This Lower Manhattan penthouse is no ordinary New Yorker’s apartment, and the fact that it cost $4 million is surprisingly not the pinnacle of it’s draw; this super contemporary place is living and breathing, even when there’s nobody home. The New York Times reported that property developer and owner Matthew Blesso, 35, put a $1 million dollar renovation budget into the hands of Yale professors Joel Sanders, architect, and Diana Balmori, a landscape designer. This open plan home became a 3,100-square-foot demonstration of nature meeting structure, by the lecturers of university course ‘Interface’ which explores the integration of their two professions.
With Blesso relishing the opportunity to learn how the processes merge together, the apartment was transformed. Bespoke wood furnishings and floors, beside specially commissioned site specific artwork, exist in harmony with unique installations of foliage and hidden drip irrigation tubes, like those found in the bathroom, where a mirror shines though a living wall of system camouflaging greenery, or the 50 sq ft of leafy lovelies that thrive on panels concealing a further irrigation network in the bedroom.
The realisation of this sublime scheme entailed an amount of trial and error, an example of which being the original plant choice for the vanity area in the bathroom, which proved to be quite a basin blocker with its tiny falling leaves that got stuck in the drain, and so had to be replaced with larger leafed specimens. It’s rather comforting to learn that even Yale professors embark on a little house renovation back tracking, just like the rest of us!
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Up on the roof as you climb the dramatically angled bulkhead, by the lush planted beds on the pinnacle of the rooftop garden, don’t forget to pick from the mint crops to make a cheeky Mojito to sip as you take in the awesome views of the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges; then enjoy dinner from the stainless-steel outdoor kitchen, before catching a movie on the outdoor projector screen, or some relaxing bubbles in the hot tub. Sigh.
Although the master bed appears alarmingly public through sliding glass panels, a huge privacy shade can be dropped, and in the bathroom, a simple button turns the glass walls opaque to appease that shy bladder. With all of these open plan options, being home alone must be a rather liberating experience!
Forest Stewardship Council certified tajibo wood spans the floors, and a 23-foot-long slab of walnut forms the dining table. Behind a dividing fireplace, this lounge floor is a huge mattress that has been covered in matching fabric to the surrounding banquettes, creating a room you can fall into… and bounce up from!