Before they moved to New York’s Turtle Bay neighbourhood, actress, author and fashion designer Mary-Kate Olsen and her husband, Olivier Sarkozy, called two townhouses in the city’s East Village home.
The Anglo-Italianate brownstones, which the pair moved into in 2012, stand side by side at the epicentre of the St Mark's Historic District, overlooking Greenwich Village. Although they can be bought individually, the two properties present a rare opportunity to own conjoining townhouses and build a veritable mansion in the heart of Manhattan, much like Olsen did. Co-founder of luxury brands Elizabeth and James and The Row, as well as Olsenboye and StyleMint, Olsen wrote Influence with her twin sister Ashley, to pay homage to the designers who inspired their fashion lines.
In keeping with Olsen’s vintage-meets-grunge aesthetic, the residence on 125 East 10th Street is at once rustic and chic, featuring floor-to-ceiling French doors, wooden beams and floors, and bold colour schemes. Floral rugs lie underfoot in the reception room and parlour, while the airy master bedroom comes with a decorative fireplace from 1854. The detailed mantelpieces, stairwell, skylights and mouldings, too, remain intact.
The hulking dining area, with its dark-wood double doors, a long wooden table and sleeper-wood ceiling, sits in harmonious contrast with an open-plan kitchen that’s decorated in pristine white, while the home boasts as many as five historic chandeliers.
What was originally Sarkozy’s residence on 123 East 10th Street, meanwhile, is a more masculine space, with exposed brickwork, oversized artworks and a den-like library. Current owners, artist Aaron Young and his wife, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, chief executive of luxury retailer The Webster, have retained Olsen and Sarkozy’s modifications to the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as the home’s historical elements.
The master bedroom features turquoise walls – as does the endearing nursery – and his and her walk-in wardrobes, while the monochrome master bathroom comes with reflecting mirrors that add a sense of space. The property has an eat-in family kitchen with a large hearth and a wall of steel casement French doors. A streak of fire-engine red dominates one wall of a foyer that can be entered through wrought iron gates. The upholstery and carpets across the common areas continue with the blue and red colour scheme, while the lights are more contemporary than its twin's antique fixtures.
A dark-wood banister curves through both the five-storey homes, each of which has five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms, spread across 4,200 square feet. The residences also share an al fresco seating area, with stonework and ornate benches and tables, in what is one of the largest private gardens in Manhattan, and come with an English basement, ornamental Juliet balconies and grand double parlours with soaring ceilings.
The houses boast "a trifecta of grand scale, glorious light and priceless architectural details", say Mark Amadei and Jonathan Hettinger from Sotheby's International Realty, which is representing 123, and lists it at $7.7 million (Dh28.2m), while 125 is with Warburg Realty for $8.3m. Together, the homes are on the market for $15.99m.