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Scenes From a Classic Fourteen


Fernando Sanchez’s home is one of the city’s last true holdouts of Belle Époque living. The fashion designer bought it in 1979, and it’s the largest original apartment in the Osborne—the building kitty-corner to Carnegie Hall—that hasn’t been sliced into multiple units. How many rooms does he have? “Some say fourteen, some say eleven,” Sanchez says with a shrug in the massive foyer. (It depends on how you count the bathrooms.) “This was countryside here,” he adds of his neighborhood. “When I saw original pictures of the Osborne, there were cows around.” The 1885 building, built by James E. Ware, was not particularly luxurious for its time, but simply bourgeois, says Sanchez, who’s decorated his place in what might best be termed grand-bohemian fashion.

How He Came to New York
Born in Spain, Sanchez moved to Paris at 17 and learned his trade working with his friend and former classmate at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, Yves Saint Laurent. But New York beckoned: “In 1960, I met [fashion illustrator] Joe Eula, and he said I should move here. And then I went to see West Side Story in Paris, and fifteen days later I took the plane. And I landed in May, and it was West Side Story, and it was everything that I wanted.”

How He Got This Apartment
“I was accustomed to the downtown loft life,” recalls Sanchez, and when he had to move out of his longtime Village home, he couldn’t imagine going anywhere smaller. He bumped into Condé Nast’s Leo Lerman, also an Osborne resident, who told him to come uptown immediately. “He said, ‘I have an apartment for you. It hasn’t been touched.’ ”

1. The Mirrors
By Gaudí, they’re quite rare, and hail from Barcelona.

2. The Armchairs
“Maxime de la Falaise arrived one day and said, ‘I found two chairs for $26.’ I put a white sheet on top of them.” The other one’s by the coffee table.

3. The Lighting
The brass lamps have dimmers, which Sanchez considers key. He likes to live by candlelight.

4. The Shell
The fossil is of Moroccan origin. Sanchez bought it—and the large candle holders—at Jacques Carcanagues.

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