Kramer Residence


This duplex apartment, located on the top floors of a Beaux Arts townhouse on Manhattan's upper east side, had once been servants' quarters. The spaces were small and there was none of the architectural detail one would expect in a townhouse of such ornamental presence on the street. The renovation strived for elegance in means as well as result. On the first level, the redesign involved inserting two walls containing alcoves, entrances, and niches on either side of the salon. One wall accommodates the entrance foyer to the apartment, a sculpture recess, and a sideboard for the dining area. Opposite are the passage to the breakfast alcove, a door to a balcony, and a window.

The columned articulation and structural symmetry of the walls give the salon a classical character, while the materials and the details proclaim its modernity. Within the space, the salon is dominated by monumental fireplace that promotes intimacy by a subtle angling of its marble forms that draws one towards the hearth. Quiet grey wals reinforce the architecture; pearl-colored, silk curtains add opulence. The upper floor includes bedrooms and an outdoor, trellised version of the salon below. Designed as literal garden rooms with chair railings, a mirrored mantle-piece, and cornices, the two rooms are conceived as ideal structures inserted into the chaos of the city's roof-scape.

Year: 1981
Oscar Kramer, home owner
New York, New York

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