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565 Broome Street 565 Broome Street
The all-glass building. Once limited to commercial structures they've become a ubiquitous staple on New York City's residential market over the last 15 years. The list of recently completed glass structures is long. There’s 111 Murray Street, which is inspired by a Murano glass vase; the trio of towers at Waterline Square; Central Park Tower, the reflective prism that is the tallest residential building in the world; and the zigzagging “Jenga” glass geometry of 56 Leonard Street. While sometimes loathed due to their cold streetside appearance, not to mention the harm they cause to our feathered friends, their novelty lies in the way they open up interiors with their full-height windows, flooding spaces with natural light while bestowing expansive views.
Admiring their beauty from afar (or the street) and living inside their glass confines are two very different things. Glass walls can be modern and sleek, but they can also be cold. They make arranging furniture a challenge, as well as achieving a more traditional or eclectic design. Not to mention, do you really want your life on display?
So how do you turn a glass house suited for an exhibitionist into a warm and inviting private home for someone more modest? CityRealty asked Ximena Rodriguez, Principal and Director of Interior Design at CetraRuddy, for some suggestions.


There are a wide variety of window treatments readily available, and while blinds and shades—whether vertical, horizontal, manual or electronic—all do the job of providing privacy, they don’t all have the same effect as fabric drapery. Draperies, for one, add the feeling of depth against the flat pane of floor-to-ceiling windows. They also soften the hard impression of glass while framing views. 
“Even if clients don’t feel the need for privacy, sometimes we do a sheer drapery to add a little warmth to the room,” says Ximena Rodriguez. Sheer drapes also bring a textural layer to the design she adds. “You can see the light and the view, but it’s almost as if there’s a screen. They hide a little bit of what’s going on inside.” Full height draperies also accent the height of the room and the expanse of the windows.
Loft-25-02 Penthouse at Loft 25 via Compass
There are other practical benefits to controlling the light in an all-glass building, too, as temperature fluctuations can be more severe. Drapes will block heat in the summer and the cold temperatures of winter, and that can help lower your heating and cooling bills. Drapes also protect furniture, fabric, and floors from sun damage.
Just note, some upscale buildings suggest (or require) a uniform window treatment that is typically a shade or a blind.


“When designing any room with a wall or two of glass, the view should be the focal point and the backdrop of the room,” says Rodriguez. One of the biggest errors people make when arranging furniture in a room with glass walls is when they place a sofa or chair with its back to the view.
“When you have floor-to-ceiling glass, you never want to put furniture right against it,” says Rodriguez. “Typically, I like to position it at least two feet away from the glass. It feels more gracious when you don’t put something right at the window.”
In terms of sofas or chairs, place them against the other walls in the room “unless the room is big enough that you can float the furniture. It might be on the side, but you would still do the arrangement so that it is well proportioned and centered in the room. You always want to work with the view.”
Furniture is another way to add texture to the room, she says. “You can counter the sleekness and the coldness of glass with a good balance of furniture that is upholstered and well proportioned, along with rugs, draperies, and natural materials like wood.” This applies to those who prefer contemporary design, as well. You can still have very clean lines in your furniture with fabrics that are softer.
157-West-57th-Street-01 Images of One57 via Core


Artwork is important in any space. Art adds color and makes the space personal. “It can be two dimensional or a sculpture,” says Rodriguez. “You can have a sculpture on a pedestal that is silhouetted in front of the window.” She also recommends placing a dynamic piece of furniture in front of the glass. Moreover, even a carefully chosen paint color adds a warmth and a personal touch to what could otherwise be a stark white room.
252-South-Street-01 One Manhattan Square via Extell


While lighting is important in any apartment, there are certain types of fixtures that work better in an all-glass building. However, the same rule applies: don’t block the view. Rodriquez suggests pendant or overhead lighting that you can “see through” to the view.
“To warm up the space, use different layers of lighting including something overhead like a chandelier, and architectural lighting. And then mix it up with some floor and table lamps.” Look for glass shades, and if it fits the design, try track or recessed lighting.

Outside Looking In

Most people don’t consider what their apartment looks like from outside the window, but maybe they should. In a city like New York where you are surrounded by other buildings, it matters.
“Right now, I’m looking across the street at an all-glass building, and I can see the backs of beds pushed against the walls in one apartment, a desk with a computer and wires coming down in another,” says Cary Tamarkin, the founder and president of Tamarkin Co., an architecture and real estate development company. “On a piece of paper, I’m sure it looks fine.” But in reality? Not so much.
Generally, if you avoid putting furniture in front of the glass, you won’t disrupt the aesthetics of the exterior. But sometimes, you may want to place a desk close to the window if you have a home office and you want to see the view as you work. You can still do this and maintain the clean lines of floor-to-ceiling glass.
Choose your desk wisely, says Rodriguez. “Ideally, it should be something that has wire management, so you can hide the cables within the piece.”

The bottom line

If you live in an all-glass building, take advantage of the vistas. Make it the focal point of the rooms; don’t block your sight lines with furniture; and use the other walls that aren’t glass to position the backs of sofas, buffets, sideboards, and TVs. Once you’ve perfected your space, sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.

Featured Listings
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3-Court-Square-01 All images of Skyline Tower via Modern Spaces
From the listing: The high floor two bedroom, with a direct southern exposure, is a generously-sized residence highlighted by stunning views of downtown Manhattan and the East River. You'll enjoy the distinctive European white oak engineered wood flooring throughout and the split bedroom layout, which features a large master with a walk-in closet. The contemporary chef-inspired kitchen is ideal for everyday living or culinary exploration. It is composed with cabinetry finished with sand ash veneer and extreme matte laminate, a Viatra quartz slab countertop and backsplash, top-of-the-line Bosch appliance package that includes an outside venting range hood, and Monogram microwave. See floor plan and full details here.

150-Rivington-Street-01 All images of 150 Rivington Street via Compass
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695-First-Avenue-01 All images of One United Nations Park via The Corcoran Group
From the listing: Residence 35J is a north facing one bedroom, one bathroom residence. Ceilings over nine feet with floor-to-ceiling windows allow for maximum openness and natural light. Designed by Richard Meier & Partners Architects, the residence interiors are a striking contrast to the black glass exterior, reflecting a white color palette. See floor plan and full details here.

252-South-Street-01 All images of One Manhattan Square via Extell
From the listing: Residence 53C is a 1,487 square foot three bedroom, three bathroom with an open gourmet kitchen and breakfast bar. This spacious corner residence faces South West and South East, with spectacular sunrise and sunset views overlooking NY Harbor, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and One World Trade. Warm, modern interiors are brought to life by the renowned design team at Meyer Davis Studio.See floor plan and full details here.

45-East-22nd-Street-01 All images of Madison Square Park Tower via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Perched high above the Flatiron District, with 10-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, boasting southern, western, and northern exposures, Residence 31A commands dramatic architectural and river views, is awash in natural light throughout the day and basked in golden sunsets. See floor plan and full details here.

277-Fifth-Avenue-01 All images of 277 Fifth Avenue via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: IMMEDIATE MOVE IN! Where Fifth Avenue Meets the Sky - With architecture by Rafael Vinoly and interiors by Jeffrey Beers International, Residence 36A is a 1,784 SF (166 SM) three-bedroom with triple exposures to the northeast and west. Spanning the entire north facade of the building this expansive home offers panoramic Midtown views including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from floor-to-ceiling windows in corner living room and master bedroom. See floor plan and full details here.

138-Willoughby-Street-01 All images of Brooklyn Point via Extell
From the listing: A pristine corner residence nestled in the prestigious Brooklyn Point development, this stunning 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is a portrait of contemporary Brooklyn living. Features of this 1,486 sq. ft. home include beautiful wide-plank stained oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with southern and eastern exposure and panoramic views of Brooklyn, an in-home washer/dryer, and a harmonious light wood color palette with brushed nickel fixtures and finishes designed to accentuate space and natural light. See floor plan and full details here.

505-West-43rd-Street-01 All images of Charlie West via Douglas Elliman
From the listing: Residence 9B is an impeccably designed and highly desirable split 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with each bedroom privately located on opposite ends of the home. 9B is highlighted by an open living area measuring nearly 30 feet and an amazing master bedroom featuring a huge walk-in closet and spa-like en-suite. See floor plan and full details here.

56-Leonard-Street-01 All images of 56 Leonard Street via Sotheby's International Realty
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35-Hudson-Yards-01 All images of 35 Hudson Yards via Related/Oxford Property Group
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111-Murray-Street-01 All images of 111 Murray Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Introducing 111 Murray Street #42A - an extraordinary 1,939 square feet, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom sun-soaked residence in the sky - featuring breathtaking Manhattan views and masterful AD100 interior design - the pinnacle of city living in Tribeca's most prestigious new development! This phenomenal half-floor city residence offers the consummate mix of prestige and privacy, complete with its own private elevator vestibule. A beautiful foyer welcomes you and leads into a resplendent sunbathed great room wrapped in soaring 10' 7" floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with exceptional natural light and spectacular north and east-facing vistas of the Empire State Building, Hudson River and beyond. Thoughtful interior layout considerations incorporate an open concept floor plan to create one seamless area perfect for daily living and entertaining. See floor plan and full details here.

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From the Listing: Spacious 1,087 sf, High Floor Sun-splashed One-bedroom/one Bathroom home features southern exposure, a floor to ceiling windows and river views. The gracious entry foyer leads to an open kitchen with custom-stained walnut cabinetry, granite countertops, and a built-in dining banquette. First-in-class appliances from Miele and Sub-Zero include a convection oven and gas cooktop, refrigerator, freezer, wine refrigerator with built-in bar cabinet above, dishwasher, and a range hood that vents directly to the outside. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This beautifully laid out apartment maximizes living space and incredible open views to the north, east, and south. There is a balcony at each end of the apartment with views of iconic NYC buildings and even a peak at the East River. All of the windows have electronically controlled shades, and the home is equipped with a nest system. An in-unit washer and dryer are also featured. The open kitchen includes Viking and Sub-Zero appliances and a perfectly sized center island with room for barstools. The large main bedroom includes a built-out closet and the ensuite bathroom has modern tile and stone work with a glassed enclosed shower and bathtub. Apartment 19A also includes a storage locker in the basement. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Attention Terrace Lovers! This almost new extremely bright 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Condo features TWO irrigated professionally landscaped terraces totaling 366 sf of livable, private outdoor space in the heart of vibrant Chelsea. This comfortable, ultra-chic home boasts Brazilian Ipe hardwood flooring, custom finishes, central A/C, custom closets throughout, electric shades and floor-to-ceiling windows. The sleek, modern kitchen and bathrooms have been upgraded to a tastefully high standard. The open chefs kitchen features glass Subzero and Bosch appliances and marble countertops. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: VIEWS, VIEWS, VIEWS! Boasting sweeping, triple-exposure (E, S, W), wide-open views, #23B is new to market and ready for its lucky new owner. Enter into the home, perched on one of the highest floors of the desirable Ariel East, and you are immediately wowed by the southern light drenching the three-bedroom home. The living/dining room wraps the southeastern corner of the apartment and has open views over midtown Manhattan, the Hudson River, New Jersey, and all of the Upper West Side. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Indoor/ Outdoor Living at its Best! Modern, light-filled and spacious describe this stunning one-of-a-kind home at 303 East 33rd Street. The first LEED Green Certified Building in Kips Bay, the building is aesthetically built for modern living, paired in an eco-friendly setting.

This stunning split two-bedroom, two-bath home offers 1,420 square feet of interior living space with 435 square feet of private outdoor space split between two terraces. This gracious home is wrapped by double-paned floor-to-ceiling windows and three exposures, North, East, and South provide an abundance of light all day long.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: One of the most unique lines at The Edge and rarely available, this beautiful residence fully captures the epitome of modern luxury living. The large open gourmet chef's kitchen is ?tted with top-of-the-line Miele & Bosch stainless steel appliances, including a microwave, dishwasher, breakfast bar, and plenty of high-gloss cabinetry. It overlooks the spacious living room, which has double exposure flooded with natural sunlight, and balcony access. Each bedroom offers a generous amount of space, custom California Closets, with the primary and secondary bedrooms including ensuite bathrooms, and the primary suite has its own entrance, another balcony, a large walk-in closet and dressing area, and en-suite bathroom with a double sink, shower, and separate soaking tub. The unit also offers plenty of storage and closet space throughout, plus an in-unit Bosch washer/dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This spectacular Penthouse condo residence sits atop an early 20th-century ink press warehouse in the vibrant neighborhood of West Chelsea. Upon entry into this spacious penthouse, one is immediately struck by the volume and light of the Great Room. 12-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows are complemented with a wrap-around terrace.The open kitchen is designed by Schiffini with ample storage and designer appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This expansive two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom residence designed by Champalimaud offers north, east and southern exposures through floor-to-ceiling windows. White oak flooring throughout leads from the entry into an open living and dining concept, complete with a chef's kitchen offering honed Capri marble countertops, backsplash, and a waterfall island with room for seating. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Located on the 38th floor of the famous Olympic Tower condominium, this rarely available two bedroom offers peace and tranquility high above Fifth Avenue. With sweeping views over the New York skyline, this residence offers warmth and serenity. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Rarely available is an oversized 1361sqft one-bedroom condominium jewel in the sky with an astounding 270-degree panorama of Manhattan. Gaze through unobstructed views - due South, West, and North - through 110 linear feet of glass with 10' ceilings, this architectural masterpiece by Herzog & DeMueron (with interiors by John Pawson) is engineered at the highest level. With floor-to-ceiling soundproofed operable windows and glazed million less corner windows, there are no view-blocking columns anywhere to be found. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Welcome to this unique opportunity to own a 2-bedroom, 2-full-bathroom home within the iconic and luxurious Time Warner Center (recently renamed the Deutsche Bank Center). This condominium is located at 25 Columbus Circle and has all the private amenities imaginable. Club 51 and Mandarin Oriental Hotel are situated within the same building and offer residents exclusive access. Furthermore, residents have direct access to some of the city's best shopping and dining choices at The Shops at Columbus Circle. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: RENOVATED WEST VILLAGE LOFT WITH SPECTACULAR VIEWS! BEST VALUE IN BUILDING! Enjoy spectacular sunsets and Hudson River views from this 10th floor, mint condition, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft with 1,853 square feet and 2 terraces in the full service and architecturally acclaimed 173 Perry Street. This full-floor apartment with 4 exposures features over 10-foot tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and beautiful custom oak flooring. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Off a private, keyed elevator, one enters a dramatic gallery that is over 25 feet long - designed for displaying art and entertaining. As you walk through the gallery you are greeted by a 10-foot floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed great room with exposures including, east over historic landmarked SoHo, and north toward the midtown skyline. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Rarely available half-floor residence in one of the most distinguished full-service towers in New York City, The Astor Place. This expansive, luxuriously appointed 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath beauty is a designer masterpiece, ideally positioned in the heart of NoHo, boasting floor-to-ceiling walls of glass overlooking the Manhattan skyline. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Situated in a prime SOHO location, this museum-quality four bedroom, three and a half bath residence is in mint move-in condition. Tastefully designed and impeccably executed, this light and airy 3,540 sf residence with 10' 6" ceilings has been renovated to the highest construction standards with high-end luxury finishes. The floorplan can best be described as a modern interpretation of a classic pre-war. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Spectacular views to the north, east, and west from this serene retreat floating high above midtown Manhattan. Residence PH43A epitomizes penthouse living with elegant features throughout the approximately 4,100 square feet of interior space and 1700 square feet of exterior space. The penthouse is configured as a four bedroom, four and two half bath unit with an additional office and den spread across the duplex. Through the grand marble foyer, the double height living room with a dramatic 21' ceiling offers a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building. The corner living room with floor-to-ceiling windows is bounded by an approximately 1,500 square foot wraparound, park-like private terrace with panoramic views of the midtown skyline. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Extraordinary, rarely available four-bedroom residence with spectacular Hudson River views in the highly sought-after 160 Leroy Condominium. Conceptualized by Ian Schrager and designed by Herzog and de Meuron for the modern lifestyle, this 2,792-square-foot home is beautifully proportioned and perfectly situated in the north tower of the building. Enjoy tons of light and breathtaking views through the 11' floor-to-ceiling windows, and an open floorplan that accommodates gracious living and entertaining while offering an abundance of wall space for art. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: The 56th Floor at the coveted One Madison is now available! Spanning over 3,300 square feet with unparalleled 360-degree Park, River, and New York City views, this incredible home just underwent a luxurious gut renovation that took over 2 years to complete. The elevator opens to a private foyer with a South-facing view that spans as far as the eye can see. It then moves into the grand living/entertaining space which features Western and Northern exposures, with views of the river, the park, and all of New York City. Ample space is strategically laid out to naturally section off the living, dining, and kitchen areas to allow for the perfect home to entertain guests. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This three bedroom, three and one-half bathroom residence at Central Park Tower offers gracious living enhanced by quintessential Central Park views from an elevation of 546 feet. Nearly 11-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling seven-foot-wide glass panels allow for an abundance of natural light throughout the home. The formal entry foyer and gallery lead to an expansive great room featuring both north and east-facing views. The gourmet kitchen features custom cabinetry by Smallbone of Devizes and premium Miele appliances create the perfect setting for entertainment. The intelligently designed floor plan features dual exposures, three en-suite bedrooms, and a separate powder room. The south and east-facing master bedroom suite feature spectacular city views with an oversized walk-in closet and a luxurious marble-clad five-fixture master bathroom. Central Park Tower will offer the most elevated residences in New York City. See floor plan and full details here.

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