The Colonnade building
a wreck with a bold-faced past takes a step into the
twenty-first century, with a modern, easy (and dog-friendly) interior.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW BORDWIN
Living in a landmark building like Colonnade
Row may sound romantic after all, the residences, built in
1833, once housed Cornelius Vanderbilt, Washington Irving, and William
Makepeace Thackeray. But that imposing Neoclassical fašade hid an
elegant mess. When architects Clarissa Richardson and Heidar Sadeki,
of UT, were called to renovate this duplex, they found floors that
canted right like the deck of a ship, French doors that were crumbling
to dust. Even the marble fireplace was falling apart. UT held on
to the mantelpiece as a totem of the building's grand past, but
stripped the rest to its bones, creating a smooth, streamlined space.
They kept the bedroom small and gave the bathroom fitted
with two oversize lilac tubs a glass wall, to integrate it
into the living space (yes, the glass turns opaque). The other design
challenge was accommodating the owners' two diminutive and obsessively
loved dogs. Wherever possible, the architects kept things soft and
grounded low sofas, leather steps, rubberized stair treads.
They've designed for man's best friend, without compromising their
luxurious, ultramodern version of Zen. That's an idea that works
in any era.