15th Street Apartment+-

project name : 15th Street Apartment

location : New York City

year of design: 1983

client: George Ranalli

architect: George Ranalli

associates: Robert Silman Structural Engineer

design team: Andrew Formichella, Mario Gentile (second phase),

Hayden Marrero, Eugene Park

photographer: George Cserna /Michelle Agins

The project for the 15th Street Apartment in New York was built in two phases spanning over 10 years. The first phase involved the south portion of the short end of the building. A large block was installed in the almost two-story main room, thereby freeing up the other bedroom to be used as an office and study. The constructed block provides an hideaway bed upstairs, an anchor for a green dining table downstairs, and a bathroom and kitchen sequestered at the back. A wood-covered staircase with brass detail ascends from the lofty main area to a surprisingly spacious and restful sleeping space with walk-in closet below. The elevation of the cantilevered bedroom berth secures privacy behind sumptuous silhouettes—a vibrant backdrop for an open dining and living space. The outer wall of the 1892 building has large, nine-footsquare windows with different sections of operable and fixed glazing set in hulking wood frames. The heft of the frames provides a strong presence for a most open moment.

On the first level, one end of a long, green marble table, grand yet simple, rests on a shiny brass projection while a singular leg of bent metal supports the other. Vintage Bertoia chairs surround the table. Artful, durable, functional furniture design thus becomes part of the whole package.

A decade later, a second apartment is added on, filling out the corner of the building with the new combined apartments. A full renovation transforms two former one-bedroom apartments into a three-bedroom apartment, complete with master bath, and second bathroom, each in custom-designed marble mosaics, a new kitchen, and three beautiful, sun-filled bedrooms. Tight floor area, although vertically spacious, accommodates cabinetry designed to maximize the use of storage and utility. In the kitchen, a deft geometric arrangement creates a clean line of cabinetry and appliances; a white respite from the profusion of grainy flaxen woodwork throughout the rest of the apartment, while optimizing floor-to-ceiling storage. The design provides convenient, proximate storage of utensils and cooking ingredients above and below the countertops near chopping and mixing stations and the stove, and locates day-to-day dishware near the dining table.

Each new room is keyed to a large nine-foot window for maximum light. Frosted glass windows in walls and doors, along with mirrors, in key locations, create an illusory game that makes one feel open and airy.