When you walk into a space that’s undergone substantial renovation your immediate response is most likely going to be a visual one – how good it looks. But what may not be immediately obvious is the major work that often goes on behind the scenes to resolve planning and circulation problems in the original design.
And the duplex penthouse apartment featured here certainly had its share of problems when the current owners bought it. As well as its very dated 1980s look, the apartment had a ‘tortuous’ layout plan, according to architect Andrew Wilkinson.
The kitchen was closed off from the living area, the staircase was also closed in, the powder room opened to the living area and access to a guest room and bathroom on the main floor was by a step-up over the plumbing services.
What it did have was a great location overlooking Manhattan and Central Park and a rooftop terrace for outdoor living on the second floor – though access to this was through the master bedroom.
“The owner came to me with quite specific requirements for the renovation,” says Wilkinson.
“On the first floor they wanted the kitchen opened up and integrated with the aesthetics of the rest of the apartment. Plus they wanted a more natural and rational connection between living areas, the guest room/office and the bathroom and powder room.”
Pivotal to resolving the awkward space planning of the original design was Wilkinson’s treatment of the enclosed spiral staircase, which also had the powder room located directly underneath.
“The position of the stairs was a given because of the opening in the concrete slab,” he says.