House Tour: 1885 NYC Townhouse Goes Green

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

  1. Exterior Front

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse exterior

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  2. Fireplace Surround

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse fireplace

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  3. Dining Room

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse diningtable

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  4. Kitchen

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse kitchen

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  5. Breakfast Nook

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse breakfastnook

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  6. Master Bedroom

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse masterbedroom

    Gleicher Design Group

    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. 

  7. Master Bath

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse masterbath

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  8. Glass Tiles

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse glasstiles

    Gleicher Design Group

    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. 

  9. Green House

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse 1

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  10. Green Roof

    Gleicherdesigngroup greentownhouse greenroof

    Gleicher Design Group

    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.

  11. For More...

  12. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!