Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stepping Back in Time...

Last week I had the chance to do just that and it was wonderful...

I got an email from a woman who wanted me to stop in for a consultation on her space. She was lucky enough to inherit an apartment on 5th Avenue in the low 70’s from her Aunt who had owned it for many years. She is looking to update it but also wishes to preserve the original ambiance.

I was excited from the instant I entered the lobby - lovely tall iron doors lead into a beautiful and very elegant space. In the elevator I was already imagining what it would be like upstairs….

From the moment she opened the door I felt like I had stepped back in time. The apartment was in well preserved estate condition – beautiful herringbone and parquet floors, generous sized rooms, built-ins, long hallways, high ceilings and big windows. It felt like a real home in a way old spaces do that were designed for families and their staff. Originally there was only one apartment per floor, where now there are several.

The entrance was a room not a hall. The kitchen was eat-in. The cabinets went up to the ceiling with original appliances including a huge porcelain sink with a built-in drain board. The bathroom was wide with a giant window above a beautiful old bath tub – a timeless luxury.


BUT one of the best parts of the apartment was completely unseen…

In the long hallway leading to a service entrance there were 2 closets. I asked how deep they were to see if we could possibly reinvent the space. She said I would be surprised, and behind a rod of hanging clothes was narrow space with 2 small rooms on either side. Secret rooms - I was stunned and thrilled. If you removed all the walls and doors you would have a very nice sized room – perfect for guests or an office. I have always dreamed about found space - literally. I wake up now and again to remember a dream I had where I found a room I never knew existed – a very common NYC dream apparently. I always feel a little like I am experiencing going through the back of the wardrobe in the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Seeing this was amazing.

Many of her Aunt possessions are still there, and she told me she had found some of her Aunt's original sketches of ideas for the apartment. Although she is excited for a fresh look, she is also worried about the change. I believe she is doing the right thing for herself and her Aunt by bringing the place back to it’s original splendor. I’m so excited to see what she does with the apartment. It already has lovely bones throughout, so all it needs is a little prettying-up. This space was a gift to her – and what a gift it is. Just seeing for me was a dream….

In leaving I also enjoyed the walk up to 79th street as the buildings on 5th are beautiful and even prettier decorated for Christmas. This is the season of gift giving and I couldn’t help but think that someday Aunt Kelly’s apartment (mine), like hers, will also be a gift to another very lucky someone...

5 comments:

MaryBeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaryBeth said...

What a lucky woman and lovely story. Hope to see the finished apartment someday. MB

Dream Mom said...

Oh, how exciting! And the secret rooms are just too cool. I have often fantasized and dreamed of secret rooms. Too bad I couldn't be a fly on the wall for the walk-through. LOL!

That would be great to inherit a place like that. I am glad she just wanted to spruce things up and preserve the integrity. I always shudder when people want to remove the historical architecture today. I hope you show us pictures when you are done. That would be some great before and afters.

Cuquita said...

Common dream? I thought I was the only one that dreamt about hidden rooms. As a young girl I would dream of hidden closet rooms that I would hide in and play with my dolls. Similar dreams continued to adulthood, I take it as a sign that a huge apartment is in my future!

Kelly Giesen said...

Funny I have been having this for years since moving to NYC - its fun to see others have it too... Crossing my fingers for a huge apartment also in my future.