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


One Madison, #14A is in-contract and had an ask of $4.495M (Douglas Elliman) One Madison, #14A is in-contract and had an ask of $4.495M (Douglas Elliman)
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.
One-Madison-Avenue-3 One Madison, Unit 39A available for $13.25M (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.
Unit #41D at One57 listed for $28.5M (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.
157-West-57th-Street-04 Unit #41D at One57 listed for $28.5M (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.
Douglas Elliman One Madison #14A (Douglas Elliman)


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 Rodriquez. “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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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.
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