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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


56 Leonard Street via Sotheby's International Realty 56 Leonard Street via Sotheby's International Realty
The all-glass building. It’s an architectural staple. The list of recently completed and in-the-works iconic glass structures is long. There’s 111 Murray Street, which is inspired by a Murano glass vase; the trio of towers at Waterline Square; One Madison, the boxy glass beauty; and the zigzagging “Jenga” glass geometry of 56 Leonard Street. Their dazzling beauty and innovation defines the ongoing transformation of New York City’s skyline.
But 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.
695-First-Avenue-01 One United Nations Park via The Corcoran Group
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.
157-West-57th-Street-01 Images of One57 via Core


“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.
45-East-22nd-Street-01 Carefully placed furniture at Madison Square Park Tower (Image via Douglas Elliman)


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.

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3-Court-Square-01 All images of Skyline Tower via Modern Spaces
From the listing: This high floor two bedroom is a generously-sized residence featuring a gorgeous northeastern view. You'll enjoy the distinctive European white oak engineered wood flooring throughout, double exposure living room that's surrounded by oversized windows, the split bedroom layout, and make good use of the two coat closets in the foyer. See floor plan and full details here.

150-Rivington-Street-01 All images of 150 Rivington Street via Compass
From the listing: This spacious split 2 bedroom 2 bath with a loft-like flow enjoys abundant light from both north and south exposures. The sleek and modern kitchen features abundant Italian cabinetry in tones of pearl matte and dove gray lacquer framed with a white honed Caesarstone countertop and backsplash. See floor plan and full details here.

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: This spacious residence faces northeast and overlooks expansive, lush gardens and city skyline. Warm, modern interiors are brought to life by the renowned design team at Meyer Davis Studio. This residence features imported stone and custom finishes, premium Miele appliance package, 5" wide stained oak flooring, master bath with custom wood cabinetry, marble tile walls and mosaic floors with radiant heat, under-mount Wetstyle sink with glass vanity top and Dornbracht polished chrome faucets and a washer and dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

313-West-121st-Street-01 All images of Vidro via Douglas Elliman
From the listing: Unit #2 is a unique full floor 2 bedroom 2 bathroom residence flooded with sunlight through the floor to ceilings windows. Stepping off the private keyed elevator, you will enter the bright living room with high ceilings and serene tree top views, a dedicated dinging area which can be converted into an office also. See floor plan and full details here.

505-Clinton-Avenue-01 All images of 505 Clinton Avenue via Nest Seekers
From the listing: Residence 4F is a 1,268-square-foot two-bedroom duplex home with soaring 20' ceilings. Enter into an expansive living space, your breath will be taken away by the sheer size of the massive wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows. With exposed beams, custom frosted glass and steel doors and high ceilings, this is loft living at its finest! 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: Spanning the entire 59th floor, this 4,662 square foot, four-bedroom, four and one half bath residence unquestionably features the most stunning 360-degree views in Manhattan. Designed for the most discerning buyer who requires perfection: floor-to-ceiling windows with approximate 10-foot loft ceilings and spacious bedrooms each with en-suite bespoke baths. See floor plan and full details here.

277-Fifth-Avenue-01 All images of 277 Fifth Avenue via The Corcoran Group
From the listing: Residence 35A is a 1,784 SF (166 SM) three bedroom with triple exposures to the north east 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. Perimeter columns establish an alternating rhythm of vertical floor-to-ceiling windows framing the views along multiple exposures and solid walls for displaying art. See floor plan and full details here.

138-Willoughby-Street-01 All images of Brooklyn Point via Extell
From the listing: Residence 31C is a spacious one bedroom home with oversized windows and bright, open northern exposure. Kitchen features cerused oak cabinetry, quartz slab countertops, and Miele appliances including a 4-burner gas range, 30" refrigerator, and speed oven. Residents may select between satin copper or brushed nickel Waterworks fixtures and a light or dark palette for the custom kitchen cabinetry and white oak wood flooring. See floor plan and full details here.

505-West-43rd-Street-01 All images of Charlie West via Douglas Elliman
From the listing: Residence 11B is an impeccably designed and highly desirable split 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with each bedroom privately located on opposite ends of the home. 11B 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.

860-United-Nations-Plaza-01 All images of 860 United Nations Plaza via The Corcoran Group
From the listing: This is a tremendous opportunity to purchase a high-floor 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath home offering stunning vistas from every window in the apartment. Northeast facing, over-sized windows let in incredible indirect light throughout the day, while keeping the apartment cooler in the afternoon. This fabulous, sun-filled duplex boasts roughly 3,000 square feet of living space with elegant, high-end finishes such as coffered ceilings, updated base boards, crown molding, and custom built-ins. See floor plan and full details here.

56-Leonard-Street-01 All images of 56 Leonard Street via Sotheby's International Realty
From the listing: Rare opportunity to own a spectacular, one-of-a-kind, full-floor Penthouse in the heart of Tribeca, perched above the clouds on the 58th floor. Penthouse 58 is a stunning 5,489-square-foot glass-wrapped home with soaring 14' ceilings, two Terraces and unobstructed, panoramic views from river to river, as well as iconic NYC skyline views. No expense was spared in the meticulous renovation of the entire residence by Reber Design Architecture and Emma Donnersberg Interiors. See floor plan and full details here.

35-Hudson-Yards-01 All images of 35 Hudson Yards via Related/Oxford Property Group
From the listing: This expertly planned three bedroom residence boasts 10’10” ceilings, lavish satin finish wide plank French oak floors, and stunning views of the city skyline from the corner Great Room. The windowed eat-in kitchen has been outfitted with luxurious Smallbone of Devizes cabinetry with opal white marble counters and backsplash. The master bedroom boasts a large walk-in closet and a luxurious master bathroom which is wrapped in stunning iceberg quartzite, complete with stunning double vanity with Kinon panels, and full depth soaking tub. See floor plan and full details here.

111-Murray-Street-01 All images of 111 Murray Street via Douglas Elliman
From the listing: At 3,330 square feet, this exceptional 4-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom residence with ceilings up to approximately 10'7 comprises an entire half floor, offering expansive north, south, and west-facing views that include cinematic panoramas of the Hudson River and beyond. From a private elevator vestibule, a grand set of double doors reveals a formal entry foyer that leads to a breathtaking corner living and dining room. The adjacent eat-in kitchen, with an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, center island breakfast bar, and dual points of entry, allows for seamless entertaining and intimate daily living alike. See floor plan and full details here.

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Contributing Writer Jillian Blume Jillian Blume is a New York City based writer who has published articles widely in magazines, newspapers, and online. Publications include the New York Observer, Marie Claire, Self, MSN Living, Ocean Home, and Ladies Home Journal. Jillian received a master's degree in Creative Writing from New York University and teaches writing, critical reading, and literature at Berkeley College.