by Michel Van Devender

Oh, hey there New York City neighbor! Well, not exactly… we don’t live in NYC, but this was our across 29th Street neighbor we had the best view of from our 10th floor room of the Ace Hotel. By the way, I would highly recommend this Midtown NoMad district hotel and will be sharing more about our stay soon.

When we checked into room 1012, we couldn’t miss our stunning view of the Empire State Building. It immediately brought back such sweet, fond memories of when my now 22 year old son was four and he called it the “Entire” State Building! Having this view was such a lovely surprise. Once I enjoyed a memory and my eyes moved beyond the iconic landmark, an across the street building, clearly an older, historic property, caught my eye. The ornate style, partially hidden by repair scaffolding, was juxtaposed with the coolest, modern penthouse addition, including a green rooftop terrace space. I’m completely smitten and my design curiosity goes into overdrive, wanting to learn more about this place.

Once we were out and about roaming the streets, I made it a point to look for the name of the building. The unassuming, lackluster building awning read – Gilsey House. A quick google search of the name revealed the story of this exact property I’d been studiously stalking from our room window since our arrival. By this point, my husband thinks I’m a bit hyper focused. Obsessed I am my dear! Dwell Magazine featured the Manhattan dream home back in March 2017, with all of the details on the renovation/addition, including interior and exterior photos. And, oh the delight of getting my very own little home tour from across the way!

The historic building with its cast-iron facade of the Second Empire style was constructed in 1869 and has storied evolution from its glory days operating as a posh hotel to at one point being in disrepair and falling victim to dilapidation and then being resurrected with new energy and life. The architect and penthouse owner, Jay Valgora, principal of STUDIO V Architecture, purchased the loft over 25 years ago. The reimagined space for his growing family showcases the successful, harmonious blending between the old and new, juxtaposing the zinc and glass rooftop addition with the white, historic building. For me, it is nothing short of NYC living perfection with an enormous wow factor!

And by the way, this home stalker departed the city without incident, although I’m often tempted to embarrass myself and my family in the name of my love for design! For the full story on this NYC reno/addition, check out the linked Dwell article


A photo taken from our hotel room.
A photo we took of the building entrance.

All images via Dwell unless otherwise noted.

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