Two Fifth Avenue Apartments Unite To Become One Dramatic Space

Thomas A. Kligerman’s team worked in step, like a dance troupe, to renovate this mature 1,500-square-foot Fifth Avenue apartment in a 1920s doorman building.

“Literally, when everyone was working, it was like a ballet. One picks up the saw, the other lifts the sheetrock. A plasterer made all the dining- room moldings and ceiling details off-site and they were carried, in section by section,” remarks Kligerman, a partner in Ike Kligerman Barkley.

“The apartment was originally two that were never intended to be joined together. All of the rooms were different shapes and interlocked in different ways, so we went right down to the concrete and started over,” he adds. This was a year before construction, allowing time to design around structural and mechanical elements that could not be moved, such as 5-inch-diameter cast-iron drain lines and beams that support the terrace in a neighbor’s apartment above the living room.

The two-bedroom pied-à-terre, now a polished landing pad for a couple with homes in New England and Florida, was refurbished to “say ‘city,’ in contrast to a country or oceanfront house, comments Kligerman. “The clients wanted something moody, urbane and dramatic.”

To comply with local Landmark District guidelines, the team installed traditional double-hung windows. Luxury comes down to details. The den and dining room floors are timeless chevron-patterned oak. The entrance hall floor is granite with a stippled texture. The dining room showcases a raised plaster ceiling with fluted plaster frieze. In the foyer, the couple’s pottery is displayed on built-in, lit shelves lined in sumptuous dark brown suede.

On the ceilings, a creamy white, and for the black walls, a varnished black stain over pine. “It’s sandblasted and wire-brushed. The walls have almost a topography of wood grain showing,” explains Kligerman. “In the daylight, the white ceilings glow. By evening, the black walls frame the views of the sparkling city, so they look like paintings.”

Photography by Simon Upton.

If you enjoyed this fifth avenue apartment, be sure to check out this soft, alluring space on the Upper East Side. 

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