With one look at the shining casement windows, you know you’re in for something special at this redone townhouse on West 87th Street in New York, by Steven Harris Architects LLP. Those windows provide both light and views, cross-ventilation — and a touch of outdoor living, a combination definitely not easy to come by in an average city apartment! On the bottom floor of this townhouse, the “windows” are actually French doors that lead to surprises: on one side, a private lounge area, complete with cushioned chairs and a latticed wall; on the other, a compact yard with bistro-style blue wrought-iron chairs and a white table, paved with stone and shaded by mature trees. But outdoor living is only part of the attraction to this home; directly off the yard is a cheery kitchen, with a central island for plenty of work space.
When the weather is cool, light a fire, cozy up on the sand-colored sofa, and lose yourself in a book from the floor-to-ceiling oak shelves in an informal sitting room. Framed art gives the adjacent living room a sophisticated air; a contemporary woven-leather chair sits comfortably next to a traditional dresser. A sweeping white-painted staircase brings you to the next level, on padded steps with thick brown carpet; wood-grain paneling and vintage light fixtures warm a bath finished in fine marble and tall mirrors. Sleek bedside lamps highlight a textured headboard, while photographic art finds a fine setting on white walls. This renovation, done for a well-known author, is a perfect combination: old and new blended together with harmony, warmth, and class.