Renovations of historic properties are, of course, completely necessary sometimes. No one likes living with faulty plumbing or door knobs that fall off or 1970s decorations. But when those renovations go to far, they threaten to turn a special property into one that looks like just another boxy white mansion.
Case in point, this townhouse at 46 East 82nd Street on the Upper East Side. The British developer Penny Bradley purchased the property in July 2014 for $8.8 million from famed plastic surgeon Robert Tornambe. In little more than a year, she totally renovated it, stripping out a lot of the original details and adding new features like an elevator, a schmancy new kitchen designed by Smallbone of Devizes and a wholly new ground floor (it was originally a doctor’s office). Apparently, those changes are enough to justify a 255 percent increase in price for the house, which is on the market for $22.5 million.
While the home looks updated and shiny and modern, we mourn the loss of the charming imperfections that made it appealing to begin with. Moldings were torn out, colored walls were painted white and the cozy aesthetic of this townhouse has given way to a bland one. While there’s nothing objectionable about the renovated house, there’s also nothing interesting about it. Like most new construction projects, it appeals to the lowest common denominator of good taste. One that is clean, unstuffy, sophisticated and, most of all, totally boring.
See the photos below for more details on the changes Bradley made to the house and let us know in the comments what you think of the renovations.
The elegant façade was re-clad in limestone (with a door modeled after the one at 10 Downing Street).
The original first floor was a doctor’s office, which was totally ripped out for this foyer, with the kitchen in the back leading out to the backyard. The main hall also has the elevator and a powder room. This decision does make sense for converting the office into a residential space — though the choices don’t seem very original.
The original kitchen (left) was on the second floor, while the new kitchen is in the back of the first floor. Personally, we prefer the warm tones and homey feel of the original to the somewhat sterile vibe of the new one.
The beautiful chair moldings in the living room were stripped out and the room was painted white (of course).
Even worse is what they did to the formal dining room on the second floor, stripping out the wood paneling to make the room into a blank box (yes there’s a Buddha on the wall. No, it’s not enough to give the room any character).
A lot of the beautiful detailing of the staircases was removed.
The new master bathroom (right) takes the space of what used to be the home’s gym. While we agree that the original bathroom certainly needed an upgrade, is it really necessary to have one that is as massive as this? In fact, this main bathroom is so far away from the bedroom that Bradley added a half bathroom in between the two.