of activities but effortlessly revert to a luminous, serene, contemplative foil for the stimulating environment of New York City. Designed in association with Maya Lin Studio.