American Thread Building Penthouse by Claudia Doering Bayes

American Thread Building Penthouse by Claudia Doering Bayes

Photo: Chris Motalini

In 1981, Claudia Doering Baez and her two brothers moved to New York from Mexico to attend Columbia University. Her mother, artist Lucero Gonzalez, followed suit, and together they set off to find a place to live as a family. While walking downtown one day, Doering Bays and one of her brothers stumbled upon this 1896 Renaissance building, located at the corner of West Broadway and Beach Street. Designed by William B. Tubby as the Wool Exchange, it contained a wool storage warehouse, a bank, offices, and a members-only Wool Club upstairs when it opened. Later, its name was changed to the American Thread Company, which had offices there. By the time Doring Bays and its brother passed by, a developer had converted it into apartments and was apparently keen to make the process as easy as possible for potential buyers. “We just walked in, and in the hallway where the doorman is now, there was Citibank offering you a loan,” she recalls.

The penthouse unit included the private ballroom of what was originally the Wool Club. At the height of the Gilded Age, the luxurious club featured a separate dining room for the ladies, and the club office was paneled in black walnut with an open fireplace at one end. The entire space was on the market for $900,000 — “$900,000 we didn’t have,” Doering-Baez says. They bought the less expensive 4G unit instead and lived there for many years. The penthouse was purchased by the Etro family who lived there and had a showroom.

Doering-Baez was president of the building’s board of directors from 2000-201. One day, she received an emergency call about a leak from the man who bought Etro’s apartment. During their conversation, she discovered that he was going to divide the huge space into two parts. “It was inside information,” she says. “That’s how I got my apartment.”

Doring Baez and her family sold the 4G network and bought the 11B in 2001 (the seller kept the 11A). Despite the great grandeur, “it was furnished in a way that was very comfortable and easy to live in, and not a lot of thought was put into its decor, frankly,” she says.

That changed last year, when a friend recommended she meet Romanian-born architect Crina Argirescu-Rugard, who was educated in Italy and worked in France before moving to New York. In Paris, “you have to deal a lot with Haussmann’s buildings, which are beautifully created with this classic atmosphere,” says Argirescu-Rougard. “Then we like to bring in contemporary and eclectic.” An atmosphere she brought to the Doering Bays house. The project went on to levels in May, when, before a show at Volta New York, where she would be showing her work, Doering Bays decided to host a party at home.

Arghirescu Rogard replaced the Shabby Chic sofa with Achille Salvagni’s Alligator sofa and paired it with a series of stackable cubes by Liz Hopkins that serve as a coffee table. Modern furniture sits alongside original black walnut paneling, a mosaic entrance hall floor and a beautiful stained glass skylight.

Dining area: The resin table is a collaboration between Hopkins and Crina Argirescu Rugaard. The covered chairs are designed by Liz Collins. Paintings by Rose Wylie.
Photo: Chris Motalini

Original fireplace in living room.
Photo: Chris Motalini

In one corner of the living room is the artwork of Claudia Baez. Lympho lounge chair designed by Taras Zheltyshev. Aphrodite floor lamp designed by Patrick E. Carpenter. The rug is Steinhoff from Beauvais Carpets.
Photo: Chris Motalini

The resin and gold leaf desk is designed by Hélène de Saint Lager. The artwork above is by Roy Oxlade.
Photo: Chris Motalini

Arghirescu Rogard designed the headboard in dark green velvet. The center artwork by Rose Wylie is surrounded by works by Lucero Gonzalez.
Photo: Chris Motalini

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