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Dwell Home Tours

Union Square Duplex

Union Square, NY

City Modern Manhattan Home Tour
Saturday, October 06, 2012

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An expat couple stumble onto their dream home in Union Square.

The search for the perfect apartment in New York is an all-too-familiar story: a drawn-out ordeal filled with dashed hopes and lowered expectations. But not if you’re Daniel and Kate Wadia. The couple, who were living in a two-bedroom in the Flatiron, hadn’t even been contemplating a move when they came across the image of a light-filled Union Square duplex on an iPhone real-estate app. “The photo was enough to entice us to visit,” explains Kate, an Australian-born creative director. As soon as she and her husband, a British advertising executive who arrived in New York ten years ago from London, stepped foot in the apartment in a Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue, they were sold. “It’s like a house in the sky,” says Daniel, “on two floors, with three exposures, and essentially no neighbors—no one to the right, left, or behind.”

Still, it took roughly a year to turn what Joseph Tanney of Resolution: 4 Architecture calls a “four-bedroom suburban townhouse” into an urban loft swathed in shades of white. Kate, a design enthusiast, attributes this aesthetic to her Australian heritage: “We tend to like clean, open spaces with a relaxed vibe,” she says. They twice bleached and whitewashed the oak floors to get the precise shade Kate desired, and outfitted the kitchen in alabaster Corian countertops and matching cabinets. Consistent with Kate’s quest for order and simplicity, Tanney reconfigured several walls on the main floor to make one expansive living space, removed visible door hinges, hardware, and grills, and added lots of hidden storage throughout.

The couple’s “reductionist” style is also reflected in spare, neutral-toned décor. Rooms have few furnishings, and Kate—who worked closely with the architects and contractors to achieve the sleek look—designed several pieces herself, including the white lacquer coffee table and large mirror in the living room and the oak dining table. “The ability to have complete control over the proportions, functionality, and materials was inspiring to me,” Kate says. “The end result was an environment filled with things we love that fit our exact needs—for a fraction of the cost.”

-Kelsey Keith, Senior Editor, Dwell

About the Architect

Thumb Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz
Resolution: 4 Architecture

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