An heiress turned this townhouse into a piece of Europe in New York


Site: New York City

Price: $ 10.85 million

The Hunnewell Mansion is one of
New York City
most historic townhouses – located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, these were built in 1860 and reinvented in the early 1900s by heiress Charlotte Hunnewell Sorchan, who dreamed of bringing the sophisticated European lifestyle to New York City.

The exterior of the Hunnewell Mansion has a Regency style facade with Flemish gables. Inside, it’s like a Venetian palace. “As soon as you walk in the door, you are no longer in New York,” said agent Michael Bolla of Sotheby’s International Realty.

“We have the impression of being in Venice. The building has a good noble piano“he said, using the Italian phrase for a large main floor on the second level.

The 8,700 square foot townhouse has a Regency style facade with Flemish gables.

Sotheby’s International Realty

All materials used by Hunnewell for the interiors were imported from Europe. She renovated the house with architects Edward Dean and William Bottomley in an open and airy style inspired by her travels in Europe.

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“It was originally two buildings and Hunnewell made it into one house,” Mr Bolla said. “Architects didn’t often combine buildings back then. It was a bold move.

The large ground floor opens onto an elegant dining room and kitchen, with an artist’s studio to the rear. Upstairs, the parlor, or what Mr. Bolla called the noble piano, has a large ballroom with 22 foot coffered ceilings, adjacent to a bedroom and a patio that overlooks the garden. An addition here was the paneled bookcase. “It’s very Italian, even the railings and the ceilings,” Bolla said.

On the third floor there are three spacious bedrooms and on the fourth floor is a huge art studio with a skylight. Hunnewell lived there his entire adult life, from his 20s to his death in his 90s.

The house was recently owned by the American painter David Deutsch, who lived there from 1997 to 2014, then would have sold it to the French banker Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for $ 13.5 million. He spent seven years renovating the house before selling it, but never lived here. This requires some additional work, including new floors, Mr Bolla said.

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This 8,700 square foot townhouse has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms (four full and three partial).


The top-floor art studio is the most unique space in the house and is flooded with light under a huge skylight. The terrace which overlooks an open garden is also special. The unit includes parking under the ground floor and 22 foot coffered ceilings.

Quarter Notes

This townhouse is located in the heart of Turtle Bay, an area near Manhattan’s bustling Midtown East business district. It is close to the city’s historic skyscraper, the Chrysler Building, and other attractions such as Madison Avenue, the United Nations, and Grand Central Terminal.

It also has a unique garden design in the backyard. Hunnewell bought the 20 surrounding houses, which she sold to her designer, artist and intellectual friends. Today, this cluster of townhouses on East 48th and 49th Streets, located between Second and Third Avenues, all overlook a common garden.

“It’s really special,” said Mr. Bolla. “Hunnewell knocked down all the walls of the surrounding gardens and created a beautiful and majestic garden. There is nothing like it in town. It’s like the Medici Gardens in New York.

Agent: Michael Bolla, Sotheby’s International Realty

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