The Sky’s the Limit – A Theatrical Transformation

Over the years, this 700-m2 townhouse had been divided into seven small apartments. Yvan Prokesch has restored it to its former glory as a single dwelling. The renovation took four years to complete. An entire exterior wall was demolished, an amazing staircase installed and a skylight added, flooding the space with light … an incredible, luxurious transformation.

There are places – like film sets – that fire the imagination, titillate the senses and draw the eye. Like this West Village townhouse, which is a real architectural fantasy. The front façade is traditional brownstone; at the rear is an ultra-contemporary wall of glass and metal. These contrasting styles compete for our attention – the past and the avant-garde, the discreet and the ostentatious. The tone is set; this is architecture with no half measures.

As soon as you step in, the brilliant white walls and exceptional light quality hint at what lies beyond. The atmosphere is minimalist, pared back, almost museum-like. But here, rules are made to be broken – eclectic furniture and rugs contrast with the rarefied atmosphere, adding bold touches of colour. Unusually for New York, the lower floors are bathed in light, thanks to a light well that extends through five floors, forming the central column of the house.

There are many artistic touches, but it soon becomes clear that the star of the show is the impressive staircase. Magnificent, sculptural, it snakes its way unpredictably from the ground floor to the roof, transcending space, resembling a construction by Escher. Its purple colour custom carpet makes it even more striking. Its splendour peaks on the terrace, where a new star steals the show – by pressing a button, the skylight opens, giving access to the roof. For the grand finale, there’s a spectacular view over New York and the Empire State Building!

However, the grandiose, theatrical, architecture doesn’t detract from the main aim of the renovation – to create a cosy, luxurious family home. Of course, only the finest materials were used, such as Wenge wood for the floors and luxurious silk for the made-to-measure rugs. The lower floors are designed for entertaining and family life, while the top floor, with its sumptuous master suite, is the height of luxury. With this townhouse, Yvan Prokesch has achieved a remarkable architectural transformation, and has created a place that is grandiose, sophisticated and poetic.

Project realized while working at Billinkoff Architecture in New York.