From Park Avenue, hang a right onto East 38th Street and you’ll suddenly enter a residential oasis. The tree-lined block is quiet and peaceful, and nowhere is that tranquility more apparent than a townhouse on its north side, number 115. For the owner, Israel-born rug designer Liora Manné — whose work can be seen in Radio City Music Hall, Brown University and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — that’s the intent.
“This is like the a safe haven,” said Manné, whose work often takes her to China and India. “To come back home to that is amazing.”
Many areas of the home exude a museum-like, quiet, introspective vibe. The foyer leads directly into the living area — a spacious, white-walled, light-filled room in the back of the townhouse, with original moldings and a fireplace, which Manne calls her favorite part of the six-story home. Large, colorful pieces of artwork are on display here, including paintings, sculptures of animals and a striking display of Art Deco stained glass with hues of blue, purple, orange and yellow.
Of course, Manne’s own textiles are on display. Examples include the throw pillows on the two cushy love seats, which boast bright touches.
“Color is really my thing,” she said of her design.
But it’s time for Manné and husband Charlie Peck to move on. They listed the five-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom, 17-foot-wide spread for $6.2 million in March. Each of them has two kids, none of whom live at home any longer, and the couple wants to downsize. Meris and Kenny Blumstein of the Corcoran Group have the listing for the home, which Liza Minnelli owned for one year in the 1970s, though she reportedly never moved in.
“It just got to be too much,” Manné explained of the home’s upkeep.
The lucky buyer of the 55-foot-long property will get quite the package. The spacious lower level is home to the living area, dining room and kitchen. The recreation area, with rich red walls, has a fireplace; the dining room, which seats six, is topped by translucent tiles that form the floor of the terrace above and let in a soft yellow glow; and the Delft-tiled kitchen has a brick oven for an open flame. The couple spent nearly nine months renovating the former two-family home to their taste after purchasing it for $2.9 million in 2000, with a priority being light.
“Every new step was exciting,” Manné said of the renovation. “I was excited about the exploration.”
The home indeed offers plenty of light. Two skylights that cap the sweeping staircase channel natural light throughout the home. There’s also a planted rooftop terrace that has views of both the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.
Before Manné and even before Minnelli, acclaimed jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane bought the pad in the late 1960s. His doorknobs from P.E. Guerin, a Manhattan-based decorative hardware firm, are still there— a cool homage to the home’s history, which dates back to its construction in the 1870s. But Manné acknowledges it’s time to move on.
“You need change,” she said. — Zachary Kussin