Shawn Henderson

Photography by Steve Freihon

Shawn Henderson, working along with noted architect Peter Pennoyer, created a new life for this  “total gut” four-floor historic red brick Italianate townhouse. The resulting classically-styled architecture, with recreated period cornices, columns, a pirouetting spiral staircase and a plethora of pocket doors, infuses the design with historically appropriate character while existing in harmonious balance with the modernist and contemporary furnishings and artwork. The sole surviving items from the original interior were two marble mantels, which were refurbished and installed in the master bedroom and the library. Subtle design elements add richness: silver flecks were added to the plaster walls lining all four floors of the graceful staircase, metallic stripes add a touch of glam to midnight blue drapes in the parlors, and midcentury light fixtures were selected to contribute jazzy sparkle.



The front parlor welcomes with a sofa custom designed by Shawn Henderson, and a vintage Arredoluce 8-arm ceiling light designed circa 1958 by Angelo Lelli. Vintage French sconces and Murano mirror above the mantel add luminescence. Mid-century design pieces include a glass-topped coffee table and a rare polyhedron bar cart designed in 1955 by Ico and Luisa Parisi, constructed of mahogany, lacquered wood, brass and steel. The tracery patterns on the rug, which is a Shawn Henderson design, throw pillows and fireplace screen are a unifying element.

The rear parlor mirrors the front parlor with continuity and flow enhanced by a matching mantel, curtains, mirror and sconces. The dining table is by Silas Seandel, and the sculpted bronze dining chairs are by Paul Evans, circa 1970s.

The library features crisp millwork, which contrasts with the elaborate foliate motifs on one of the two surviving original marble mantels. A self-portrait by Robert Mapplethorpe hangs above the mantel. A cozy banquette is tucked into a corner, paired with an Edward Wormley “Sheaf of Wheat” coffee table and a mid-century armchair after Marco Zanuso.

A serenely monochromatic pewter color palette, hushed wool wall covering, and the simple tailored lines of 1960s armchairs and ottomans create a restful refuge. A mid-century Starburst ceiling fixture draws attention upward. The portraits of farm animals above the bed are vintage gelatin-silver prints by noted New York photographer Peter Hujar.

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