House Tour: 1885 NYC Townhouse Goes Green

This renovated Manhattan townhouse proves once and for all that beauty and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.

Exterior Front

Apartment Windows

When architect Paul Gleicher and his wife, Lisa Sharkey, renovated their classic New York City townhouse, they started by replacing the original windows with wide banks that bathe the interior with natural light. Mullions keep the home's exterior in sync with surrounding 19th-century building.

Gleicher Design Group

Fireplace Surround

Green Fireplace

Demonstrating that green design can also be cutting-edge, the stunning living room fireplace is framed by recycled glass and concrete slabs from the Brooklyn-based company IceStone. Formaldehyde-free pearwood covers the wall and mantel, imbuing the space with a warm yet fresh feeling.

Gleicher Design Group

Dining Room

Reclaimed Wood Furniture

One-of-a-kind wooden furniture appears throughout the house. Many pieces are made from responsibly harvested or reclaimed wood. Bringing their labor of love full circle, the homeowners donated the original 18-foot joists to a furniture maker.

Gleicher Design Group


Glass Backsplash

The same formaldehyde-free pearwood and IceStone surfacing used in the living room also sets the tone in the kitchen. Green, blue, and white glass tiles alternate in the eye-catching backsplash for a tranquil but cheerful result.

Gleicher Design Group

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

In the cozy breakfast nook, sustainable upholstery adds a further layer of interest to a banquette built large enough to accommodate Gleicher and Sharkey's children and guests.

Gleicher Design Group

Master Bedroom

No-VOC Paint

A serene blue shade of no-VOC paint on the walls combines with an organic, formaldehyde-free mattress on the bed to ensure sweet dreams in this environmentally friendly master bedroom. 

Gleicher Design Group

Master Bath

Small Bathroom Ideas

In the master bath, recycled glass and concrete counters complement the water-saving toilet and faucets. And here's an idea to incorporate into your own bathroom: Heated towel racks can replace radiators when floor space is limited.

Gleicher Design Group

Glass Tiles

Glass Tile

Gleicher and Sharkey chose to cover the walls of this cozy bath with alternating stripes of tiles made from recycled glass. The neutral earth tones chosen work to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the modestly proportioned room. 

Gleicher Design Group

Green House

Living Roof

Few in New York City use their roof space, but Gleicher and Sharkey took full advantage of their own. A glass conservatory maximizes daylight in the house and provides an ideal counterpoint to the green roof outside.

Gleicher Design Group

Green Roof

Green Roof

Featuring a walkway of IceStone pavers set into a blanket of easy-care sedum, the enchanting green roof brings a little country to the big city.

Gleicher Design Group

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