Matthew Blesso, a real estate developer, bought his 3,100-square-foot apartment in Lower Manhattan two years ago and turned it over to two Yale professors who teach a course in integrating architecture and landscape design. His rooftop includes an inclined herb garden. The decks are made of ipe.
After a renovation that cost more than $1 million, his home is a living and growing testament to the professors' ideas, both inside and out.
A candy-cane-shaped outdoor shower by Marcel Wanders for Boffi. The goal was not only to create a stunning series of gardens on the penthouse roof, but also to bring nature into the apartment, intermingling lush foliage and drip irrigation systems with custom wood furnishings and floors.
The wall separating the bedroom from the living room is made of sliding glass panels, but Mr. Blesso can lower a huge opaque shade for privacy. The staircase, which is surrounded by a bed of striped dracaena, leads to the rooftop, complete with spectacular views of the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges to the east.
Danish Modern shell chairs by Hans Wegner face a pair of bundled alderwood tables by the Canadian artist Brent Comber in Mr. Blesso's living room. The globe lamps, by Tom Dixon, are of chromed plastic. A mural by Doze Green covers the wall behind the Design Within Reach sofa.
The mural by Mr. Green, whose work Mr. Blesso spotted in a bar, extends down the hall to the front door and then into the elevator foyer. "To me, it seems as natural as something growing in the garden," said Andrea Steele, an architect on the project. The framed works are by John Chamberlain.
Mr. Blesso's bed, made from Indonesian walnut for ABC Carpet & Home, and a Karen Zilly painting are flanked by Tolomeo lamps from Artemide. The mirror is framed in tajibo wood left from when the flooring was installed.
The lounge is separated from the living room by a three-sided fireplace. Below a skylight hangs a Rodger Stevens steel wire sculpture, "Downpour." Pebble shaped cushions are Livingstones by Smarindesign.
A petrified tree trunk from ABC Carpet & Home heads up the dining table. The table and benches were made from a slab of walnut by the Brooklyn artist Christian Hooker.
Peace lily, peperomia and prayer plant climb above the master bath's teak vanity. The side wall and floor are made of lavastone, in contrasting finishes, from CoveringsEtc on Spring Street. The plant originally chosen for the wall, euonymus, had tiny leaves that would fall into the sink and get stuck in the drain.
For a powder room, Ms. Steele designed a sink with an angled sheet of synthetic "stone" from CoveringsEtc. (The water drips to a drain in the floor.) The backsplash and floor are tiny cork tiles from Habitus Architectural Finishes (habitusnyc.com).
Among the home's unusual features is the roof's dramatically angled bulkhead, the structure covering the interior stairwell. Most bulkheads are shapeless afterthoughts that designers struggle to hide. Mr. Blesso's version supports a lush garden that includes peppermint and spearmint. Climbing the slanted surface, you feel as if you could be picking mint leaves over the East River.
Nature Meets Architecture - The New York Times > Home & Garden > Slide Show > Slide 13 of 13