The Vanderbilt money is as old as it gets in America, but their Gilded Age mansion, one of New York City’s largest, is anything but. A 2018 makeover gutted the interior and turned it into a sleek chrome and white palace.
Would family patriarch Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt approve?
Vanderbilt heiress, artist and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt was the last of the family to live there as a child. She died this past June, prompting the sale for $50 million.
Originally built by noted architect Robert B. Lynd in 1891 and restyled in 1905 by William Strom, the seven-story townhouse is located at one of Manhattan’s most-sought after addresses–East 72nd Street steps from Central Park on the Upper East Side.
It’s commanding location, alone, might justify it’s hefty price tag. But if a potential buyer thinks he’s going to walk the same halls and ante-rooms as the Commodore, they’re in for a rude shock.
New York city architecture and interior design firm, CetraRuddy, completely restyled the interior just last year. The global firm is noted for “creating of one-of-a-kind experiences,” according to its Web site profile.
They’ve got that right. But whether the makeover does justice to the building’s Néo-Greco style and historic heritage is subject to, shall we say… debate.
The redesign is loaded with marble and modern finishes from the flooring to the lighting down to the kitchen appliances. And yes, there’s lots of chrome and stainless steel against a backdrop of bone-white ceilings and walls.
The sandstone facade and cooper cornice outside remain, allowing the building to remain harmoniously blended with the street. the 18,408-square-foot townhouse is 27-feet wide–a luxury in New York City– with 12 bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms, three powder rooms and a roughly 1,500-square-feet of private outdoor space. The house has 12-foot ceilings throughout and an elevator.
But walk through the door, and you enter another world.
The kitchen alone has limestone floors, Calacatta marble slab counter top, marble tiled walls and backsplash, custom cabinetry with SA Baxter hardware and top-of-the-line appliances by Gaggenau, Viking Tuscany and Miele.
The bathrooms feature either Calacatta or Blue de Savoie marble floors, walls and vanities with eucalyptus accents, Kalista fixtures Toto lavatories and Victoria and Albert free-standing tubs,” according to the listing.
For the budget conscious, the building has been designed into three separate condo units, any of which can be bought, or the building can be easily converted back to a single-family home.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, rose to prominence during the second half of the 19th century and came to be known as one of the era’s “Robber Barons.” Of Dutch descent, he landed in this country with $100 in his pocket and built a fortune in shipping and railroads.
Along with its vast wealth, the Vanderbilts were known for building grand mansions on Fifth Avenue, luxurious “summer cottages” in Newport, RI, and the palatial Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, another other opulent homes.
The family’s fortunes waned in the mid-20 century, when the family’s 10 great Fifth Avenue mansions were torn down. Most other Vanderbilt houses were sold or turned into museums. The period was known as the “Fall of the House of Vanderbilt,” according to The New York Times.
Gloria Vanderbilt, who came to live in the house, was the daughter of railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880–1925) and his second wife, Gloria Morgan (1904–1965).
When she was only 18 months old, her father died from alcoholism and she inherited a $2.5 million trust fund, worth about $35 million in today’s dollars. Her wealth at such a young age prompted a bitter custody battle during the mid-1930s.
It pitted her profligate mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, against parsimonious paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. By then, her fortune was worth $70 million in today’s dollars.
Vanderbilt began her career as a fashion model when she was 15 years old, launched her own fashion business, was married four times and had four sons, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
She was caught up in a scandal in the mid-1980s over millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and was forced to sell her homes in Southampton and New York City.
Check out the photos and see if the new interior lives up to the townhouse’s Gilded Age history
The listing agent is Lauren Muss of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Madison Avenue office.
|NYC’s Vanderbilt Mansion Slick Makeover (Click Photos to Enlarge!)|