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Flip The Script

By shuffling the arrangement of rooms, Julianne Moore brings new life to her beloved New York City townhouse

Mayer Rus

The word normal doesn’t get a lot of play in glossy shelter magazines. It has the slightly pejorative connotation of something ordinary—the antithesis of the magic and wonder that fabulous design is meant to inspire. Yet, when one enters the Manhattan home of actress Julianne Moore, the first impression is of surprising normality. Teenagers buzz about, doing whatever it is that teenagers do, and dogs bark affectionately for attention. The rooms possess the kind of engaging homeyness that emerges, seemingly without effort, in spaces where someone has paid close attention to proper scale, proportion, and period detail. There is no indoor lap pool, Turkish-style hammam, James Turrell skyspace, or any other conspicuously lavish signifier of luxury. It feels like a home—delightfully, unapologetically normal.

“For years I dreamed about living in a townhouse in the West Village,” says the Oscar-winning actress, who lights up the big screen this fall with a hat trick of high-profile films: Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck, George Clooney’s Suburbicon, and Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. “The first time I walked into this one, I knew this was it—I fell in love,” Moore recalls. That was 15 years ago. At the time, the fivestory house had been carved up into apartments, but the original front-and-back-parlor configuration was intact, as were the floors, shutters, fireplaces, and staircase. “There was enough character left that we could bring the house back to its Greek Revival roots without destroying the soul and texture of the building,” Moore says.

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November 2017