A Sophisticated Renovation of a 19th Century Manhattan Town House
Architects Anne Marie Lubrano and Lea Ciavarra are known for taking a restrained and thoughtful approach to the spaces they design. "Our attitude is that materials should be honest, resulting in a space that presents itself as simple, comprehensible, and ultimately soothing," Lubrano says. And that was precisely what guided their transformation of a three story, 19th-century town house in Manhattan.
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The client, an investment banker and art collector, was first introduced to the firm’s work through the Howard Greenberg Gallery, a place she frequented and that Lubrano and Ciavarra revamped in 2002. "She loved the renovation, specifically the warmth of the materials and the lighting system," Lubrano says.
The client wanted an austere space to allow her paintings to shine, room for entertaining, and to retain select period elements. In the powder room, a monolithic sink, made from Alabastro marble purchased at Stone Source, holds court with an original ornate marble fireplace. "We treated the historic details as works of art and fell in love with their sinuous and mottled beauty," Lubrano says. "The preserved elements became independent pieces—commentaries of a past life."
At just 15 feet wide, the town house is quite slender. Lubrano and Ciavarra devised subtle interventions to usher light through the space. A skylight in the sleek, glass-clad master bathroom, which is located near the house’s center on the third story, allows light to enter through the middle of the structure. "First and foremost, bathrooms need to function, but then they need to transcend," Ciavarra says. "Our work always tries to create an expansive feeling—open, clean, and well-planned."