New York City’s Hatch House was singled out as a landmark in 1977 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as an excellent example of Neo-Renaissance architecture made popular in the early 1900s. It was a confusing style considered to be a hybrid of the earlier Renaissance forms and was loosely designed primarily by the whims of architects and their clients rather than adhering to any specific geography or culture. Though most people refer to the Hatch House as leaning toward the Spanish influence, Architect Frederick Sterner could have just as easily been inspired by Italian villas when he designed it for Barbara Hatch, great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1916.
A large townhouse with three stories and the rare private Upper East Side courtyard, the house has attracted a number of interesting owners including burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee, and top-selling artist Jasper Johns Jr. Gypsy Rose made the most notable changes to the decor by adding gilt and murals much loved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee. In 2000, film director, producer, writer, and actor Spike Lee bought the house from Johns for $16 million. In November, Lee and his attorney wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, put their 13-year residence on the market.
The 8,292-square-foot, 32-foot-wide, three-story townhouse on East 63rd Street consists of five bedrooms, a library, staff quarters, elevator and three fireplaces – one, a European import from the 18th century dating to the original construction. Two rooms have cathedral ceilings and there is a chef’s kitchen, full security system and oak floors laid out in herringbone and parquet patterns. The breezeway that connects the two wings has open views along its length through arched sets of French doors.
Spike Lee’s East 63rd Street townhouse, previously owned by Vanderbilt family, Gypsy Rose Lee and artist Jasper Johns, Jr., is now for sale at $32 million.
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