Everyone dreams of living in a stately manor house, hosting grand soirees and sipping vintage Claret in wood-paneled halls. But you’ll have a hard time finding the warm opulence of a country estate on this side of the Atlantic — particularly in the heart of Manhattan. Yet, in the remarkable mansion at 48 West 89th Street, all of the roaring fireplaces, hand-turned woodwork, and soaring ceilings that would mark a fine (and refined) royal retreat are in evidence, if stacked a bit higher than in Bristol.
There is no doubt that this Upper West Side home was designed for a gracious style of living. Built in 1892 at the very height of the Gilded Age, the home shows its provenance in its stately dimensions and meticulous craftsmanship, and successive owners have taken every opportunity to improve it over the next century and a quarter. The scale of the building — 20 feet wide, with nearly 7,500 square feet spread under high ceilings over six levels — make it a vanishingly rare find.
This masterpiece of a mansion is a home first and foremost, updated for life in a vibrant city. From the tree-lined street, residents enter the home through a mudroom at the garden level, which leads to a welcoming entertainment room with built-in shelves and a wood-burning fireplace. From there, an eat-in kitchen — clad in Vermont Soapstone, with state-of-the-art appliances tucked into custom cabinetry — sits next to an informal dining room. Toward the back of the garden level is (of course) the garden, a large and richly landscaped outdoor space with multiple seating areas and a built-in grill, as well as a glass-enclosed breakfast room with southern exposure.
For entertaining, the mansion has a separate entrance off the wide stoop into the parlor floor, and welcomes guests through an entry vestibule with the historic woodwork and door. Beyond the entry, the parlor floor opens into a 32-foot-long living room under 12-foot ceilings, where three large windows provide light, and a working fireplace provides atmosphere. Solid wood pocket doors — also original — open onto a formal dining room connected to a well-appointed service kitchen with a dumbwaiter to the full kitchen below. From the back of this second kitchen, a small terrace connects to a staircase descending to the garden.