“This project represents a true collaboration between the various trades and participants, which allowed this interior renovation project to achieve Enso. Enso is the Japanese word meaning ‘circle’, the absolute in strength, elegance and void.”
–Lilian Weinreich, tS member
This week we’re in the Upper West Side with new tS member and architect Lilian H. Weinreich to check out her recently completed gut renovation project. The 1,800 sqft duplex apartment was purchased by retirees Paul and Ellen, for its mesmerizing panoramic views of Central Park and close proximity to the Lincoln Center, as an urban sanctuary for their frequent visits to NYC. Some of the challenges of the project included the apartment’s low, 8-foot ceilings and the poorly constructed prior interior alterations that left only 30% of the interior non-structural walls and ceiling components usable. Lilian worked closely with the homeowners in creating their beautiful new home; the main goals of the project became integrating the interior with the exterior, as well as addressing sustainability and energy conservation.
We love the sculptural interplay that is immediately present upon entering the apartment — dropped ceiling planes lit with infinity edges, a careful use of natural light, muted tones and an open floor plan create a space that feels lighter, higher and more open. The lighting on the main level is a graceful combination of natural daylight, Ameico pendant lamps, Ardee ceiling-mounted fixtures and Iris square recessed low voltage lights. The walls and ceilings are painted with a custom mix of beautiful muted colors from Fine Paints of Europe that add to the stark beauty throughout the apartment.
A welcoming Noh mask, carved using traditional techniques from a solid-block of wood by the homeowners’ daughter, floats ethereally within a frameless glazed lit niche that gives the mask a mystical backdrop.
The Japanese inspired design is a reflection of the years the clients and their children lived and worked in Japan, becoming engrossed in the language and culture. Lilian worked closely with Ellen, homeowner and interior designer for the project, to create a detailed plan for the space that encompassed the ancient ideals of wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural aging and artful mending of damage), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety).
The all-new kitchen features custom cabinetry and gorgeous Madre Perola quartz slab countertops. New appliances include a built-in 30” Sub-Zero stainless refrigerator, a 30″ gas range by Blue Star, and a wine cooler by Marvel.
A really smart, integrated control system was installed which makes it easy to adjust environmental features in the home, for example, the lighting uses preset dimming to extend lamp life and save energy. The control system also adjusts the window shades and audio.
The new flooring, in solid North East American striated walnut boards, adds the richness and texture of a natural element which compliments the otherwise muted palette. The existing oak stair treads were salvaged, repaired, reshaped and stained to match the new flooring. The existing staircase steel runner and supports were also salvaged, stripped and cleaned for reuse.
The stairway harmoniously divides the home’s public and private areas. The lower level is one large, utilitarian open floor design, perfect for entertaining guests; whereas the upper level houses some of the more intimate spaces, including the master bedroom, master bath, guest bath and sitting area complete with a home office.
The master bath design captures a beautiful play of light and shadow, along with the use of natural stone and muted tones. The custom shower enclosure, flooring, and walls are finished in Calcata gold tile and Borghini marble slabs, and an oversized bathtub by Bain-Ultra features polished chrome plumbing fixtures from Hansgrohe Axor.
On the upper level, space flows from one room to another, around a central core wall. The home office features a custom curvilinear rosewood desk and matching shelf, as well as a custom stainless steel, wire brushed box shelf.
In the guest bathroom, the homeowners selected sea-grass granite slabs for a custom vanity with an integrated walnut drawer. Below the vanity, there is also a slated walnut shelf and stainless steel towel bar. The flooring and walls are Hastings Casamood Neutra porcelain and ceramic glass tiles.
Many thanks to the homeowners, Paul and Ellen, for sharing their home away from home with us, and to Lilian H. Weinreich Architects for doing such an amazing job transforming the space!
All images © Francis Dzikowski / Esto
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