Carnegie Hill House is a contemporary Manhattan townhouse re-imagined as a nest: a respite for the owners raising young children and a habitat for migratory songbirds seeking sustenance and refuge in the urban environment. The couple felt that this space could be redesigned to better suit their family’s needs, including more spaces that doubled as child-friendly/play related as well as being suitable for adult use and entertainment. The resulting project is a slice of woodland within a dense urban grid, achieved through a series of intimate outdoor terraced living spaces unified by material, planting, scale, and detail.
There is a ground floor garden, a small 4th floor terrace off of the children’s room, and two adjoining terraces on the 6th and 7th floor.
The first floor walls are covered in Virginia creeper vine, with a foreground of three sentry ginkgo trees, which create the feeling of a larger space. Stepping into the garden is possible by way of two paths. The first, black locust slabs, leads through a woodland path to a nest-like chair on stone strips, surrounded by evergreen planting. The second is an orthogonal path of the same material as the terrace, to a redesigned marble fountain. The garden is immersive, and creates a rich experience through a multi-layered use of materials and planting in this small garden space.
The terrace spaces all relate through the use of teak slats and screens, creating a nest-like intensity. The fourth floor, designed for the children, includes a screen which shields the clients from the neighbor and a large slate chalkboard within the screen.
A vertical garden opposite the door on the 6th floor is appropriate for a small terrace space, which also contains a sandbox surrounded by bluestone paving. The teak screens which run along the east wall open to expose the beautiful adjoining church, and close to provide shade. A new set of stairs to the 7th floor compliments the bluestone paving and materials. The 7th floor garden is reoriented toward the church, and the pavement derives its pattern from the beautiful slate roof, which becomes a landscape in the intensity of this urban environment. The teak screens surround the entire terrace, capturing and toying with plants and light, opening up to view to the church. The low sofa and chairs complete the immersive experience.