BASICALLY, I WAS STARING at a brick wall for seven years,” architect Alexander Gorlin says of the Upper East Side rental he’d moved into after his divorce—a refuge he thought would be temporary until inertia set in. Finally, a year and a half ago, he set out to shake that off and find a place to buy, preferably one from which he could walk to work and ideally—though he was pretty sure he couldn’t afford it—in the West Village.
He found this “hidden jewel,” an apartment that hadn’t been touched in 30 years, back when it had been victim of an ill-conceived renovation. “It was not only a wreck,” Gorlin recalls, “but the owner had encroached onto the view with closets and a Murphy bed and dropped ceilings so that it was extremely off-putting. Unless you were an architect who could see past the excrescence.”
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