“A San Francisco family with a traditional 1920s house in Presidio Heights wanted something zippier for their New York pied-à-terre. Something more contemporary and bohemian; an apartment that was open, with lots of glass and a slightly edgy feel.”
With an entrance foyer, a long, well-lit gallery ideal for hanging art from the couple’s collection, a library that also functions as a television room, and two smaller bedrooms tucked away from the master, the residence conjures many of the features of a classic Park Avenue apartment. “It alludes to a formal way of living in a completely informal way,” Mindel says. Surprisingly, it also gives its owners an even more intimate awareness of the outdoors than they enjoy back in California. “You have a real sense that you are on an island,” the wife says. “Each season, there’s a different palette. In winter, there are sometimes chunks of ice floating in the river. It’s very serene, and yet it’s a very powerful interaction with nature.”
The family stays in the apartment during short trips of two to three days; the couple attend business and board meetings, then join the children for shopping forays and theater outings. “One of the first nights we were here, we all went out onto the green turf field of Hudson River Park with a soccer ball,” the wife says. “We can entertain, and we can have our kids doing homework at the kitchen counter. It’s so flexible.” In the open dining area, a laminated-walnut table by Martin Szekely can be combined with two smaller counterparts to reach banquet proportions—as it did for a recent Thanksgiving dinner. On more intimate occasions, a small Ettore Sottsass table in the living room seats four.
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