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Closet in the Sky

Elegantly nautical storage space in one boat-loving businessman’s Fifth Avenue penthouse.


Some people wear cashmere. Other people use it to decorate. Like Italian businessman Pier Guerci, who had the mahogany cabinet doors in his 250-square-foot closet covered in the material. Guerci is aesthetically quite exacting—and a man of not inconsiderable patience. “I had been looking for the perfect apartment for twenty years,” he says, “until I found what many thought mission impossible.” His fortuitous discovery: nine small, derelict maid’s rooms on a Fifth Avenue rooftop overlooking Central Park. What made the mission even trickier is that after buying the place, Guerci not only had to get Landmarks approval to convert the rooms into a 3,800-square-foot pied-à-terre but also had to persuade his neighbors to do without their regular elevator for four months so he could extend the shaft up to the roof. The result is an apartment in the sky that feels like a villa by the sea, or even a yacht drifting upon it. From the wraparound balustrade terrace-cum-deck, you can access various rooms, including the streamlined closet, where Guerci’s friend, Misa Poggi, a Genoa-based architect, has achieved a sort of nautical elegance with the blue cashmere doors, polished wood, and glass drawers. “I call it a boathouse,” says Guerci. “I love boats and spend a lot of time sailing.” And like any good captain, he keeps everything in strict order. One section of the closet is devoted to suits, with a rack for navy and a rack for gray, and never the two shall meet. Another holds Guerci’s jeans, of which he has 40 pairs, all dangling crisply on hangers.

(1) Looking into the closet from the vestibule off the terrace. (The entryway from the bedroom is on the left, between the glass-faced doors and the cabinets.)

(2) The two vases are nineteenth-century Sèvres and belonged to Guerci’s grandmother.

(3) The leather-covered wooden pulls on all the doors are from Italy.

(4) The kilims are from Turkey.

The seventeenth-century door between the closet and the master bedroom is from India. Inside the closet, there are framed watercolors (not shown) with scenes from the Kama Sutra.

The drawers—with glass fronts for easier viewing—hold Guerci’s custom-made shirts. He owns about 28 of these, all in the same style.


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