Renowned design editor Hamish Bowles is selling his whimsical and ornate Greenwich Village home, a cozy pre-war duplex he’s filled with assorted treasures, ranging from antique furniture to vintage books and high-fashion clothes.
The asking price for the co-op unit, at 45 East Ninth Street near Washington Square Park, is $2.9 million, according to Chris Poore, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty, which lists the property. Monthly maintenance is $3,758.
Mr Bowles, global editor of Vogue magazine, recently returned to his hometown of London after being appointed in 2021 as the new editor of The World of Interiors, a Condé Nast interior design publication whose seat is over there. The first issue under his direction hit newsstands in March.
In a Vogue video earlier this year, which appeared to serve as a final visit to his frequently photographed (and even painted) Manhattan home, Mr Bowles said he was happy to return to London and “rediscover it again “.
He has spent the past 30 years in Manhattan, first in the West Village, then in Sutton Place, before buying the Greenwich Village duplex at an estate sale in 2008 for $1.5 million.
‘The previous owner of my apartment was a distinguished literary agent who had lived here since the 1950s,’ Mr Bowles said in an email, ‘and to my delight we discovered almost every architectural detail and the original structure of the apartment intact.”
The house is on the first two floors of a brick and limestone building on Ninth Street, which was built in the mid-1920s between Broadway and University Place and converted to co-ops in the late 1950s.
Measuring approximately 1,400 square feet, it is currently configured with one bedroom, two full bathrooms and a bedroom converted into a dining room, which can easily be reconverted.
“It’s one of those old-school apartments with character,” Mr Poore said, “what the village was like.”
Many of the unit’s pre-war architectural details survive, such as the 16½-foot coffered ceilings, decorative moldings, hardwood floors, and wood-burning fireplace. A number of new flourishes have also been added, with help from Mr Bowles’ Milan design friends Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli of Studio Peregalli, and Agencie Group, a New York architectural firm.
This includes custom millwork in the living room, like the pedimented bookcases that flank the fireplace, and a playful design lure in the dining room.
“One of the amazing things they did was create a sham to look like a solid door,” with hinges included, Mr Bowles said in the video. “It’s a lot of fun because the guests are coming in, and you can see they’re just playing with that handle and don’t know why they can’t open the door.”
(In fact, there’s a real door and a doorknob a few inches away, and it opens into a bathroom.)
Mr. Bowles’ quirky and distinctive decorating style, which includes an eclectic mix of antique furniture, artwork and generous use of bold, textured wallcoverings with lots of purples and lilacs, has made his apartment has been the subject of numerous publications over the years. This includes the interior design book “New York Behind Closed Doors”, published in 2017, and even the November 2014 edition of The World of Interiors.
For Mr. Bowles, however, the duplex has always been his refuge. “Before the pandemic, I led a strangely itinerant life and my apartment in New York was a wonderfully comforting place to return to,” he said in the email. “During the pandemic, it has become a salvation – and a wonderful place for me to call home.”
Some of his treasures, or what he calls “objects of affection,” are still in the apartment, even though he basically moved out several months ago.
The apartment is entered through a spacious hall, where there are stairs to the side leading to the second level. Next to the entrance is also an open-plan kitchen, fitted with marble countertops, wooden cabinets and black and white checkerboard floors, and beyond the dining area and bathroom.
The entrance also opens onto the large north-facing living room, which is anchored by the fireplace and imposing bookshelves. Mr. Bowles would entertain the fashion industry people there.
Mr Bowles, who joined the US edition of Vogue in 1992, has long been a fixture in international fashion and social circles, with a long list of celebrity friends, including his boss, Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue.
The master bedroom on the upper level has an en-suite glass-enclosed bathroom and (no big surprise!) plenty of closet space. There was originally a Juliet balcony on the second level, Mr Poore noted, but Mr Bowles had it closed and turned into a closet.
The new owners, of course, may want to restore the balcony, tone down the decor and make other changes, Mr Poore acknowledged. Or, they may be happy to leave everything as is.
Either way, he says, “bones are great whether someone likes it or not.”