Photographs Courtesy of Christie’s International Real Estate
Extraordinary homes often represent the vision and personality of their owners, and perhaps none more than the tour de force of inventor Sherman M. Fairchild at 17 East 65th Street. As the son of the Chairman of IBM, Mr. Fairchild had the good fortune (literally) to inherit his father’s IBM stock when only 27 years old, and remained its largest individual shareholder until his death in 1971. Rather than just living the good life, he combined his interest in aviation and photography to become the defining force in aerial photography with over 30 patents and played an integral role in the development of Silicon Valley. His creative passions are obvious in this dramatic home created by architects George Nelson and William Hamby. Built in 1941 to “break the mold of architectural convention,” it became one of the first modernist townhouses in NY and remains as innovative and iconic as its namesake. Now, this piece of history in Lenox Hill is on the market asking $35 million.The 9,440-square-foot manse is best understood when interpreted as two houses in one. The 100-foot-long lot was split into two halves, with the front being designed more for entertaining and the back created to be a private haven. The front spaces are an architectural feat with a brilliant courtyard featuring a four-story great room flooded with natural light from an entirely glass ceiling. Spectacular travertine wall space for the most prolific and discerning art collector, it also provides the ‘landscape’ for glitzy NYC parties. Floating staircases give access to all the entertaining spaces, including a viewing gallery, a chef’s kitchen and a formal dining room.A second rear staircase accesses the home’s 25-foot wide private living space, with a master suite, two baths and sitting alcove, and four additional bedrooms, including a loft aerie infused with the same ceiling light as the home’s great room. In true mansion style, there’s a breathtaking office, library and wine cellar. All this luxury is encased in an architectural unique shell. Postmodern architect Milton Klein completed the building’s contemporary red granite façade in 1981.This house will be music to a history lover’s ears. Since Fairchild was also a jazz enthusiast, famed composer Hoagy Carmichael was a frequent guest here, playing on one of the two white Steinway pianos Fairchild had wired to his recording studio. Several jazz albums from the day credited Fairchild Studios as a recording partner. Located between Fifth and Madison Avenues just steps from Museum Mile and Central Park, this extraordinary townhouse is waiting for its next chapter of entertaining history.Erin Boisson Aries and Nicola Bottero of Christie’s International Real Estate
have the special listing.