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152 Spring Street, #PH (Douglas Elliman) 152 Spring Street, #PH (Douglas Elliman)
Sunken living rooms would appear to be a forever fixture of New York apartments, but the phenomenon dates back to 1927, when architect Bruce Goff designed an Art Deco house with a "conversation pit," as Apartment Therapy reports. Architects like Eero Saarinen were inspired by this, and sunken living rooms found their way into Manhattan apartments. These offer a sense of grandeur and set the rooms apart without threatening the open floor plans many hold dear. At the same time, modern developers came to see sunken living rooms as a tripping hazard and stopped putting them in their buildings.

While sunken living rooms were fixtures on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, modern audiences came to rediscover them after seeing them on Mad Men. Appropriately enough, that is how many sunken living rooms can be found in today's real estate world: mostly in older co-ops, but also in residential conversions that have been designed to appeal to a modern audience.

125-West-96th-Street-1 All images of 125 West 96th Street via Douglas Elliman
125-West-96th-Street-2 Kitchen
125-West-96th-Street-3 Bath
125 West 96th Street #1B floor plan Floor plan
Prewar studio on the Upper West Side is rich in Art Deco details like high ceilings, arched entryway, sunken living room, and oak hardwood floors. The apartment is filled with light from sunny southern exposures. The building offers a laundry room, bike room, and easy access to Central Park, Riverside Park, Columbus Square, and transportation. See full details here.

235-East-73rd-Street-1 All images of Eastgate via Spire Group
235-East-73rd-Street-2 Sleeping alcove
235 East 73rd Street #1G floor plan Floor plan
Spacious alcove studio on the Upper East Side offers a large sunken living area with nooks for eating, reading, and entertaining. The kitchen has been updated with stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher, and marble countertops. Full-service building amenities include a gym, laundry room, courtyard, and garden. See full details here.

77-Park-Terrace-East-1 All images of 77 Park Terrace East via New Heights Realty
77-Park-Terrace-East-2 Kitchen
77-Park-Terrace-East-3 Bedroom
77 Park Terrace East #D20 floor plan Floor plan
Come to Inwood's largest, oldest, and most desired co-op complex! This apartment features generous proportions, herringbone floors, a beautiful sunken living room, and a windowed eat-in kitchen. The building offers free high-speed internet, a roof deck, laundry room, bike room, and easy access to several transportation options. See full details here.

20-East-35th-Street-1 All images of Goodhue House via Halstead
20-East-35th-Street-2 Kitchen
20-East-35th-Street-3 Bedroom
20 East 35th Street #7F floor plan Floor plan
Prewar Murray Hill apartment is filled with sunlight from eastern exposures. Features include new hardwood floors, sunken living room, open kitchen with dishwasher, large bedroom, and walk-in closet. The doorman building has a fitness center and roof deck with gorgeous views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. See full details here.

35-West-90th-Street-1 All images of 35 West 90th Street via Brown Harris Stevens
35-West-90th-Street-2 Kitchen
35-West-90th-Street-3 Bedroom
35 West 90th Street #5J floor plan Floor plan
Gracious Upper West Side home is filled with prewar details like a sunken living room, original casement windows, original oak flooring, high beamed ceilings, wrought iron and plasterwork detail, and bath with restored Art Deco tile. However, recent improvements include fresh paint, new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and a new washer/dryer. The building is located in close proximity to the Central Park Reservoir, two subway lines, dining, and shopping. See full details here.

225-East-74th-Street-1 All images of 225 East 74th Street via Compass
225-East-74th-Street-2 Dining area
225-East-74th-Street-3 Bedroom
225 East 74th Street #2F floor plan Floor plan
The focal point of this Upper East Side apartment is a dramatic sunken living room with large south-facing windows that fill the home with sunlight. Additional features include a flexible floor plan, generous closet space, and beautiful treetop views. Full-service co-op amenities and staff include bike room, storage, laundry room, and full-time doorman. See full details here.

10-West-66th-Street-1 All images of Park Ten via Brown Harris Stevens
10-West-66th-Street-2 Dining area
10-West-66th-Street-3 Bedroom
10 West 66th Street #12J floor plan Floor plan
Move-in ready, south-facing apartment near Central Park and Lincoln Center offers incredible proportions and closet space. A separate dining area overlooks the sunken living room. Full-service co-op's amenities and staff include doorman, concierge, roof deck, fitness center, conference room, children's playroom, circular driveway, parking garage, and storage. See full details here.

200-Cabrini-Boulevard-1 All images of Castle Village via Simone Song Properties
200-Cabrini-Boulevard-2 Den
200-Cabrini-Boulevard-3 Bedroom
200 Cabrini Boulevard #19 floor plan Floor plan
Located in a co-op built into an Upper Manhattan hill, this lobby-floor home with a sunken living room offers the bridge and river views one would expect from a high-rise. Additional features include a large entry/dining foyer, two unique wings, and kitchen with granite countertops and dishwasher. The building offers easy access to Fort Tryon Park, the Cloisters, tennis courts, dining, shopping, and transportation. See full details here.

152-East-94th-Street-1 All images of 152 East 94th Street via Modern Spaces
152-East-94th-Street-2 Dining area and kitchen
152-East-94th-Street-3 Bedroom
152 East 94th Street #9J floor plan Floor plan
Expansive Carnegie Hill co-op in an Art Deco building features a large sunken living room, two split bedrooms, a spacious dressing area, and incredible closet space. The kitchen has been renovated with granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances. Additional features include southeast exposures, glass front doors, molding, hardwood floors, and washer/dryer. See full details here.

152-Spring-Street-1 All images of 152 Spring Street via Douglas Elliman
152-Spring-Street-2 Study
152-Spring-Street-3 Private terrace
152 Spring Street #PH floor plan Floor plan
Soho penthouse in a 19th-century building has been transformed into a modern dream home. A spacious foyer leads to a sunken living room with arched ceilings and a gas fireplace, and the adjacent kitchen is outfitted with state-of-the-art appliances and lava stone countertops. This space is ideal for entertaining, but two private terraces offer the option of taking the party outside. See full details here.

Honorable Mentions

333-West-57th-Street-1 The Westmore via Citi Habitats
200-West-20th-Street-1 Kensington House via Douglas Elliman
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Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City