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An Interior Designer Brings the English Countryside to Tudor City

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5 Tudor City, also known as Windsor Tower, was built between 1929 and 1930.
5 Tudor City, also known as Windsor Tower, was built between 1929 and 1930.

Welcome to House Calls, a recurring feature in which Curbed tours New Yorkers' lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line.

[All photos by Max Touhey]

"There's no challenge in doing something that's 5,000 square feet," says interior designer Kittie Lonsdale, who is the owner of the firm Lifestyle Space Design. "Giving someone a gracious home in a small footprint that functions well—that really makes us tick." That guiding principle even extends to Lonsdale's own home, one of the five penthouses atop the Windsor Tower in Tudor City. The one-bedroom apartment is small in relation to the rest of the building, clocking in at less than 1,000 square feet, but for Lonsdale and her husband David, it's the perfect size. "I'm very happy with my little iconic penthouse," she says with a laugh.

And while they purchased the apartment back in May, Lonsdale spent several months renovating the penthouse—painting a room here, replacing a chandelier there—and only just moved in at the beginning of September. She has yet to fully execute her vision for the space, preferring to instead live in it for a year and get a sense of what bigger renovations need to be done before committing to anything major. "We treated it like I was the client, which was a good thing for my team," Lonsdale explains.

If Lonsdale's apartment looks familiar, it's because of Spider-Man: Her penthouse appeared in the first movie of the Tobey Maguire franchise, serving as the Green Goblin's (Willem Dafoe) lair. When Lonsdale purchased the apartment, the ornate chandelier that had been featured in the film was still hanging over the living room, which you can see in the photo below. But the house's pop-culture ties didn't interest Lonsdale—"I've never even seen the Spider-Man movies," she says with a laugh—as much as the space and the location. "[Tudor City is] a strange, sweet little neighborhood," she says. "It's not a destination. I just fell in love." She first purchased a studio in Windsor Tower a decade ago, using it as an office space, but vowed to one day live in one of the building's penthouses, going so far as to tell her husband that she "wants to die in one of those penthouses."

As for the space itself, Lonsdale says the aesthetic was inspired by old English country homes, an homage to her and her husband's birthplace. "I think the romance of Englishness has become more important to me," explains Lonsdale. She also hopes to hark back to architect Fred French's vision for the Tudor City complex, which was named for the popular English architectural style, and inspired by a desire to bring a more peaceful, genteel neighborhood to early-20th-century Midtown. "Part of my vision for the space is to respect that," she says. But the space is also functional, with pieces that serve multiple purposes, like an antique fold-out dining room table or a large bar with a built-in fridge. "It's just for me and my husband," she explains. "This is what we love."

House Calls archive [Curbed]