Many of the original features in this nearly 100-year-old townhouse, on New York’s swank East 90th Street, were inspired by 18th century Scottish architect Robert Adam. A neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer, his influence can be seen in the ceilings with molded plaster details, fireplaces festooned with urns and swags, the entrance with its pillared portico, and the elegant sweep of the flying staircase.
Landmarked in 1974, the stately structure was designed by architect Mott B. Schmidt and completed in 1928. It is known today as the Emily Trevor House, after the wealthy socialite who originally owned it. (Trevor hailed from a prominent if nowadays somewhat scandalous old New York family; her brother, John B. Trevor Sr., was an influential attorney and staunch nativist who was an architect of the Immigration Act of 1924 that, among other things, banned Asian immigration. The xenophobic policy was replaced in 1965 by the Immigration and Nationality Act.)
According to Mansion Global, the first to report the listing, the house was occupied for a time by mega-rich industrialist Andrew Carnegie while he built his own townhouse a few doors down. However, since Carnegie died in 1919, almost a decade before Trevor’s house was completed, it’s likely he occupied the house that previously stood where Trevor’s house was built.
The current owners, who paid $14.3 million in 2020 and redid much of it, hope to more than double their money, listing the red-brick townhouse at $29.5 million with David Mayer and Raphael Sitrunk of the MSH Group at Corcoran.
Recent renovations and updates include new floors, new plumbing and a new roof. Even the handsome wood-paneled elevator has all new equipment. And at 26 feet wide, wider than most townhouses, and with more than 12,000 square feet of living space, the townhouse is bigger than most suburban macmansions. In all there are five bedrooms, five bathrooms and three powder rooms, along with ample spaces for indoor entertaining and a trio of outdoor spaces.
The main entrance is on the street level, with a huge foyer, two powder rooms and a separate service entrance that leads to the sleekly appointed eat-in kitchen, which opens to the rear garden. Below is the cellar, with a two-room gym, a bathroom, a laundry room and tons of storage.
On the second floor, an epic 800-square-foot living room, a dining room of almost equal proportions, and a galley-style service kitchen with stairs down to the kitchen. Both the living and dining rooms have fireplaces, as does the handsomely paneled third-floor library, which is complemented by a nearby walk-in wet bar and a powder room. The primary bedroom, also on the third floor, boasts a fireplace, two walk-in closets, and a lavish bath sheathed in buff-colored stone, with an oculus over the tub.
The fourth and fifth floors, accessed by a mural-lined spiral staircase, are given over to four more bedrooms and three baths, along with a media lounge on the fourth floor and a games room and lounge on the fifth. The spacious fifth-floor terrace features a classic stone balustrade and above it all is a fabulous roof garden, accessible by the elevator.
Best of all, however, is that the owners were careful to preserve the original spirit of the architecture, while adding all the modern creature comforts and up-to-date infrastructure that will allow it to be a comfortable albeit fearsomely expensive home for many decades to come.