998 Fifth Avenue, originally designed in 1910-1912 by McKim, Mead & White, was the first apartment house to rise among the mansions along Fifth Avenue. The building is one of the most storied on the avenue and many prominent families lived in what was then the first luxury apartment house. Long ago, the ground floor simplex maisonette residence had been converted to commercial use. The grand rooms, 12 foot high ceilings, and original detail that once graced the maisonette had been replaced with a maze of small, utilitarian medical offices and corridors with suspended ceilings.
Referencing original plans and details found at the New York Historical Society, the renovation seamlessly combines historic details with modern amenities in order to return the maisonette to its former elegance and create a home that would accommodate a family of six. The new plan makes reference to the original plan while accommodating the required program including five bedrooms, a study/guest room, and five and a half baths.
In the reception hall the original French walnut paneling was stripped of the dark brown stain and refinished back to its warm golden tone considerably brightening the room and the original Tennessee marble floor was restored. The courtyard windows in the reception hall, as well as the windows in the rear study, were glazed with a MMW diamond pattern used on many of the upper apartments, creating greater privacy.
In the location of the original living and dining rooms, a more open grand salon with three large windows was created with an interior that was sympathetic to the original. All of the windows were replaced with new wood windows identical to the historic design. The original MMW fireplaces were also restored.
The new kitchen was recreated in the location of the original kitchen and pantry with cabinets that were inspired by the original MMW design. The new master suite and bath maintain the original relationship to the reception hall and two children’s bedrooms flank a central bathroom. Small servant spaces behind the kitchen in the original plan became a required bedroom, a study/guest room, and support spaces.