Inside a Light-Filled Town House in New York’s Historic Greenwich Village

From the street, this elegant 19th-century brick house looks like many of its neighbors in New York’s historic Greenwich Village. But when you open the front door, you realize that the soaring, light-filled space you’ve entered is very much of the present. That was precisely what the house’s owners sought when they hired New York architect Lee Skolnick and the San Francisco–based AD100 designer Steven Volpe to transform what had been a traditional interior into something much more modern.

<div class="caption"> A table and chairs from <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Munder Skiles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Munder Skiles</a> sit on the garden terrace. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

The owners told both Skolnick and Volpe that they wanted “an urban oasis, a place of quiet and repose.” Moreover, they, like Skolnick (whose monograph Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership: Public/Private will be published next month), wanted the house to open to views of neighboring gardens, a particularly pleasant feature of the area. Having designed houses for both artists and collectors, the architect responded with a design that he calls “a vertical loft” and “a light machine.” 

<div class="caption"> The rear garden features limestone retaining walls and flooring. Table and chairs by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Munder Skiles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Munder Skiles</a>. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
The rear garden features limestone retaining walls and flooring. Table and chairs by Munder Skiles.

Thomas Loof

<div class="caption"> A pair of chaise longues by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Richard Schultz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Richard Schultz</a> for <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Knoll" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Knoll</a> on the penthouse terrace. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

Skolnick, whose team included Paul Alter, a partner in the firm, and Joern Truemper, the project architect, likens the individual floors—two of which end in mezzanines—to “trays” that are surrounded by light, which comes down from the top of the stairway of the five-story house to the first floor. The all-glass rear façade also illuminates the lower level, with its open kitchen and formal dining area looking directly into a tree-lined courtyard.

<div class="caption"> In the main bedroom, a <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Holland & Sherry" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Holland & Sherry</a> fabric covers the upholstered bed. Custom cover of a <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Scalamandré" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Scalamandré</a> wool and silk damask; bench by Bruno Romeda; cyanotype by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Meghann Riepenhoff" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Meghann Riepenhoff</a>. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof</cite>
Thomas Loof

Volpe is known for sophisticated interiors that mix cutting-edge 20th-century and antique pieces with understated chic. Fittingly, he and Ralph Dennis, his firm’s design director, orchestrated a deft blend of furnishings by icons like Jean-Michel Frank, Eyre de Lanux, and Madeleine Castaing, pieces by noted contemporary designers like Pierre Charpin, Martin Szekely, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and custom upholstery and cabinetry. Responding to the owners’ wish for “open spaces, lots of light, and an emphasis on tones of white and sumptuous textures,” Volpe explains, “We tried to create rooms that are modern, but not cold.”

<div class="caption"> In the dining room of the Greenwich Village town house, a custom light fixture by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec</a> hangs above a table designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Studio Volpe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Studio Volpe</a> and vintage chairs by Tobia and Afra Scarpa. </div> <cite class="credit">Thomas Loof </cite>
In the dining room of the Greenwich Village town house, a custom light fixture by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec hangs above a table designed by Studio Volpe and vintage chairs by Tobia and Afra Scarpa.

Thomas Loof

The two-story living room is the house’s centerpiece; extending from front to back, it ends in a mezzanine that overlooks the kitchen-dining area and out to the rear garden. In this space, with its oak floors and walls of white hand-­troweled plaster, Volpe and Dennis used pale, neutral, and luxurious fabrics, some of them custom-made by the Brooklyn-based weaver Tara Chapas. Since the front door opens directly into the space, it is partly obscured by a screen, of Murano glass and metal, which Volpe commissioned from the artist Ritsue Mishima. On the wall opposite the screen, a mirror by Line Vautrin hangs above a marble console by Charpin. A corner of the room with

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Grenell excoriates White House press corps over coverage of historic Kosovo and Serbia agreement

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell castigated the White House press corps for a perceived lack of interest in Friday’s news that Serbia agreed to become the third country to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“This is atrocious … You might be too young to understand what this issue is about,” Grenell said during a White House press conference that was intended to address the news that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed to a historic agreement to normalize relations. “Maybe the older journalists should step up and say, ‘This is a big deal.’ … I am astounded about what happens in D.C. and especially [in the White House Briefing].”

Grenell, who serves as the special presidential envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations, added that the issue is “substantive, maybe it’s too complicated of an issue for you all.”

Grenell continued: “You guys don’t understand what’s happening outside of Washington, D.C., people aren’t listening to you anymore. It’s really a crisis in journalism, and I think it’s because people are too young to understand issues like Kosovo and Serbia.”

Grenell was widely criticized by many left-leaning journalists, who took issue with his critique of the media, and the former ambassador to Germany responded to some of those criticisms on Twitter.

“I’m not paid,” Grenell tweeted in response to Vox’s Aaron Rupar. “You get this advice for FREE! You are welcome.”

The agreed upon deal normalizes relations between Kosovo, a majority Muslim region that declared independence in 2008, and Serbia in every area from air and rail to the opening of borders, according to Fox News.

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Kitchen fire breaks out at historic Rugby cafe, food service still planned for Labor Day weekend

Staff with the Harrow Road Cafe will still have food available for take-out or to eat outside over the Labor Day weekend, next door to the cafe.

RUGBY, Tenn. — A kitchen fire broke out at Harrow Road Cafe in Rugby early Friday morning, gutting the building according to officials.

An image of the building was posted on Historic Rugby’s Facebook page, with chunks of the roof missing and white smoke still rising. However, the staff also said that a fire wouldn’t keep them from feeding people over the Labor Day weekend.

Officials said staff will set up next door to the cafe to offer food services Sept. 5 – 7, between 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Take-out, picnic tables and other kinds of food services will be available, officials said.

The cafe has been open since 1882, when a group first opened the shop, according to Historic Rugby’s website. Lunch service is still available at R.M. Brooks Store every day except Sunday, officials said.

Enough with work already! Spend your Labor Day with us this Monday. … The Visitor Centre, Harrow Road Cafe, Commissary, Print Shop & more will all be open. Stroll one of our trails or get wet at the Gentemen’s Swimming Hole. See you here!

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Darien CT Historic Homes: Pond-Weed House

Built about 1700 on the old Boston Post Road, Darien’s Pond-Weed House is a classic Connecticut saltbox with a large stone central chimney and sloping rear lean-to roof-line. It is considered the oldest house still standing in Darien.

In 1692 Nathaniel Pond who was listed as a “Blacksmith of Branford” bought the land on which the Pond-Weed house is located near the ford and former sloop landing on the Noroton River. Settlements began in Darien in about 1700 when the first roads were “Cut in the woods.”

The Noroton Cove settlement that eventually became Darien included a sawmill built by a dam on the Noroton River, a small shipyard on the shore of Holly Pond – and Nathaniel Pond was the blacksmith. By 1703 a school district was established.

Soon after the Pond-Weed House’s initial structure was built, several additions were made to the central framing resulting in a two story home, T-shaped floor plan and lean-to saltbox roof-line. Nathaniel Pond sold the property to Nathaniel Weed in 1716 “With dwelling house and barn.” It remained in the Weed family for 210 years.

The Pond-Weed House’s notable features include the massive stone chimney, exterior walls of shingles with semi-circular butts, a first period exterior door, exposed framing, paneling and much early hardware still remaining.

In addition to its historic architectural importance and its connection with Darien’s leading families, the building also served as a tavern in the 18th century when it was known as the “House Under the Hill” or “Half-Way House” due to its position half-way between Norwalk and Stamford.

In the late 1730s severe winter storms resulted in the deaths of several people traveling from Darien to church in Stamford. As the first generation of Darien settlers were aging they proposed creating a newer, closer parish to reduce the difficulty getting to church on Sunday.

In 1744 this lead to the hiring of the Rev. Moses Mather – still in his mid-20s – who spent his entire 64-year career at this parish post until his death in 1806. Moses Mather became one of the most outspoken proponents from the pulpit of American Independence during the Revolutionary War.

The town was primarily dominated by Patriots during the Revolution with the community’s Tories fleeing to Long Island, but conducting raids on the community throughout the war. The plaque in front of the Darien City Hall tells the story of how, “Tories disrupted services at the meetinghouse on July 22, 1781, capturing Dr. Mather and forty-seven other men, and transported them across the Sound. Dr. Mather with twenty-six of his parishioners suffered five months in the foul British prisons in New York City before those who survived their confinement were exchanged and returned to their homes.”

It has long been said of the Pond-Weed House when it was operating as the Half-Way House Tavern that “George Washington stopped here” on the march south from Boston to New York during the American Revolution.

Today the Pond-Weed House is a private residence located …

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