Inside a Modern Manhattan Townhouse
In Manhattan, it feels like space is a commodity more precious than gold. With an average price per square foot of $1645, according to a report from Douglas Elliman Real Estate, one can only dream of owning a four-bedroom house with an outdoor area in the heart of the city. So when we caught wind of a development for brand-new five-story townhouses in the heart of the West Village, we had to find out more.
By Manhattan standards, this 4236-square-foot townhouse is a sprawling mansion. Part of the Printing House development, a former industrial building in the West Village transformed into luxury condominiums in 2013, this new phase involved ground-up design of two townhouses and three maisonettes located in the landscaped stables behind the main building.
We chatted with Andrew Kotchen, principal at Workshop APD, who oversaw the entire development, to find out every last detail of this impressive undertaking. Find out what $13 million will get you in Manhattan's most star-studded and coveted neighborhood—the Printing House townhouses are a lesson in luxury design.
"The space was designed with a young urban family in mind, featuring a mix of entertaining spaces and private retreats," explains Kotchen. "The style blends a modern aesthetic on the interior with an exterior that is reflective of the property's industrial roots and traditional neighborhood style of the West Village."
"The goal was to design modern, shared spaces with balance and flexibility of purpose," says Kotchen. "We call it 'contextual design' because our ideas are rooted in the property's surroundings." This is obvious from the first moment you walk in the door, where an entryway bench is framed by storage that transitions into the kitchen. On the left, an open space with dining and living spaces provides plenty of room to entertain or spend time as a family.
Kotchen's favorite part of the home? "The pair of Widdicomb-style slat-back lounge chairs in the living room from Eric Appel were a great find," he says. "Our interiors are often a mix of high and low, due to use and durability, but these chairs were a splurge that we thought really tied the room together." Another interesting finish in the home is the fireplace, which includes a reclaimed wood beam sourced from Brooklyn and accented with hand-oiled blackened steel.
The main floor's living area was designed to be able to host everything from dinner parties to children's playdates, and it features floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding doors, and plenty of space. "Because this home was furnished as a model unit for all of the new spaces off the mews, we wanted to keep within a neutral palette," explains the architect. "The lush landscape of the mews spoke to us, which led to the addition of green tones throughout the home."
"The master bedroom encompasses the whole third floor and features a large master bathroom with frosted glass panel walls to bring light through the office and sitting room against the windows," says Kotchen. The desk area, which doubles as an entrance to the master suite, is a taste of what's to come in this ultra-luxurious space.
The master bedroom features an extra-plush king bed from Restoration Hardware and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. "One of the challenges was working to achieve a sense of privacy when faced with urban proximity in this single-family home," says Kotchen. The families living in the maisonettes in the Printing House across the mews are a mere 28 feet away. To achieve this, automated curtains were installed—ones that still let light in but also provide complete privacy.
"One of the biggest challenges we faced with this project was figuring out how to maximize the light that enters the building with windows on only the east-facing elevation," explains Kotchen. "We used large-scale windows and interior glass walls to move the light through the space."
For the architect, a favorite part of this home is the unique use of space. "This project gave us the opportunity to look at classic New York life and use our lens of modern living to create a multilevel home that stays true to townhouse living while providing a luxurious space not often available in the West Village."
On the top floor, a sunroom provides an extra entertaining space complete with ensuite bathroom and wet bar. "The sunroom located on the penthouse level of the residence takes advantage of the large windows to maximize indoor-outdoor play space," says Kotchen.
"Contrary to the shared outdoor space on the ground floor, the roof is completely private," says Kotchen. "Large sliding doors open the space completely to the outdoor living area, while an arbor and landscaping will screen the residents." In a place like Manhattan, where space in itself is a luxury, we couldn't imagine a more premium address or a better place to spend a sunny afternoon.