The Upper West Side’s River Mansion—which just hit the market for $24 million—takes staging to a whole new level. This historic 10,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts home is currently hosting the prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House, where leading designers and architects have transformed rooms throughout to showcase the latest interior trends and products.
“The most unique aspect of the home was the scale of the rooms and windows,” designer Sergio Mercado told Observer. Mercado, whose recent Palm Beach project was featured in DuJour, brought fresh life to the River Mansion’s primary bathroom as part of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House. To introduce modern touches to the historic home, Mercado chose a Kohler tub and brushed modern brass fixtures (also by Kohler) and installed Forbes & Lomax vintage-looking light switches, juxtaposed by the CNC-milled marble he installed on the walls. All of the design elements Mercado used to execute his vision are—from the three Nuage paper chandeliers by Céline Wright to the Silk Georgette stone countertop—included with the sale of the mansion.
The fact that the property was chosen as the venue for such a high-profile design event is a testament to its status and architectural excellence. Set on a large corner plot where Riverside Drive meets West 106th Street, The River Mansion was built in 1902 by renowned architect Robert D. Kohn. The home features a grandiose dark red brick and limestone façade with wide window bays, some looking out over the Hudson River. Elaborately carved, French Renaissance-style banded columns flank the main entrance, and the outer bays are framed by limestone arches that sweep up to the second and third floors.
“The home’s provenance, scale and pedigree—with its incredibly appointed rooms by some of today’s most distinguished designers—make 337 Riverside Drive the most important townhouse currently on the market,” Jonathan Stein, listing agent at Douglas Elliman told Observer.
In 1903, soon after it was finished, the house was purchased by Julia Marlowe, a famous Shakespearean actress whose life was every bit as dramatic as the stage. After living there for only three years Marlowe sold The River Mansion to businessman Lothar W. Faber, who owned the Greenpoint pencil factory in Brooklyn. When Faber moved out a couple of years later, The River Mansion became home to John Wallace McKinnon, a Scottish-born, self-made investor who was President of the Hudson Navigation Co, the Wall Street Exchange Building Association, and the Knickerbocker Ice Co and director of the North America Safe Deposit Company.
Beginning in 1915, the mansion had a succession of short-term owners, with a stint as a boarding house after the Depression. The home’s fortunes changed in the 1970s when the neighborhood was designated a historic district, and 337 Riverside Drive once again became a single-family residence. In 1978, Edgar Bronfman Jr., heir to the Seagram liquor empire, purchased The River Mansion. The current owner is his ex-wife, Sherry Bronfman, better known as the actress Sherri Brewer, who played Marcy Jonas in the 1971 movie Shaft.
The home features five floors of elegant accommodations, crowned by a 2,000-square-foot roof deck with unrivaled Hudson River views. There are five double bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus a grand foyer, a formal parlor, a library, wine room, wine cellar, media room, eat-in and catering kitchens, a dining room and an elevator. An open-plan den, family and living area occupy the entire second floor. Seven wood-burning fireplaces no doubt help to keep out the chill during the worst of New York’s winters.