Picture this: Lovely brownstones, gorgeous ironwork and charming lamp posts paint a welcoming picture on Greenwich Village’s Waverly Place, just steps away from beloved Washington Square Park. Among the idyllic homes sits a cherished piece of history long fallen into disrepair. The bright pink brownstone boasting hints of the Beaux Arts dates back to 1826 and has belonged to many notable New Yorkers, including former Rockette and actress Celeste Martin, during its long and storied history. Now full of holes in the ceiling, the Pink House had certainly fallen far from its days as a haven for New York artists and high society.
Enter the Novogratz, the powerhouse interior design duo known for their HGTV series “Home by Novogratz” as well as their gorgeous furniture, decor and lighting collections. The family was immediately drawn to the property’s storied past and gorgeous bones, knowing they could restore it to its former glory while creating the perfect living space. The couple’s purchase of the property marked their return to New York after having lived in Los Angeles for several years. After two years of restoration, the Pink House now serves as the family’s private home.
Renovations proved to be quite the process, as the house is five floors and a whopping 7,200 square feet, meaning their work was cut out for them. “Covid and the supply chain issues it brought with it loomed very large in the execution of the project,” shares Robert Novogratz. “Also, the house was a huge undertaking, it really was crumbling so we had to rebuild every part of it. Because the house is a landmark, there are many rules and regulations you have to be very careful about, and that slowed us down from time to time.” Despite the roadblocks, the couple found huge inspiration through the renovation process. Discovering wallpaper from a hundred years ago led to The Novogratz Collection with Tempaper Wallpaper, and multiple bedding and products as well as lines of shades and drapes in their collection with the Shade Store were inspired by the property. As a result, the Pink House’s legacy is felt far beyond the boundaries of New York City.
The Novogratz took a huge amount of creative license over the property, serving as developers, designers, decorators and architects to breathe new life into the historic home. “The home has had only three owners during its existence,” shares Robert. Preserving such a special past requires the utmost care from the new keepers, and the couple certainly honored the property’s legacy, maintaining the historic charm while imbuing their own tastes into the design.
The focal point is a huge ballroom with 24-foot ceilings and a massive picture window. “The ballroom was added to the top floor in 192,” Robert explains. Despite not being original to the home, the room has a special place in the family’s heart. “We love the ballroom,” says Robert. “It is a unique experience having a large, double-height room with so many windows and so much natural light.” Indeed, such expansive spaces in New York City are few and far between. “It allowed us to hang oversized art, including photos by our friend Diego Uchitel, and soften the room with a pink sofa and other colorful touches.” Elegant statement furniture in pink, green and blue make the room as liveable as it is beautiful. The finishing touch? A gorgeous bright yellow fireplace mantle that perfectly juxtaposes the dark blue window panes.
All of the home’s millwork is custom-built, and an elevator was installed to travel between the five floors. Pink House no more, the front façade and entire exterior were painted a gorgeous ochre, while the interior walls received a stunning plaster treatment. “As always, we used a neutral background for colorful furniture, accessories and art,” Robert shares. “It is a classic home design, but the interiors are most definitely modern and contemporary. We infused it with our love for color, mixing old and new, high and low, and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that offer respite from the city craziness, while still giving us an amazing view of the city from uptown to downtown.” Indeed, color is king throughout the design, with the bright pops coming together to create an eclectic yet cohesively classic design.
The primary suite occupies the entire second floor of the house, creating a rare getaway within the urban home. “It has prominent windows, a very open plan, and has a fireplace, says Robert. “There is a sitting area along with the bed, a small office adjacent and the very luxe bathroom is at the back of the house.” The couple prefers an open layout and opened up the house to transform the small rooms into a spacious, airy design. The furnishings were sourced from all over the world, with vintage finds coming from the couple’s favorite store Cure Thrift. The roof deck received a full makeover as well, becoming a garden oasis thanks to its gorgeous plantings, providing the perfect backdrop for excellent views of the Empire State Building. The finishing touch comes in the form of the garden, which was completely transformed from a pit of dirt into a perfect entertaining space, as it sits just off the kitchen with direct access. What is old is now new, and the Pink House has returned to its days of breathing life into the historic Greenwich Village neighborhood.
Photography by: William Waldron