Mclane-Ettinger Apartment


High above Gramercy Park, this two and one half story apartment faces southern views of the city. Originally two separate apartments, the new home for the a film producer, a theater set designer and their two children was to be an integration and weaving of the narrow, stacked floors.

Existing, traditional, wood moldings are juxtaposed with spare lines of well-crafted modern insertions. Simple, warm, tactile materials shape objects, make spaces, and frame openings to create an environment that is at once hip and comfortable and durable.

From the double height living room, a blackened steel stair with ebonized wood treads slips past a custom tinted plaster wall down to the bedroom level. The open stair rests in a stained wood cradle.

Above the living room, the glowing poplar and fiberglass ‘tree house’ provides a library and guestroom with a view out the artist’s garret window and down into the living room. It also is the sole fixed source of light in the living room, providing a lamp-like glow.

The kitchen is visible across a structural glass landing and through the large pass-through. Pendant lights dance up and down above the work and eating area. Analine dyed maple cabinets with oversized stainless steel drawer pulls cover the walls on each side or a lab top clad island; playful random pattern of oversized linoleum squares To accommodate myriad family activities in the kitchen, an upholstered built-in seating banquette and black lab top book case are located under a skylight at the west end of the kitchen.

In 1999, the clients purchased the apartment below. The renovation of that apartment included a playroom, bathroom, office, and bedrooms for three children as well as the extension of the blackened steel stair into the playroom, where the bottom landing acts as a stage for performances.

Organized vertically, the layers of family living are linked by a stair that brings theatricality and movement to the mundane components of daily life. Integrating elements of the traditional early 20th century structure with a modern, more open design strategy the design address the desire for intimate spaces, while responding to the varying needs of the family and the open panorama of the surrounding views.

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