The Househunter: The House of My Dreams (No 1)

It seems fitting and, perhaps weirdly coincidental, that today, five years since I last went to New York and on the first full day of BlogTourNYC, that I have found this house to show you. For this is my dream house. This is where I stayed when I was last in New York and now it’s on the market so I can show it to you.

49 Barrow Street, West Village, New York
49 Barrow Street, West Village, New York

Called the House of Memories, it belongs to Laurie Mallet, who bought it in 1983 for $430,000 (according to the public records). Mallet, the founder of Williwear, has rented the house out for the last ten years, which is how my friends came to be living in it during a four year stint in Manhattan and how I came to be staying in it for five days.

the fireplace
the ghostly fireplace in the dining room

Ms Mallet knew members of SITE (Sculpture in the Environment), a collective of artists and architects, and she asked them to help oversee the renovation of the home. Alison Sky, an artist, helped create ‘motifs coming out of the wall, which were a sort of story about myself,’ says Ms. Mallet. Look closely and see how the fireplace seems to loom out from the wall.

the bookshelves on the first floor sitting room

Upstairs, the bookshelves were half-filled with sculptures of books, which, when I stayed, sat next to real books, turning the whole wall into a work of art. But it was the entrance hall, which I really loved.

the hall
the entrance hall to Barrow Street

The table can be used as a real hall table and the white cavalier’s coat shared a hook with children’s duffle coats and hats. Here’s a close up of the boots in the corner.

the boots
boots in the hall

“I started to think of walls as fluid as opposed to solid,” Ms. Sky said. “What if you had memories from the past floating out from the walls? By doing that you create the impression of a world beyond the walls.”

the fully furnished dining room with its half fireplace

But it wasn’t just the sculptures that I loved in this house. It was the whiteness of the decor. This was where I decided that my own house would be full of white painted floorboards and white walls. That the light would be encourage to flood in from all directions.

the back of the sitting room where real books jostle for space with the plaster ones

This is the full view of the sitting room with the empty door frame acting as a dividing line. It felt like a very Alice in Wonderland house to me.

the full view of the sitting room with the empty door frame

The other idea that I took from this house was the walk-through closet. There are no pictures sadly, but in my bedroom we built a false wall and filled the back of it with hanging space and shelves, which was something that had been done in the basement of this house so that there were two bedrooms with a small bathroom between them and a corridor of hanging space that linked the rooms and ran behind the bathroom, if that makes any sense.

My bedroom and wardrobe inspired by the house on Barrow Street
My bedroom and wardrobe inspired by the house on Barrow Street

So there you go. The story of my house and the story of The House of Memories. It’s on the market for $6,498,000 and, even more excitingly there’s an open house on Sunday 24 March at 4.30 to 6pm. So if you happen to find yourself in town that day …

For the full details on 49 Barrow Street and the open day CLICK HERE 

To see the rest of my house MY HOUSE







Tags : blogtournycdream housewhite decor
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


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