A Gilded Age Apartment Gets a Family-Friendly Modern Makeover

Architect Jacob Sandmann says the children “drove the renovation, as we didn’t want the apartment to feel like a museum.”

Photo: Howie Guja
Photo: Howie Guja

This 2,700-square-foot split-level in the Osborne Apartments was formerly owned by the legendary editor Leo Lerman and the artist Gray Foy, his partner. Lerman died in 1994, after which Foy’s new spouse, Joel Kaye, became a co-owner; in 2014 it was sold to a family with two kids. Architect Jacob Sandmann of Fogarty Finger Architecture says the children “drove the renovation, as we didn’t want the apartment to feel like a museum.”

The playful, modernist décor of the living room, seen here and throughout, is by Reunion Goods & Services; it includes Pierre Paulin’s “Pumpkin Sofa” from Ligne Roset, in all its lush pink plumpness, and at the far end of the room, the Prado daybed from Ligne Roset, which has detachable end cushions so the kids can take them off and put them on the floor to play. Photo: Howie Guja
The opposite side of the living room, with two vintage armchairs covered in Rogers & Goffigon blue chenille fabric warm up the grand room with its 15-foot ceilings. “This project was a labor of love for me and our team,” says Chris Fogarty, architect and partner in Fogarty Finger. “How often does one get to work on an apartment like this?” The blue cage pendant lamp is by French artist Julie Pfligersdorffer. The painting on the left is by Eric Cahan. The restored mirror over the fireplace now conceals a flat-screen TV. It is hard to imagine that this room was once painted lavender and filled to the brim with collections of silver and antiques that could hardly be seen during parties packed with New York’s glitterati, including Rudolf Nureyev, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Leonard Bernstein, and Steve Martin. If the walls could talk you would hear the roar of so many soirées past; Lerman, Foy, and Kaye were epic party throwers. Photo: Howie Guja
The dining room today takes advantage of the generously proportioned room that was once Lerman’s study. The wallpaper is by fashion designer Eley Kishimoto, and the custom poured-resin table is by Martha Sturdy. The beautiful parquet floors are original, and the dining chairs covered in felt are from Ligne Roset. Photo: Howie Guja
The restoration and additional millwork throughout the apartment was done by Katsura Construction, a company responsible for many similar restoration projects in the building. Here, the entrance to the eat-in kitchen can be closed off with doors that open out from the wall. The kitchen floor is new and made to match the existing parquet. Photo: Howie Guja
The enormous kitchen island is covered in zinc. The fireplace with its original tile surround has new azure-blue mosaic floor tiles from Mosaic House. The Osborne, designed by James Edward Ware, was completed in 1885 and landmarked in 1991, and the building still has the original faux-painted and tiled lobby, and many original lead-paned windows, as seen here. Photo: Howie Guja
The opposite side of the kitchen features a wall of closets that contain the washer-dryer, fridge, and pantry. Photo: Howie Guja
The powder room on the ground floor is splashed with color thanks to the fire-engine-red Fantini bath fixtures, the Reunion custom-designed powder-coated wash stand, and sea-blue scallop-patterned wallpaper by Eley Kishimoto. “We really wanted to source items from current and up-and-coming designers as well as vintage and more well-known sources,” says Reunion designer Laura Flam. “There are so many great designers working currently, and we thought it would bring a fresh unexpectedness to the apartment.” Photo: Howie Guja
The wood paneling downstairs leading to the bedrooms is new, made to match the original wood paneling above and built to contain storage space. Photo: Howie Guja
Even though the rooms have been reconfigured, there is still an Old World sense of space as hallways lead you to bedrooms and bathrooms. Photo: Howie Guja
The master bedroom is pared down and serene with an upholstered headboard in C&C Milano fabric, on a bed by De La Espada. The sconce light is by David Weeks. Photo: Howie Guja
The playroom off the kitchen sports a custom bunk bed, designed by Reunion, and wallpaper by Cavern. The fabric on the bunk beds is Flock North Moore Major and Minor, purchased through Studio Four. The climbing wall is from Everlast Climbing. The room has been soundproofed, as there is a basketball hoop on the opposite wall. Photo: Howie Guja
The client’s daughter’s room is festooned with polka-dot-painted walls by Cassandra Holden. The bed is from West Elm. Photo: Howie Guja
The boy’s bedroom is wallpapered with a custom design by Rebekah Maysles and Reunion. His powder-coated bed frame is from Room & Board. The yellow table lamp is from Jieldé. Photo: Howie Guja
The master bathroom is glamorous, but not Old World, with a custom marble sink designed by Reunion, cut from a single piece of Venetian marble from ABC Stone. The floor tiles are by Lindsey Lang. “For this project in particular,” Fogarty says, “it was important to marry a clean, modern aesthetic without compromising the integrity and rich history of the Osborne.” Photo: Howie Guja
A Gilded Age Home Gets a Family-Friendly Modern Makeover