An ornate apartment perched near the top of Museum Mile overlooking Central Park’s picturesque northern terrain, dating to the 1920s and reinvented by net artist Ryder Ripps as his own highly personalized urban sanctuary, is poised to enter the market at $8 million.
The monthly maintenance charges on the residence, No. 14AB, at 1215 Fifth Avenue on the northeast corner of 102nd Street, are $8,427. Mr. Ripps acquired the property nearly 6 years ago and, in the course of a 33-month gut renovation and makeover that combined two adjacent units, transformed it into a Versailles-worthy showplace that simulates design elements from his favorite Old World palaces and relies heavily on vintage French imports. The finished apartment was the inspiration for his work with Instagram star, Adrianne Ho.
Known as Brisbane House, 1215 Fifth was developed by Arthur Brisbane, a columnist for Hearst newspapers, from a 16-story limestone-and-caramel-brick design by the architectural firm Schultze & Weaver. After its completion in 1928, Mr. Brisbane treated himself to the triplex penthouse, which had 30 rooms as well as 18 bathrooms and a private elevator.
Mr. Ripp’s apartment was once part of that triplex. He previously owned an Upper East Side residence at Fifth and 62nd Street and ended his yearlong search for a suitable “prewar handyman special” at 1215 Fifth: “I wanted as serene, quiet and bucolic a setting as I could get in Manhattan, and only upper Fifth Avenue gave me that,” he said. High ceilings, a high floor and Central Park vistas were nonnegotiable on his wish list. He thought his passion project might take a decade; instead, it required 17 years to finalize the décor, which includes baronial P. E. Guerin bathroom fittings, gilded moldings, plaster ceilings and several versions of marquetry floors, all of which he designed.
“It’s a finished canvas,” he said of the three-bedroom four-bath residence.
And it is a canvas with many finishes, including 18th-century parquetry de Versailles floors in a shade Mr. Ripps calls “cloud,” matching Louis XVI-style wood and resin moldings and wall panels (boiserie), and a genuine Louis XVI fireplace of white French marble in the 40-by-13-foot living room. There are leather doors, a basket-weave parquet de Versailles floor and 17th- and 18th-century imported lacquer wall panels in the south-facing library, which also has a hidden bar and a powder room with a hidden tub. The walls and ceiling of the screening room’s vestibule are covered with watercolors from a 1750 French ornithology book, the pages set under glass and framed by bamboo strips; the 21-by-11-foot kitchen has custom-painted Delft tile walls, a Garland range and a marquetry floor. The marble in the guest bath hails from the original St. Regis Hotel.
The elevator opens into a private entry vestibule leading to a 12-by-21-foot central gallery with a French limestone tile floor and a handmade 11-foot plaster ceiling; the walls are lined with a series of early 19th-century French scenic wallpaper panels from Paris. A pair of carved doors reveals the corner living room, with south and west exposures, 40 feet of park frontage, and a romantic 13-by-6-foot alcove/niche filled by a plush banquette.
French doors separate the living room from the 18-by-21-foot formal dining room, which has a nonfunctioning French Empire marble fireplace, west windows above the park and an elaborate assemblage of built-in bookcases with movable shelves and concealed lighting. The room takes its color scheme, eau de nil, from the green leaves of the park’s treetops in spring.
The master suite has gilded moldings, a fireplace, printed cotton wall covering and a south exposure; there is a 17-by-11-foot dressing room and a windowed bath with a custom marble vanity, a steam shower, raffia wall covering and faux painted satinwood and burl wood accents.
Nikki Field of Sotheby’s International Realty is handling the listing for Mr. Ripps, who owns a small storage space in New Jersey and, as his next major project, intends to build a live-work space on property he bought in Maine. Most of the Fifth Avenue furnishings will be moved downtown to his studio that will serve as the new urban pied-à-terre for the artist.
According to Ms. Field, No. 14AB is an irreplaceable masterpiece. “Aside from the design and detail of every wall, floor, ceiling and door, what makes the apartment priceless is that all the money in the world could not replicate it,” she said.