the monk’s treehouse

Steve, the owner of this Gramercy Park aerie, had already stripped things down to the essential before we met. He’d long ago shed anything extraneous or unloved, and was very clear about the things he needed: a sense of meditative calm and a comfy place to read by the window. He eschewed anything showy; a description that came to mind was “self-effacing.” His brief included photos of woodsy country cabins and walls of shiplap, rustic beadboard, simple whitewashed boards. Clearly, this guy wanted paneling, but this was still Gramercy Park; not the place to go rustic. My solution was to replace the traditional prewar moldings with classic board and batten, a treatment that helped unify the now loft-like space (we’d removed a center wall between the living room and bedroom). The rustic edge came by way of hand-planed walnut floors, a live-edge headboard, and reclaimed wood accents.

Also see the before and after video.
Additional photos from this project can be viewed here and here.


Above: The black walnut live-edge headboard was crafted to fit the span between the moldings of two pocket doors. You probably don’t notice it but the thing I see when I look at this photo is the ceiling beam. Originally it was a puny flat beam that didn’t match those in the living room. When we took down the wall between the rooms, those coved beams had to be painstakingly recreated. The “propeller” ceiling fan is also a beauty.


Above: The wall of light and glass that happened when the two rooms were opened up is a knock out, because this apartment is all about the view. The steel drapery rods are custom fabricated to be able to hold the weight of drapes over such a large span.


Above, Left: Getting details such as the radiator covers right is crucial in a room where the eye is drawn first to the windows. Center: Closets were reworked to accommodate pocket doors. Both are now walk-in size and hold the entirety of non-kitchen possessions. Right: Steve found the wrought iron lantern in a salvage shop. It became the focal point once the center wall came down.

steve-3  steve-6  steve-2

Above: A custom walnut desk is fit into a niche next to the kitchen.
Steve crafted the nifty pin-board to disguise the circuit breaker.