House of the Day: Creating a 'Cocoon'

The Wall Street JournalNovember 25, 2013
$2,995,000 | Upper East Side, NY | Apartment
A renovation of this Upper East Side duplex apartment involved sound-proofing the space to allow the owner to listen to her music and entertain without disturbing her neighbors.

Lidia Latrowski purchased a duplex apartment on East 66th Street in 2011 for slightly under $1.4 million, according to a copy of the co-op contract. Ms. Latrowski works in new business development and global sales for Graphic Systems Group, which specializes in doing post-production work for Fortune 500 companies.

The apartment was being sold as part of an estate and the former owner was from Poland, Ms. Latrowski said. When she visited the space for the first time, Ms. Latrowski, whose parents are from Poland, was able to speak in Polish with the family members collecting belongings from the home. She took it as a sign to purchase and renovate the space, which she felt had 'a good vibe.' Ms. Latrowski has renovated several homes before.

The living room is shown. 'I just imagined taking this whole apartment and revamping it from head to toe, from floor to floor, from ceiling to ceiling,' Ms. Latrowski said. 'I thought, I want to feel like I'm in a cocoon.' She undertook an eight month renovation of the duplex, complicated by the fact that she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer at the same time. 'It was a crazy year,' said Ms. Latrowski, who is currently in remission.

A powder room with marble and mirror tiles is shown. 'My hope was to create a little home, like a little house within an apartment building, which it is now,' Ms. Latrowski said.

The gut renovation involved replacing the wiring and plumbing, taking down a wall between the staircase and living room to open up the space, redoing the bathrooms and the kitchen, shown here, and creating coffered ceilings in sections, which raised the ceiling height of the foyer and living room. She also put down solid oak wood floors and added air conditioning and heating units.

The kitchen features a mosaic mirror backsplash, among Ms. Latrowski's favorite features in the home.

A wide view of the living room, dining area and kitchen is shown. Ms. Latrowski said the renovation left the apartment 'more open' than before. 'It has more space, it feels like a house,' she said. 'It has a nicer flow.'

The staircase of the duplex features a hanging light fixture from Italian company Terzani. Ms. Latrowski left the railing intact because its 'art deco' style appealed to her, but replaced its linoleum stairs with solid oak wood to match the rest of the apartment. She is selling because she intended to live here with her daughter but their plans have changed.

The master bedroom is shown. Ms. Latrowski estimates the renovation cost between $850,000 and $950,000. The process also involved putting a layer of soundproofing material in between the concrete and the wood of the duplex's first and second floors. 'Not that I'm noisy, but I want to feel like my home is my sanctuary and I don't want to walk on egg shells,' she said. The home has a Sonos surround stereo system and Ms. Latrowski enjoys playing classical jazz throughout the house.

The master bathroom has heated mother-of-pearl floors and walls and a sink made of Thassos marble, known for its pure white color. Ms. Latrowski describes the Zuma bathtub, which lights the water in different colors as it bubbles, as 'to die for.' 'I love that bathroom,' she said.

The second bedroom of the apartment is shown. 'It has a very chic but homey feel,' Ms. Latrowski said. 'It's modern but not cold.' The approximately 1,500-square-foot apartment has two bedrooms and two ½ bathrooms and is two blocks from Central Park.

The view of East 66th Street and the Park Avenue Armory from the master bedroom is shown. 'It looks like I'm looking out at Europe, all this beautiful architecture,' Ms. Latrowski said. The apartment was listed with Lisa Graham of CORE in September this year for slightly under $3 million.