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50 West 12th Street (Brown Harris Stevens) 50 West 12th Street (Brown Harris Stevens)
Many an amenity-rich New York condominium has described the children’s playroom's decor as “treehouse-inspired,” but 50 West 12th Street takes that literally with a round cedar treehouse in the garden. In late 2004, after buying the pre-Civil War townhouse from musician David Byrne and moving to Manhattan from a small Westchester town, artist Melinda Hackett wanted her daughters to have an outdoor retreat. According to Daytonian in Manhattan, a London plane tree in the garden was “just aching for a treehouse.” Ms. Hackett commissioned fellow artists Nick Cohen and Ashley Koral to build the treehouse for approximately $5,000, and it took shape less than six months later.
The townhouse is located just within the boundaries of the Greenwich Village Historic District, where new construction is typically eyed with some suspicion. The treehouse at this private home was no exception: Shortly after it was completed, an anonymous complaint charged the artist with building an unsafe-appearing structure without the proper permits. It took a few years and multiple appearances before the Environmental Control Board as well as the Landmarks Preservation Commission; but in 2010, Ms. Hackett prevailed and the treehouse was allowed to stay.
Years later, the townhouse has been listed for $17 million, and the treehouse is still standing in the garden. While Ms. Hackett’s daughters used it to “plot, scheme, and gossip” as children, the listing points out that it could also work as a mediation room for adults.
50-West-12th-Street Treehouse interior


50-West-12th-Street

↓ In addition to the treehouse, the house's private landscaped garden features a bluestone sitting area.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ Inside, a south-facing artist's studio enjoys picture-perfect views of the garden and the treehouse.

50-West-12th-Street
50-West-12th-Street

↓ A separate studio/guest suite has beamed ceilings, full kitchen and bath, and access to the garden.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ The front parlor features 14-foot ceilings, original marble fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and French doors opening to planting balconies.

50-West-12th-Street
50-West-12th-Street

↓ Just off the open kitchen, there is enough room in the living room for a dining area that comfortably seats eight.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ A south-facing media room enjoys garden views, an original marble fireplace, and custom bookshelves.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ The bedrooms start on the third floor, and all enjoy generous storage space and abundant natural light.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ The primary bedroom features a marble fireplace, abundant closet space, and en suite bath with open shower and deep soaking tub.

50-West-12th-Street
50-West-12th-Street

↓ On the fourth floor, a Parisian-inspired atelier boasts an 18-foot ceiling, a large skylight, a working fireplace, and treetop views.

50-West-12th-Street

↓ A private cedar roof deck has built-in seating, water and electricity installed, and open views of the surrounding treetops and historic buildings.

50-West-12th-Street

Additional Info About the Building