COTE DE TEXAS: One Sutton Place Renovation From 1922 - 2022

One Sutton Place Renovation From 1922 - 2022


Besides the Oscars, the most anticipated fashion event of the year is the Met Gala, where Anna Wintour sets the theme and celebrities dress accordingly.  The proceeds benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. 




CHINA THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, 2015 – the show at the Costume Institute that debuted along with the Met Gala that year.

The Met Gala is held annually on the first Monday in May and it coincides with a new exhibit at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, a wing of the Metropolitan Costume Institute.  The current Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute is the English born Andrew Bolton.   He is considered the genius behind the Institute and the Gala. 



Andrew Bolton is endlessly handsome, intellectually unparalleled, and chicer than any of the celebrities at the Gala.


Bolton wears his pants tight and short with impossibly huge classic shoes or brogues.   The pants have proper three inch cuffs.


To totally understand the man and his vision, you should watch, or rewatch the documentary “First Monday In May” – on Amazon Prime.  It features Bolton and Wintour and their preparations for the Met Gala and the Museum exhibit.  It is truly a wonderful documentary and I highly recommend it, especially to coincide with this story.

Bolton shares his life with clothing designer Thom Browne, newly elected president of CFDA.  85% of Browne’s eponymous label was bought by Zegna for $500 million.  Browne’s clothing showcases his iconic four stripes design, which Andrew Bolton is often seen in.  I’m DYING for one of Browne’s four stripes sweaters, but I’m afraid, they are out of my price range, even at Nordstrom’s!

But, Andrew Bolton doesn’t have that problem.  It appears he wears Brown’s label exclusively and why wouldn’t he? 


Actually, besides the four stripes, Thom uses another accent continually – the red white and blue ribbon trim.  Above, in a scene from the documentary First Monday In May, Bolton is seen in his custom Thom Browne suit.  Bolton strikes an amazing presence with his flowing morning jacket with its leading edge of ribbon that reaches from the coat’s hem up to the neck.

In T Magazine, Kurt Soller described a Thom Browne blazer as such:  “three-button jacket, cut high in the armholes — both broadening the shoulders and discouraging bad posture — should be fastened only once, snugly around the rib cage, from which the blazer should skim six inches over the pants’ waist.”

Imagine what kind of a house a man like Browne or Bolton would be happy living in.   

Here, both Thom Browne clothing accents are on display - his four stripes that create an armband.  And the red, white, and blue ribbon trim, which is added at the button holes.

See the Thom Browne line at Nordstrom’s HERE.

OK.  OK.  OK.  I hear you screaming to stop!!!!

“Enough about men’s clothing!”

The truth is, I am not really here to talk about Andrew Bolton wearing Thom Browne’s clothing.

But, what got this all started was a drawing on Instagram that The Devoted Classicist posted. 

The drawing was of a townhouse built for Mrs. WK (Anne) Vanderbilt in the early 1920s at 1 Sutton Place.  I became obsessed with the house and emailed with John Tackett aka The Devoted Classicist to talk about it.

The drawing coincided with a showstopping article in December’s Architectural Digest.  


The current owners of this house at 1 Sutton Place happen to be that fashionable power couple – Andrew Bolton and Thom Browne.  It doesn’t disappoint.  It’s exactly the kind of house you might imagine Browne & Bolton living in.


    When I first saw the AD article, I was overwhelmed with the house’s interior design.  It is very masculine, of course as it is owned by two men, but it is also so chic, so eclectic, so calm, so sedate, with an air of femininity, especially in the drawing room, dining room and master bedroom.  


Browne & Bolton’s drawing room was especially breathtaking.

The Cover:  Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton’s house was one of the more interesting ones I’d seen in Architectural Digest for a while.  I fell madly in love with it.

After connecting the Architectural Digest house to the drawing of Anne Vanderbilt’s house that I had seen on Instagram, I decided to do a deep dive –  it was amazing to discover who has owned 1 Sutton Place through the years.  It’s history is fascinating.    I hope you find its history as alluring as I do. 


    Luckily - there are a lot of photos of the house and its décor taken through the years.


    Ready to visit 1 Sutton Place, New York?


Grab a cup of coffee and Enjoy!!!! 



The story begins with this fabulous mansion at 660 Fifth Avenue, completed in 1883 by Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt.  The house took four years to build, and later, Vanderbilt’s son would built his own identical mansion next door – the two houses would be confused to be one. The house was the center of society, knocking the Astors off that throne.  To celebrate its completion, Alva threw a ball for 800 people, who were said to fit inside, comfortably.  By 1894, their marriage was over and WK Vanderbilt began looking for a new wife.  He found one a few years later, the heroine of this story - Anne Harriman, the twice widowed daughter of banker Oliver Harriman.   She reluctantly became the hostess of his Fifth Avenue mansion.

Mr. William K. Vanderbilt

The following years saw many society families in New York City moving uptown, but WK Vanderbilt refused to leave.  He stayed put on Fifth Avenue despite numerous security scares.  Spending much time abroad, WK Vanderbilt died in Paris, in 1920.  Four months later, the house he loved and owned for over 40 years was sold for a few million.  Today, a high rise stands at 660 Fifth Avenue.

But where did Anne Vanderbilt move to?   She had quickly sold the mansion, obviously wanting a new start, but where?

Shocking society, she bought a run down row house bordering the East River – the same exact house where Andrew Bolton and Thom Browne live today at 1 Sutton Place.

This part of NYC where Anne Vanderbilt moved to was once a very green, leafy land where Indians had freely roamed.  From the 1700s to the mid 1800s, the earliest settlers in New York City had moved north to this area from Wall Street,  building country estates that bordered on the East River.

1835,  Uncle Philip’s Fishing Party.   You can see the old Shot Tower at 55th street close to where the Queensboro Bridge is today.    One of the earlier paintings showing what was known as Avenue A and later, as Sutton Place.

East River at Blackwell’s Island, boat landing at 58th street, 1850.   Seventy years later, this same area would be at the center of derisive gossip when Anne Vanderbilt and a group of her society friends bought row houses on Sutton Place and meticulously restored them.  Today, the FDR Drive runs right along this part of the river at Sutton Place.


After the Civil War, the country estates were no longer being built.  Industry took over the area – factories, slaughterhouses, and more – drawn there for the easy access to the East River.  The residents who had built the country estates on areas around Avenue A were forced further west, leaving the avenue to become a dangerous, dirty and squalid place.  The river was said to run red from the slaughterhouses.



The last remaining shot tower in NYC on 53rd Street, it was finally removed in 1920.   This was just a few blocks from the Sutton Place row houses and you can see how far removed the area was from upper class residential housing.

Once the Civil War ended, amid the industry and squalor,  a row of 18 brownstones was built on Ave A between 57th and 58th in NYC.   Effingham B. Sutton, who made his fortune during the Gold Rush, took a business risk to build the row houses and in 1883, the street was renamed Sutton Place in his honor.    Effingham himself bought one of the houses, the prime one at Avenue A and 57th, today known as 1 Sutton Place. 

Although the houses were designed for the upper class, the area stayed strictly middle class because of its mix of nearby industry.  Another hinderance was the New York Steam Corporation whose huge stacks loomed over the much smaller rowhouses.    It would be almost fifty years before the neighborhood would become desirable.  Notice the design of the row houses – bland and brown, with stoops out front; one was indistinguishable from another.  More evidence of their inferior design, was that the interior rooms overlooked the front street, totally ignoring the breezes and views of the East River and the Queensboro bridge out back.


Notice the house on the corner at the farthest right – with two windows past its front door.   Today, this row house, once owned by Effingham Sutton,  is the house featured in the December issue of Architectural Digest.    Today, it’s front door is located on the side of the one room deep house.  This same house is owned by the power couple Thom Browne & Andrew Bolton and this is the house that the philanthropist and society icon of NYC, Anne Vanderbilt, bought from Effingham Sutton himself, after the death of her husband, WK Vanderbilt.

Starting in the early 1920s those 18 row houses were renovated.  Looking south on Sutton Place.



The neighborhood underwent its vast transformation when Anne Vanderbilt and her group of wealthy women decided to move east, away from the snobby environs of Fifth Avenue and the like.  After World War I, in 1920, a homeowners association headed by architect Eliot Cross bought the 18 rowhouses with the intention of renovating them.   While it was women who made Sutton Place popular, its first homeowner would be a man, the neurologist Dr. Foster Kennedy who had noticed the houses and their garden as he drove across the Queensboro Bridge. He moved into 14 Sutton Place. 

Anne Vanderbilt headed the group of pioneering women who renovated the row houses at Sutton Place.  Anne, rather than move into her late husband’s mansion on Fifth Avenue, chose instead to live in the now famous 1 Sutton Place at 57th – where Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton live today.    

One noted society friend who moved with Anne Vanderbilt to Sutton Place was J.P. Morgan’s spinster daughter, Anne Morgan.   She moved into 5 Sutton Place.    Vanderbilt’s sister Mrs. Stephen Olin bought #3, right next door.  Just a few years later, Olin sold her house to Morgan who combined 3 and 5 and renovated them into one house.   Today, Morgan’s home at 3-5 Sutton Place is owned by the United Nations and is where its Secretary General lives.  

Another friend of Vanderbilt’s to move to Sutton Place was Elisabeth Marbury who bought #13.  The noted architect, Mott Schmidt, renovated these three row houses for Mrs. Vanderbilt, Miss Anne Morgan, and Miss Elisabeth Marbury. Elsie de Wolfe handled the three’s interior design.  Elisabeth Marbury and de Wolfe were long time lovers and de Wolfe lived at 13 Sutton Place off and on. 





 These are the original,  beautifully drawn plans that so intrigued me when The Devoted Classicist put them on Instagram.   The architect Mott Schmidt presented these plans to Anne Vanderbilt, which showed his preliminary renovation drawings he proposed for her new row house.  The front door was moved from Sutton Place to the side street on E 57th.  This proposal does not accurately represent how the house was ultimately designed.  Although, at the far right, there is an arched garden gate that is there today and atop the brick wall, there is an urn which also remains today. 


  News of Anne Vanderbilt buying the rundown Sutton Place row house made the front page of the New York Times, such was the shock.  Because several of the women who also bought row houses, including Morgan and Marbury, were single and gay, the gossip was even more newsworthy.  The word lesbian was rarely ever used in newsprint, but the New York Times hinted at their status.  In code, the Sutton Place revival was referred to as the Amazon Enclave.  



Elisabeth Bessie Marbury’s house seen a few years ago, at 13 Sutton Place.

Elisabeth Marbury justified her move to what could be called a “fixer upper” today by saying “why should the East River be neglected?  Our garden will be a gem; a quaint old English garden with a red bricked wall.” 

Indeed, the garden that reaches down to the banks of the river remains a calling feature of Sutton Place today.


Elisabeth Marbury and de Wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe and the aristocratic literary agent and producer Elisabeth Marbury had a long off and on relationship and friendship which lasted 40 years until Marbury’s death and which survived de Wolfe’s surprising marriage to Sir Charles Mendl.  During their relationship, Elsie and Elisabeth lived together in various houses.  By the time Marbury moved to Sutton Place, they were no longer a romantic couple, but at Marbury’s death, it was revealed the Elisabeth had left almost everything to Elsie de Wolfe; including the Sutton Place house which Elsie promptly sold after first holding an estate sale.




Before WWI and the renovation of Sutton Place – the row of houses with stoops.  The dilemma was how to turn this boring row of stoops into gracious townhouses?


When it came time to renovate the 18 row houses, it was decided that the brownstone stoops, window ledges, and other protrusions would all be removed, leaving a straight line façade.  Called the American Basement Style, these facades were first popularized on Fifth Avenue.    Mott Schmidt’s designs were praised for their simple brick facades.  The three Sutton Place townhouses he renovated were often mistaken for original 19th century row houses because he reused the row houses’ bricks.    The houses boasted mod cons like elevators, incinerators, gas heat and refrigeration. 

The façade of the Anne Vanderbilt house was especially restrained and looked stately and aged, even though it was essentially brand new.  The front door of the Vanderbilt house was moved from Sutton Place to the side street 57th, where it remains today. 




The renovation of Vanderbilt’s 1 Sutton Place begins!   The new front door on the side street had been installed which you can see right behind the construction fence.




The finished Anne Vanderbilt house at 1 Sutton Place with its new side door and the line of trees planted on the sidewalk.  For visual interest, Mott specified the shutters be placed on every other floor.




  A 1936 photo with Vanderbilt’s #1 at the far right on 57th Street and Anne Morgan’s double house on its left at #3-5 Sutton Place. This corner with the two houses is often mistaken as one very large house.


Anne Morgan’s house at 3-5 with its front door and painted white surround.  To its right is the Vanderbilt house, its front door no longer visible on Sutton Place.  Notice the sign urging to keep the city clean and look after dogs.  Look how neat and tidy it all is with the pretty brick pavers.  Love the mail box next to the woman with her long fur coat. 



BEFORE:  The view towards the bridge on Sutton Place with the renovated row houses at the right.


AFTER:   The 2022 view towards the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge with the row of houses at the right.  Not much has changed here since 1926 except the pavers are long gone, as are the smokestacks.






AFTER:  2020  The L shaped row of houses with its view of the East River and the Queensboro Bridge beyond.   The gardens are behind the houses and are shared and open to the river.  The FDR Drive runs parallel to and underneath this back garden.  The house at the far right is the subject of this story - the Vanderbilt/Browne & Bolton house – photographed here while under renovation. 

Look at the diverse row of houses as they are today.  It’s hard to remember how this row of houses looked before 1920 – bland, stoop houses with identical facades. Today they are a such an interesting variety of different styles and facades.


Overhead view of Sutton Square, as the original row houses are known, with its L shaped row of houses and the shared back garden reaching down to the river.  Between the garden and the river is FDR Drive.

Circled in red is the Vanderbilt/Bolton & Browne house.





  FDR Drive is hidden from view in the shared garden.  It lies right behind and under this row of clipped bushes.   All the original houses have access to this private garden.  They own shares in the garden and this oasis in the city is a huge draw of Sutton Place.  The importance of the garden to the original houses can not be understated.  The 18 original row houses are referred to as Sutton Square on Sutton Place.



Long before the FDR Drive was built, the tenements and factories of Avenue A/Sutton Place reached down to the East River with a series of wooden staircases.


Circled in red is the Vanderbilt/Browne & Bolton house at 1 Sutton Place before the FDR Drive was even a dream. 

Another view of the East River before the FDR Drive was built.   Sutton Square is right between the white townhouses and the twin towers.  Here, you can really see how their garden terraced down to the river.

  How did the sprawling FDR Drive come to be built right under the garden at Sutton Square instead of alongside it?


Actress Miriam Hopkins, 13 Sutton Place

She lived at Sutton Place from 1934 to 1966.

A quick history of Sutton Place and the FDR Drive.  In 1934, after Elisabeth Marbury died, her house at 13 Sutton Place was sold to the then famous actress Miriam Hopkins.  Hopkins updated the house with air conditioning and a radio victrola that played music throughout the house.  Because she often filmed out of town, Miriam Hopkins rented out her house at 13 Sutton Place.  But, during the summer of 1939 she was back at home where all the talk was of the FDR highway being sandblasted out of the bedrock right next to their private backyard garden at Sutton Square.  The noise was deafening.   The plan was for the highway to run parallel to their shared lawn.  The Sutton Square residents came up with a plan to have the FDR Drive covered with grass so that their lawns would stretch right to the river over the FDR drive, with boat landings included.  Miriam Hopkins is credited with the plan that FDR Drive would run under the Sutton Square backyard garden instead of through it.  Or so she forever claimed.  Apparently a lot of money also exchanged hands.

Hopkins was quoted as saying:

“There was a nefarious plan afoot to have the highway run parallel to our lawns. But those of us who own houses in Sutton Place got together and paid to have the road covered over with grass. Our back yards will stretch right down to the river as they do now, and we’ll have boat landings, though goodness knows who’ll use them!”

And as far as is known, no one from Sutton Place has ever launched a boat there.


Here is the FDR Drive being built.  The red arrow shows where the Vanderbilt/Browne & Bolton house is located.



An aerial view of the finished FDR Drive, hidden from the Sutton Place residents.   Circled in red is 1 Sutton Place, built by Anne Vanderbilt, and now owned by Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton.





The covered FDR Drive as seen from the East River.   The red arrow is 1 Sutton Place.






In the movie Manhattan, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton sat in the Sutton Place garden and gazed at the Queensboro Bridge.  Woody had to bring this bench for at that time, there was none there.  Today---there are several benches at the park.



1926.   Mrs. Anne Vanderbilt’s  finished house at 1 Sutton Place.  On the top floor, at the very right, you can see a tree on the balcony.   Later, one time owner Mrs. Drue Heinz added an indoor terrace room which enclosed that balcony.


Another view of the house from the corner of Sutton Place at 57th Street.




1926.   Above is an early view of the top floor without the enclosed terrace room.  On the ground floor to the very right is the brick fence that leads to the backyard garden and down to the East River, below.  This row of trees remain today.





1926 Vanderbilt:   Back garden.   The brick wall with arched gate leads into the private garden.   Through the French door on the terrace is the dining room.  Above the dining room is the drawing room and the master bedroom is above that.

Again, notice on the very top floor, the fourth floor, there is an open terrace with two bushes in the corners.  Sometime around late 1970s, Mrs. Drue Heinz enclosed that terrace.



A close up of the back terrace off the dining room of 1 Sutton Place with its vines climbing up the brick walls.  Notice at the left in the middle of the brick wall is the arched door that opens up to the garden off the street.  Notice the large urn on the brick wall.  That remains today.  You can see it specified by Schmidt in his original drawings – the urn is sketched in, as is the arched garden door.  Up the steps to the raised terrace is the French door that leads into the dining room.  On the terrace is a scalloped umbrella.

Anne Vanderbilt 1926:   Off the dining room is the brick patterned terrace with the scalloped umbrella and wicker furniture!  Looks so on trend!!!  Further down at the left is Miss Morgan’s terrace, also with an umbrella.  Still further down is Elisabeth Marbury’s terrace with her umbrella.  I suppose the Elsie de Wolfe liked the scalloped umbrellas.

The original row houses were in an L shape and here you can see the how the houses on the left side of the garden act as a sort of fence to the garden.

Miss Morgan’s terrace, with the stone bench, is at ground level while Anne Vanderbilt’s, to the left is higher up.

Gustave Pierre Bader 1962:

The terrace was photographed when the Swiss antique dealer, Mr. Gustave Pierre Bader, lived here.  All these decades later, the same brick pavers remained on the terrace since Mrs. Anne Vanderbilt’s time.  And, the same gates that were put in place in 1922 still surround the dining room French doors and windows.







Richard Jenrette 1972:

1972:   Short time owner, Richard Jenrette’s façade, with the iconic blue door – as pictured in his book, “Adventures With Old Houses.”  He is responsible for painting the front door and garden gate, which both remained this color blue for decades until Browne and Bolton moved in.



Drue Heinz:  2018

2018:   The house as it looked under heiress Drue Heinz who lived here for quite a long time - from 1974 to 2018, when she died at 103.    For decades the façade was covered in ivy.



During the winter, the ivy turns reddish, blending into the red bricks.  The row of trees remain today, planted by Anne Vanderbilt in 1922.

Drue Heinz:  1977

From Mrs. Heinz’s years, the corner of 1 Sutton Place and 3-5 Sutton Place at its left.  I love the row of window air conditioners hanging out from the rarefied rooms of the future home of the United Nations Secretary General. 

Without constant maintenance, the stately Georgian façade could resemble a hobo with a unkempt beard that badly needed trimming.  Which is exactly what Brown & Bolton did.

Drue Heinz:  2018.

Drue Heinz’s real estate photos show Richard Jenrette’s arched painted blue door and the green urn, specified by Mott Schmidt in 1922.




Today:  The haircut given by Browne & Bolton revealed the beauty of the house and brick, windows and front door with its pediment above which you couldn’t see before.

And, today, the front door with owners Andrew Bolton and Thom Browne out front.  AND, the door is now black, for the first time since 1972.  Photos from Architectural Digest were taken by - William Abranowicz, which as always are so beautiful.

Architect Mott Schmidt’s front door was designed after a Christopher Wren “charming” doorway in London, he was quoted as saying.

Of the three original Mott Schmidt designed houses at Sutton Place, their fate was varied:



 1 Sutton Place, Anne Vanderbilt:



After all the work, all the gossip and judgements, Anne Vanderbilt ended up living at Sutton Place for only a few years – from 1921 to 1927.   She left there and moved to a triplex on Park Avenue and passed away in 1940.

Or so the story goes.

In almost every article written about Anne’s house, this is what is written:  Anne Vanderbilt moved out of Sutton Place in 1927.  If so, they why does the Census put her address at 1 Sutton Place in 1930????  Additionally, it cites 10 servants who lived with her at Sutton Place.  Her passport lists her address as 1 Sutton Place up until her death and the city directory had a phone number for Vanderbilt at both Park Avenue and Sutton Place.  Apparently, Vanderbilt never did sell Sutton Place, instead she just used it sparingly.

1 Sutton Place was only sold by her heirs after her death.


In 1943, three years after Vanderbilt’s death, Mrs. Charles Merrill bought the house for just $55,000. Kinka Merrill had married the financier in 1939 and divorced him in 1952.   After they parted, Kinka des Mare Merrill remained at 1 Sutton Place and remarried Mr. Stephen Whitney de Rham in 1956.  They quickly divorced and the former Kinka, Mrs. Stephen Whitney de Rham, sold the Sutton Place house in 1958 to…


the Swiss antique dealer Gustave Pierre Bader. 

Bader lived only a year in the house on Sutton Square and in 1962, it was auctioned off to a secret bidder.  Zsa Zsa Gabor placed a losing telephone bid at $300,000.   The winning bid of $436,000. was eventually revealed to be Mr. Arthur Houghton, who also owned 3-5 Sutton Place, which he later donated to the United Nations. Houghton, the Corning Glass heir, stated that he bought 1 Sutton Place “as an investment” and planned to rent it out.  Along with 1 Sutton Place, Houghton got 58 shares of Sutton Square Ltd. which gives the owner rights to the gardens.  One of Houghton’s renters was the Netherlands Ambassador Mr. JG de Beus and his Louisiana born wife Louise Broussard.

Later,  Houghton sold 1 Sutton to Richard Jenrette who in turn sold it two years later to Drue Heinz, an action Jenrette regretted terribly.  After Heinz’s death in 2018, Andrew Bolton & Thom Browne bought the house for somewhere in the $20 million range, and together, they currently live there.


13 Sutton Place, Elisabeth Marbury:

Elisabeth Marbury lived out her life at 13 Sutton Place.   She bequeathed the house to her former lover and friend Elsie de Wolfe who then held an estate sale and sold it.


3-5 Sutton Place, Anne Morgan:

Anne Morgan, JP Morgan’s daughter, lived at 3-5 Sutton Place until her death in 1952.  Her double house was sold to Arthur Amory Houghton, Jr., the great grandson of the founder of Corning Glass, In 1962 he also bought 1 Sutton Place, as stated before.  Later, Houghton donated 3-5 Sutton Place to the United Nations, which the Secretary General now calls it home.   He sold 1 Sutton Place to Richard Jenrette in 1970.


The story of Sutton Place will forever be tied to these three women, Anne Vanderbilt, Elisabeth Marbury and Anne Morgan and also to Mott Schmidt and Elsie de Wolfe.   1 Sutton Place may always be known as Anne Vanderbilt’s house.   But as the years go by, Drue Heinz and now Thom Browne & Andrew Bolton have become tied to 1 Sutton Place, it will be interesting to see how long Browne & Bolton remain at Sutton Place.



The corner of the Vanderbilt and Morgan houses.   Out front is a guard house since the Secretary General for the United Nations lives at 3-5 Sutton Place.


Through the years the layout of the Vanderbilt house has changed.  Below is the original Vanderbilt layout and following is the Drue Heinz layout when it was sold in 2018.  We don’t have the current layout of Brown & Bolton’s changes.  But, one major alteration is the interior terrace room that was added by Heinz on the top level and which was later removed by Brown & Bolton. One thing we do have is a LOT of photographs of the house as it changed through the decades. 


Vanderbilt Floorplan 1922:



The early floorplans do not show the fourth floor, but notice there is a small spiral staircase that led up to it from the stair hall.  Interesting.    You will see that this spiral staircase remained through at least Drue Heinz’s tenure and probably until today under Bolton & Browne.  There are no photos of the spiral staircase, although I wish there were!!



Drue Heinz Floor Plan 2018:

The widow of the heir to the Heinz fortune, Drue was an avid reader and art collector.  She was a great philanthropist and published a literary magazine The Paris Review.  She founded literary retreats and endowed the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.  Besides 1 Sutton Place, she had many homes including one on Lake Como and a castle in Scotland where she died at the age of 103.   Drue owned the Sutton Place house for over 40 years.    Here is the floorplan of the house when she lived there:




Unfortunately, there are not photos from EVERY owner of 1 Sutton Place, but there are many of some.  To keep the photos straight and easy to follow – I am posting them by the room, from earliest owner to last. 

Here is a quick recap of the list of owners to the best of my knowledge:

1) Anne Vanderbilt, 1922-1943

2) Charles Merrill, later Mrs. Kinta Des Mare Merrill, later became Mrs. Stephen Whitney de Rham in 1956.  Bought 1 Sutton Place in 1943 sold in 1959

3) Gustave Pierre Bader, 1959 – 1962 sold by executives

4) Arthur Houghton’s rental 1962 – 1972

(Houghton Tenants:  Ambassador Mr. JG de Beus and wife Louise Broussard  1965)

5) Richard Jenrette  1972-1974

6) Drue Heinz   1974 -1998

7)  Andrew Bolton & Thom Browne  2000 – Today

I welcome any corrections to this time line!!!



1926:   Anne Vanderbilt     


Anne Vanderbilt’s front hall was incredibly beautiful, so much so that her house was published in Architectural Forum.  Two 6 ft tall pagodas from Brighton Pavilion flanked the staircase.   The murals were painted by Allyn Cox.  Notice the lighting fixture.  That REALLY surprised me.  I didn’t realize this type of fixture was trendy over 100 years ago.

The iron banister is one decorative item that still remains in the house today.


A larger view of the mural with the geisha in a faux niche.

Notice that the stair does not appear to be floating, in later years the stair will be floating.

And look very closely, the floor appears to be dark hexagonal tiles.




A bit of a clearer photo.



Another view of the entry hall showing the two steps up to the painted door that leads to the dining room.

Notice the tiny hexagon tiled floor.  Later there was a black and white marble floor during the 1960’s Gustave Pierre Bader’s ownership.  Browne & Bolton stated that during their 2020 renovation they were hoping to find fragments of Allyn Cox’s murals and the original chimney mantels which had all been replaced, to no avail.   They also remarked that even Vanderbilt’s marble floor in the entry hall was missing.  BUT as we see here, there never was a Vanderbilt black and white marble floor in the entry. 


1962:   Gustave Pierre Bader

In 1962, a preview of an estate sale of fine, period French antiques was held at 1 Sutton Place which was then owned by the deceased Gustave Pierre Bader, a Swiss antique dealer.    The brochure of the estate sale included many photos of the house before the sale.

Here, you can see that the Allyn Cox murals remained all these years.  In fact the murals remained through the Arthur Houghton years when he rented out the house (1962-1972.)   The murals were last seen in the house before Richard Jenrette’s tenure in 1972.  Also, at some time, the hexagon tiles had been removed, and the infamous black and white marble floor was laid.  Did Mrs. Merrill remove the black tiles and lay this marble floor?  Probably.  Or maybe Mrs. Vanderbilt later did herself.

Instead of the long console that Vanderbilt used, Bader had a small round table placed in the curve of the stairwell.  Also note, the black carpet became white with a black border – perhaps it was a matting.  Regardless, it looked very dirty.



  1972:   Richard Jenrette



In 1972, then owner Arthur Houghton sold his rental property, 1 Sutton Place, to Richard Jenrette, famous for owning historic houses.   Jenrette forever described this Sutton Place house as the one that got away, even though he did buy it and lived there – but only for a few years.   He forever lamented selling it to Drue Heinz so soon, but she made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Drue had wanted to buy the house for years and had lost a bid for it to Arthur Houghton.     Richard Jenrette called it “a jewel of a house.”   


The question is:   had Arthur Houghton removed the murals or had Jenrette?   The murals were still on the walls when one of his renters lived there in 1965.    Since it is not mentioned in his book, I suppose Jenrette found the walls plain.  All the trim work remained but wainscotting was added.  Here you can clearly see the beautiful Vanderbilt balusters that remain to this day.

In this photo is appears that the staircase has remained as it was designed, but in the photo below, it seems Drue Heinz made it a floating staircase.



2018:  Drue Heinz


Mrs. Heinz approached Richard Jenrette about buying the house – she had been trying to purchase it for a few years.  He agreed to sell it to her, without any thought.  Mr. Jenrette was experiencing a terrible economic downtown and was desperate to make the profit, which was actually small.  Had he held onto the house for a few more years, he would have made a much better business deal.  

When Mrs. Drue Heinz moved into the house she hired the incomparable Renzo Mongiardino to design it.  His influence is felt greatly in each room.  There is no doubt that Renzo decorated the house -  the fabric walls, the mix of patterns, the excess.  And when you compare Renzo to Brown & Bolton’s interiors by David Kleinberg – it’s as if you are watching two masters who approach the same exact spaces so completely different, it is like taking a master class.  It will be interesting to hear which décor you prefer.

Note, here the staircase is now floating.  There is a birdcage in the center along with seagrass carpet that has seen better days.   The birdcage was later auctioned off.  The stairs look gorgeous like this but the wall treatment is not my favorite.  Notice how Heinz placed English carpet balls on each step -  I looked at this photo many times before I even noticed those!!  The carpet balls were later auctioned off by Christie’s.

I  suppose that when the staircase was reworked to float, the marble floor once there was now missing in places.  Instead of replacing the marble, apparently the seagrass was laid, leaving the next owners, Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton, to replace it with the marble, yet again.  And not original!  Anne Vanderbilt’s foyer was the dark hexagonal tile, not marble.

Most of the Drue Heinz photos are from the 2018 real estate sale.  Others are from an earlier 1977 Architectural Digest photoshoot.

Also after her death,  a large Christies auction was held to sell these effects and those of her London mews house.  In these real estate photos, some of the more prized paintings and probably furnishings were already taken from the house.

Also, the 1977 photos show the Renzo interiors as he had recently finished them.   The real estate photos from 2018 show some changes Mrs. Heinz had made through the years to Renzo’s design.




Heinz:   The entry with the front door at the left.  Two steps up was the small library.  More orbs atop the chinoiserie cabinet.  Her possessions are incredible, especially when you see her Renzo and John Fowler decorated London mews house, along with the Scottish castle.  It’s overwhelming.

A younger fiery red headed Drue Heinz.  An avid reader, her houses were laden with books.

  Here, in the latter years of her very long life, she is seen with the Prince of Wales who is now the King of England.


And finally, we come to today – Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton.  The staircase remains floating as Drue Heinz left it, but the walls are white, the floor is the new black and white marble and the jib doors are more easily seen here under the floating staircase.  Notice the alabaster light fixture. 





The First Floor Library:



Vanderbilt:   The library with paneling that stayed in the house through most of the owners – until Browne & Bolton removed it.

View of the opposite side of the library with bookcases and a chintz covered chair

with fabric screen and strange chickens???


Gustave Pierre Bader:  Decades later the library looks much the same as Anne Vanderbilt’s with the same paneling and mantel.   Both these decorative elements remained in the house until Browne & Bolton completely changed this room.

All period and/or antique French furniture.   I have to say, I don’t think Bader’s dressy French furniture looks especially good in this house.  It needs more English décor, or more of a mix of styles.



Drue Heinz:  By Renzo Mongiardino   The paneling remains as does the same mantel.   Here her desk is in the corner next to the fireplace.  Before it was between the windows.  Notice all the books piled everywhere.


1977:  Soon after Mrs. Heinz moved in, photos of Renzo’s work were taken by Horst for Architectural Digest. 

These Architectural Digest photos show the house as it first was after Renzo decorated it.  Here you can see all her the paintings are on the walls.   You will notice that throughout the 2018 real estate photos, much of the more valuable art work was removed for safe storage. 


Another photo from 1977 where the colors seem so different from reality.   The desk is between the windows here.   But, hanging is one of Heinz’s more beautiful paintings – Modigliani’s Lunia Czechowska, painted in 1919.  The artist was infatuated with the sitter, a Polish immigrant, who was married to a friend of his agent.  She sat for at least 10 of Modigliani’s paintings.  Its final gavel price was $25,245,000.  Whoa.   No wonder it was removed from the house!

From yet another book, this shows a view of the library not seen before – with the door that opens to the foyer.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Browne & Bolton moved the library to the second floor and instead turned the first floor into a small reception room.  That painting is stunning there.



Another view of the newly renovated small reception room.   All rooms throughout the house have these old fashioned, classic Venetian blinds with tape.  Notice the book case. 




Anne Vanderbilt’s dining room.   Elsie de Wolfe used Queen Anne antique chairs with an Oriental styled table.   The door leads out to the terrace.



The windows and doors of the dining room with the iron gates.


The infamous black and white marble floor was brought into the dining room.  Also, it’s hard to see, but on the paneling it looks like there was a mural, probably also painted by Cox.   Through the door is the entry stair hall with the Oriental painted murals.

Another view of the fireplace with its Oriental screen in the corner.




Gustave Pierre Bader – the Swiss antique dealer

It looks like the dining room remained mostly untouched except for a new marble mantel.  Anne Vanderbilt had the gates placed against the windows.  The scalloped pelmet hides the arch above the garden door.

But most beautiful is the mural against the one wall, reminiscent of Allyn Cox’s original work.  OR, could it be the original mural????  Or did Mrs. Merrill commission it? 




The view of the opposite side showing the marble fireplace.  Was it placed by Bader or by Mrs. Charles Merrill?   After Bader died, an estate sale was held with a showing of the items at the house.

And in 1962, the terrace off the dining room during Gustave Pierre Bader’s tenure, showing his fancy outside furniture.



Sorry.  Terrible photo of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the U.S., Mr. JG de Beus and his Louisiana born wife Louise Broussard,  who rented 1 Sutton Place from Arthur Houghton.

  They opened their doors for a tour benefiting the New York Arthritis Foundation.  The newspaper reported that at that time, the entry hall STILL retained Allyn Cox’s Oriental murals.  Amazing!  Reports of the tour described their library as resembling a Vermeer painting,  it was filled with 17th century Dutch antiques.  Above the mantel was de Beus coat of arms along with antique maps.  There were Dutch pleated lampshades described as flamboyant.   And there were spears and carvings from New Guinea. I would love to see the library described like that.   I scoured the internet for photos, to no avail! 


Here is the one photo from the Ambassador de Beus residence.   Their dining room has Spanish style chairs, not sure about the table.  Same mantel as Bader and probably Merrill had.  The black and white marble floor remains, under the area rug. 



Richard Jenrette’s dining room as decorated by the short lived partnership of Georgina Fairholme and Harrison Cultra.  The bright yellow walls look perfect with the marble floors.  Stripped of the scalloped pelmet, the arch is seen again above the garden door.  The original dentil molding remains. Love the painting over the mantel.  Just perfection.




Drue Heinz’s dining room was quite romantic with its two tables and chintz sofa and chairs.

Most incredible is how completely differently this dining room looks compared to any of the dining rooms shown before.  This looks more like another library, not a proper dining room.  I think when Renzo completed this room, it was beautiful!!  Now, it’s a little faded from age.

Renzo added dark wood paneling and built in bookcases.  There is a new mantel.  The paneling is 18th century pine.    The rug is an Aubusson.    Notice the book rack in the back right corner!   Also, notice the corner arches are removed.  The original beautiful molding is now gone, especially noticeable at the windows and doors. 

The table by the terrace door.   Was this wall to wall carpet with a rug over it?  Hard to imagine.

Closer view of book rack.  Beautiful!   And notice that tureen.  Her possessions are just so beautiful. 



In this photo, taken in 1977 – You can see the light fixture as it was designed before the side metal trim was removed. 

  Mark Sikes just used a very similar style of shade at his Grey Gardens project in the January Veranda. 

Dining Room.   That trim on the chairs!!!!   LOL.  Renzo. 

OK – the mirror is simply gorgeous.  Wow.  I wonder who won the bid on that mirror in the Christie’s auction?  And that mantel.   Wonder what Bolton & Browne did with it.  I don’t think it was auctioned off.  This room is incredible.

2018:  Drue Heinz’s back yard with the arched blue garden door and the terrace that leads to the dining room.  Where the ground was once covered in grass and stepstones, here there is a patio of slate.  Notice the architrave over the door is now painted white.



Brown & Bolton:   What a difference, again!  This is a completely different dining room than Drue’s yet, there are two tables like hers.  It’s just so serene, so peaceful, so interesting, so chic. So calm compared to Renzo’s design.

Stark white walls and beautiful wood floors – classic.  Brown & Bolton removed all Drue’s wood paneling and bookshelves.  And notice – they brought back the faux arch molding.    They added the ceiling molding that was never there, but Mott had included very similar ceiling molding in Elisabeth Marbury’s townhouse.

The arch over the terrace door also returns.   There is so much to admire here – the mantel, the mirror, and the chandeliers.  The restraint.  

   The 19th century sofa is such a surprise but it seems so natural here with the 1800s table.   The wood floor flows into the entry hall where it meets up with the black and white marble floor.

The crucifix is from the 16th century, the workshop of Jan van Scorel.


 Throughout the house, there are beautiful crystal chandeliers.  Here, in the dining room – there are two, one over each table.





No, your eyes don’t need an examination.    This is a Miaz Brothers painting hanging over the George III mahogany sideboard in the dining room.   Again, quiet restraint – especially when compared to Renzo’s décor.

Which do you prefer? 





And, this photo was not identified as to where it is located, I believe it is between the dining room and entry hall. 





Heinz:   This might be my favorite space in the Heinz house.  I love the way Renzo decorated this with the tete tete and the added bookcases.  Drue Heinz lived in the house for over forty years, the longest of anyone, and you can see how the décor was done when she moved in from the 1977 Architectural Digest photographs and mostly the interiors were not updated at all except for a few spaces.  Upholstery needed recovering and/or cleaning, fabrics were faded and rugs were starting to wear.   Since Mrs. Heinz lived to be 103, I assume redecorating wasn’t a priority, of course.   Totally understandable.

Mrs. Heinz passed away at her famous Scottish castle where she invited writers to a month long sabbatical where they could write in peace and quiet.  I read that she might not have visited her Sutton Place townhouse for many, many years, but I’m not sure this is true or not.  Apparently she stayed in Scotland and at her Lake Como house.





Browne & Bolton’s second story landing has been stripped back to its origins.  Renzo’s added built ins were removed and the space is so beautiful in its simplicity.  Is that the original floor, just stained darker?   It looks like it.  The octagon shaped table is so pretty, as are the matching mirrors.  I also love the Venetian blinds – they seem like something that would have been used originally in the house and they add a sense of mystery to the house – is it old?  Where is it? 



Heinz:  This small reception room on the second floor looks very different from how it was originally designed by Renzo.  Of course the major art work was removed in anticipation of the sale, but the floor is completely changed, for the better.  It looks like the original hardwoods were painted, by whom it doesn’t state.  That piano!   The walls are lined in silk, those were done by Renzo.  That chair originally was in Heinz’s master bedroom.  The mantel is incredible wood with embedded metal? 

1977:   And as the Renzo décor originally looked.  Hanging over the mantel is her Matisse.  It sold at the Christie’s auction for $6,517,500.  There’s matting on the floor and a dark rug, no center table, but the chairs are there, and no chinoiserie chests flanking the fireplace.  The sconces are Famille Rose 1736-1795.  Gaveled at 43,750 pounds.  Not a favorite room.  I prefer the newer version with the painted floor.






Browne & Bolton moved the library up from the 1st to the second floor, putting mahogany paneling in this room along with bookcases.  There’s a new mantel and a notable Diego Giacometti coffee table.  I especially like the way the rococo mirror was placed near the painting of the deer – with its horns resembling the mirror’s decorative trim.

Another view from the second floor landing.



Elsie de Wolfe’s décor for Mrs. Anne Vanderbilt.  Very romantic English drawing room.  At the corner are two built in bookcases filled with antique books.  Chintz fabric.  Notice the sconces – pagodas!  Oh, those are fabulous.  The whole room is fabulous.  I would move in today, just like this.    And the mirror is pretty, but it’s hard to make out the Oriental painting above it.    Area rugs over the wood floors.  The mantel is plain, almost contemporary looking, as are all the ones in the house.  Very pretty with the seating arrangement gathered around the warm fire which was needed during the fall and winter months.   Is the paneling stained brown?  Its hard to tell in the black and white photo, but I’m sure it was.  Bell pull.   Finally, notice the lamps with the fabric pleated shades – so trendy today.

Love, love, love.


Across from the fireplace is this ornate piano and what really surprised me is the drum!  Shades of Nancy Meyer’s own drum.  Notice the collection of Oriental prints and the curtains with the scalloped pelmets. 

And last, the drawing room door (off its hinges!!!!!) showing its painted molding along with the view into the second floor landing and further through the arched vestibule that lead to a guest bedroom.


A photo from the estate sale of Gustave Pierre Bader.  The room had remained very much like Elsie de Wolfe’s interiors, except with the new mantel and the paint.  The windows are covered with scalloped pelmets and draperies.  The furniture is mostly French, including the bureau plat and chairs.  But, the fifties style sofas are a real eyesore to me.

Notice how the pilaster molding flanking the fireplace is now stained dark.  Also, the corner bookcases remain.


Richard Jenrette’s drawing room that lasted for just a few years.    Silk curtains in cream.  French mirror.  Notice Jenrette kept the mantel.   Today, Browne & Bolton have a similar mantel like this in their master bedroom.

He layered several rugs over the wood floors.  I really like this décor except perhaps for the choice of the mirror and rugs.  The styling is typical 1970s with the over abundance of flowers.  AH-choo!  


Real Estate Photos – Mrs. Heinz’s Drawing Room on the second floor.  The walls are a pattern on pattern, a technique popular during Napoleon III’s time, which Renzo said inspired him.   A large rug covers the matting that completely hides the wood floors.  Wonder why Renzo hated her wood floors??  He covered them all.  The corner book shelves were removed and replaced with mirrors.    Jenrette’s mantel was replaced with this very beautiful marble one. 

Hmmm.  I’m sure this room was beautiful when first completed, but now, it just look tired and in need of refreshing.


Here, a close up of the bay window overlooking the East River garden.  Books, as always, are piled everywhere.  Notice the round table – an Italian round specimen marble top, early 19th century, with 20th century base.  At the Christie’s Heinz estate sale, the gavel price was 20,000 pounds for the table.


To see the entire contents of the Heinz Estate Christie sale minus the most pricey art, go here.



From The 1977 Architectural Digest photoshoot.   The colors are so much more vibrant here than in the new real estate photos.  Not sure which is more accurate?  This sofa against the wall looks nothing like the first photo of it above.  The double sofa helps divide the very large room.  The Bonnard above the sofa gaveled at $19,570,000.  On the left is a Monet and a Picasso hangs to the right.  Notice the coffee table is different here, as is the arrangement of the sofas.  There are no French settees in this earlier version of the room as there are in 2018. 





  Above the mantel is a Renoir “Mother and Child.”  As you can see this double sofa was later replaced by the French settee and chair set.    That French set can barely be seen here in 1977 against the back wall.    This change of color in these photos is either due to age or fading.  

This room is the one that most resembles the drawing room that Renzo did for Lee Radziwill in London.




From yet another book, this photo shows the drawing room with the double doors to the stair hall, opened.  Originally during Vanderbilt’s time, the door was just a single one.   Not sure what is going on here – was this table moved forward to replace the missing large coffee table????





Browne & Bolton totally renovated the drawing room.   The room is so chic, so spare, so sophisticated – just so!  It’s as if the room is not decorated, but instead it is curated.


First, notice the double doors in the same place as the Heinz photo above.  Before in Anne Vanderbilt’s day there was only one door hanging off its hinge.

What a difference between this décor and Heinz’s décor.   It’s hard to believe these are the same room.


I love the 18th century settees with their gilt wood.  The mantel looks amazingly like the one from the Gustave Pierre Bader décor.  The molding was changed, added to, and the ceiling was embellished just as the dining room ceiling was.  Against the wall is a Rose Uniacke sofa.  Of course.


  You see the landing with the octagonal table through to the newly paneled library.  Hanging in the landing – what you couldn’t see before – is an antique styled alabaster light fixture. 


Finally, the crystal chandelier is the same as Heinz’s.   I don’t know what chandelier this is but I’m sure I should know.  Very similar ones, if not the same, as seen in both apartments – in different rooms.  Did Heinz leave one or two?


Remember when I originally was talking about Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton’s clothing and said it was interesting to imagine how the couple lived?   Is this how you would imagine it?   I don’t imagine they ever watch TV or binge.  Nah.  They read.  Books.  Not kindles.   They go out to dinner every night and eat late, have a martini and go right to sleep.  It’s all so New York, especially how New York used to be.  Rarefied.  Artistic.  Cerebral. 











     Against one wall is a stunning 18th century Chinoiserie desk and beautiful sconces that flank the series windows that overlook the river.  Where there were once bookcases at the corners, these were removed by Drue Heinz.    The brass chair is by Claude Lalanne of sheep fame.  The utilitarian seagrass runs up to the edge of the dark wood floors.   I love the seagrass – duh, one tiny thing we have in common - it blends with the Venetian blinds and acts like a foil against the dressy architectural style of the house.    



Another view of the drawing room. 


That chandelier!  Gorgeous!!!  Those settees!  Fabulous!!

Those legs!!!!    LOL








     Vanderbilt:   One of two bedrooms with mantel.  Above is a trumeau mirror with sconces and throw rugs.


This bedroom is fancier with a marble mantel, trumeau, and the same pagoda sconces as seen in the drawing room.  This was probably the master bedroom as it was dressier and more feminine than the previous one.





Gustave Pierre Bader’s master bedroom with a newly placed antique mantel or placed by Mrs. Merrill.  Filled with French furniture, the wall to wall carpet is very 1950s as is the bed.   Notice the Venetian Blinds – these are later used to great effect by Browne & Bolton.


While the chairs are fine French antiques, the room seems a little I Love Lucy.   Ricky!!!!!






Richard Jenrette’s master bedroom, bamboo styled canopy and views out to the river.  The same mantel survives from Gustave Pierre Bader.   I like this décor and thinks it looks good, to this day.







Drue Heinz:   The third floor master bedroom by Renzo in Drue Heinz’s house as photographed for Architectural Digest.     


The quilt is antique, the bed is a four poster Hepplewhite.  One of the prettiest rugs that Renzo used. IMO 





The same room, as it was later updated by Keith Irvine.  Did he do all the updates?   The wallcovering remained, as did the chairs, but the curtains and bed was changed out.  It looks like the molding was fauxed.  The rug was changed – and it just looks so much less wonderful than Renzo’s rug choice.  Certainly not Irvine’s typical wonderful work – most likely just a quick way to update the bed.  Apparently, the bed was changed in the 1980s because Mrs. Heinz had ordered a mechanical mattress from an ad.  See the Instagram of @johnyunis in the comment section of this photo for more information on the Irvine update.  
        The 18th century Italian bookcase between the windows, was auctioned for 22,500 pounds.



        Browne & Bolton:  The only photo of the third floor landing, with the arch doorway leading to the guest room and the elevator.  The master bedroom and bathroom were removed by Browne & Bolton and moved up to the fourth floor, via that spiral staircase off to the left of the landing (not seen.)    Before they bought the house, there was a bathroom, where this landing is, that led to the once master bedroom.  When they removed the master bathroom, its window was opened up to the landing.  See floorplans from Heinz to fully understand this change in the landing and the sudden appearance of this window. 

As for what happened to the space where the previous master bedroom that overlooked the river once was?  It isn’t addressed in the Architectural Digest article.  Maybe that space became an office or workout room?         
I love that cabinet to the right of the window.  Is there a mate?  Much of their furniture is so unique, which is large part of the appeal of this project.  Again, curated.



       The guest room that looks over the main street, Sutton Place.

    David Kleinberg said that no art was bought for the house.  He had no idea what the couple owned.  Once they were through installing all the furniture,  their crated up art work was brought to the house and placed where it looked best.  It’s amazing how wonderful that concept worked.  For instance, this painting – it looks as if the room was designed around it!   It’s hard to believe it wasn’t.    





     The fourth floor terrace.  With its paver floor, and the brick wall from the neighboring house, this is the ONLY photo of the terrace before it was enclosed by Drue Heinz.  This photo was taken when Gustave Pierre Bader lived in house.  It was decorated with flower filled bins and chairs and table with a game board on it.





TERRACE FLOOR:   The top floor was enlarged when Drue Heinz bought the house.  There was a small family room with windows that led to the river view.  But, these windows were removed and a large garden room was installed over the roof of the third floor.

Here, the Renzo designed room again shows a need for a refresh.  In the corner is a tv with a vcr on top.   At some point, a plain cream rug was laid.

           Another view of the room taken for Architectural Digest in 1976 which shows the beauty of the Renzo wall treatment, which is lost in the newer real estate photos.
Here, the floor is a coir matting which is so much more interesting than the bland rug of later.  The walls are a beautiful application by Renzo.



        And yet another view from 1976.


The terrace room that was built over the fourth floor by Drue Heinz.  Bolton & Browne removed this room and opened

the terrace back to the elements.   


See the google images of this room before and after it was removed, shown below.



1977: An aerial view of the then newly installed terrace room, with its closed in room added by Drue Heinz.





And in 2018, Browne & Bolton removed the terrace room and opened it up to the elements.  You can see the black and white tiled floor that was newly laid on the terrace by Browne & Bolton.   This is now where the master bedroom is located.


The other rooms on fourth floor were a warren of offices which were also removed by Browne & Bolton.  Today, the top floor is the main bedroom, with a bathroom, dressing room and kitchenette.






     The top floor with the master bedroom and BEYOND gorgeous mantel.  I love the black accents here with the green.  Notice the Crucifix above the bed.  Love the figurines on the mantel.   And I haven’t mentioned it before – but have you noticed the gold plugs and light switches?   Details.


The dressing room looks like something from a 1930s penthouse or a 40s movie starring Cary Grant.  It is so glamorous, yet masculine.  That sofa.  The banquettes.  The Venetian blinds.  The wood.  The light fixtures.  Is that coffee table rimmed in green too?



While Architectural Digest doesn’t say so, I think this might be near the newly installed kitchenette on the fourth floor. 



        The marbled bathroom with the view toward the bedroom and the area where the spiral staircase is on the left.


Anh Duong painting hanging in a mirrored vestibule in the dressing room.  I kept thinking this must be the elevator, but it says – vestibule in A.D.  Which is it!??


      The basement level main kitchen.  There was once a kitchenette next to the dining room and today, there is one next to the master bedroom.   This is such a nice kitchen with the wall of glass that lets in light, yet allows the room to keep warm from the draft.  Classic = white marble with white subway tile.  There is nothing better in a kitchen or bathroom – this kitchen will look wonderful for the next 100 years. 




So, whose décor is your favorite???




Elsie de Wolfe for Anne Vanderbilt   
Gustave Pierre Bader in 1962





Georgina Fairholme and Harrison Cultra for Richard Jenrette in 1972.




    Renzo Mongiardino for Drue Heinz 1974-2018 



David Kleinberg for Thom Browne and Andrew Bolton in 2020.

Thanks for reading to the end.  I know it was a lot, but I wanted to put it all there in one place so the next person who wants to read about the Vanderbilt/Heinz/Brown & Bolton house doesn’t have to spend a month trying to find all the info online and in books.


  1. Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear what you think about the Sutton Place house!

    1. Elsie de Wolfe for Anne Vanderbilt Is my favorite…

  2. Absolutely love it when you do pieces like this! Perhaps the men will invite you to visit the house one day. I would love that for you!

  3. We lived on 57th St. in the 90's and early 2000's. We bought there not only because of the wonderful apartment but for the safety of the area...due to the UN protection!
    I walked my dog there day and night (sometimes very late at night) and always felt safe.
    I have always been curious about these houses...I read about Robert Moses and the FDR drive but never saw anything about the "row" houses.
    Many thanks...a wonderful read and so meaningful to me.

    1. My cousin lives right around there too. I should tell her to read this! Thanks!!!

  4. wow,as usual, very comprehensive. I think I prefer the original because it was specified with the architectural plan

  5. well for sure it was not the men....too bland for me......and warmth ...they erased the charm

    1. Completely agree. No warmth, no history, no charm

    2. Zero personality, very cold and sterile looking.

    3. Well, but you can truly enjoy the architecture and the architectural elements of each room and not be so overwhelmed by what is in it. However, Heinz' terrace room 4th floor room was gorgeous for reading all those books, staying warm and out of the elements and then, with a pause, looking out over the East River. Just saying.

    4. Agree as well. Bland and anonymous.

    5. Agreed, sterile, as if a museum installation. The earlier incarnations had charm and warmth. I must say though, the Drue Hienz era was a bit overwrought; that overlay of patterns and colors. Whoever removed the stairhall murals should be shot.

    6. Agree it just seems bland. Would love to see those murals today.

  6. But I appreciate the detail that went into this it very interesting

    1. Joni is amazing, right? The research!

  7. Wow! Fun to see the differences in owners! The house is beautiful in many eras! Thank you!

  8. Fantastic post! Loved reading about the history of the house and its owners and seeing it all in pictures. I will need to read it again before I can tell you who my favorite was! So much to take in and enjoy. Thank you!!!

  9. So appreciate the detective work this post required - just fascinating to see how differently it felt under varied ownership - the current collection of Jacques Adnet leather-wrapped chic furniture paired with Giacometti artistry is just so chic + dreamy. Adore the downstairs pops of Green. To me these feel like very intellectual interiors - rarefied pieces likely slowly acquired at auction + so engagingly positioned - amazing! Thank you for this history lesson.

    1. I actually hate those chairs! They remind me of cafeteria chairs. My least favorite things in the house I'm afraid. but - I love their furniture, and the pops of green too.

  10. Great post. Did you know the famous architect IM Pei lived at 11 Sutton Place? When you mentioned the garden that stretched to the river, it jogged my memory. Anyway, the house sold in 2021. Google it. There are many pictures out there. Enjoyed your post very much!

    1. Yes! I wanted to go on and on - show Marbury's house then and now and Morgans, but it was just too much. Maybe later?

  11. So enjoyed this post!! Your commentary is so much fun - we can really hear your "voice." Thank you!

  12. It was better when Dick had it, although the ivy would have been improved had it been espaliered. The blue doors were much prettier and were iconic. I knew Dick, and yes, he always wished he hadn't sold this house. I don't care much for the way it looks now. Too antiseptic. My old boss used to live in Sutton Place, next door to Bill Blass. I always enjoyed going to his house. Later, I actually worked in Sutton Place and it was always a pleasure to be there. Nice enclave.

  13. I prefer Renzo. In my opinion, the present decor has the feel of a museum, not a home. I stiffen just looking at where I'd sit, feel like I'd get my hand slapped if I touched anything, and be admonished harshly if I spoke anything above a whisper . All acquisitions, no personal meaning, is the feel I get. I would guess that they don't entertain, and are married to their careers, so the house reflects this. It's an acquisition to be published, not truly lived in. Once again, I need a warm hug when I walk into a home, not a blank stare. I loved reading this post with my morning coffee in hand. Thank you for your in-depth research on the history of this property.

    1. I agree. It doesn't look like a home, more like a museum.

    2. I think Andrew feels very much at home in a museum!

  14. Love this post and any post through the ages. You do such a fantastic job of researching and culling through history and putting it all into an easy to read and follow post! Love the simple curated design of today, though I personally would find it difficult to live like this !

  15. You amaze me! Always, always giving us posts that are truly mind-boggling! Loved this it several times. Browne and Bolton transport me to the heavens with their talents. Thank you again.

    1. Several times? I had trouble reading through the final edit. LOL I forced m yself to stand up and read it through one last time for mistakes. and then I still added new things. ugh!

  16. Brilliant post, as usual, Joni, and wishing you and Ben a Happy and Healthy New Year!! I thoroughly enjoyed this post and read every word and stared at every photo. I see something to admire in each of the iterations of this house. I love the Browne and Bolton curated look. I always think of a Darryl Carter design as looking very curated. But, personally, I would feel most comfortable in the De Wolfe version as I love the objects and the coziness. I have a son and DIL living on the Upper East side. We are there all of the time to visit them and our grandchildren and I definitely plan to go to this neighborhood and see these houses in person. The architecture and setting are beautiful.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Thank you everyone!!!

  17. As always, I loved your deep dive into the history of these homes.What a treat it was to read about the evolution of this incredible home. Bolton and Browne have exquisite taste and their designer, David Kleinburg, knocked this one out of the park in my opinion. So incredibly chic and elegant.

  18. Renzo Mongiardino for Drue Heinz 1974-2018

    is by far my favourite look. The current design is cold and far too what word did you use, " restricted"? "Controlled"? To me it is just plain boring. Sorry guys.. And the high water pants are funny looking. Again, sorry guys. Home has a lovely location however. And I love the blue garden door!

    1. "Restraint".. yes, that was the word you used for the current redo. And it has far too much of it!

    2. The pants are NOT for everyonle but dang! Andrew looks so good in those clothes.

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  19. Another wonderful post Joni. While I love what the new owners have done, I don't think I could live there. It doesn't feel right for a full time home and have for a family. In my very humble opinion, perhaps a blend of Elsie and David would be best. Many thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon read. Have you considered teaching a class? Or publishing a book of your posts? Just sayin'.......

  20. Wonderful article, spent much time with this one! The amount of research it must have taken! I really do not like the men’s decor….as I kept reading I disliked it more. They took out all of the history, and beauty in my opinion. Now it is just boring , very sad in my opinion. Thank you for the time you spent on this, I enjoyed it

    1. It's not for everyone, even me, but I just love it and find it amazing.

  21. Enjoyed your research on this very much! Thank you for sharing with us all! Another great post.

  22. You never cease to amaze me in your deep dives in research. Thank you once again. I prefer the most recent decor.

  23. Another wonderful blog post Joni! Thank you for all the research that you do!

  24. Amazing. I enjoyed this so much. My favorite interior, overall, was the Heinz. I would LOVE to see more of her other homes, particularly her castle! Thank you for the fantastic research!

  25. Usually I prefer simple and restrained but in this case the only room I like in the Bolton and Browne version is the kitchen, and still it needs some flowers, food preparation and people in it to give it some warmth. To me the Bolton and Browne furniture is as ill-suited to the house as you mentioned you thought the French furniture was. I am not normally drawn to a look like Renzo's but in this case it doesn't completely repel me for some reason. So it's interesting, I feel like you can never generalize about style it's always about how it all gels together in a particular instance. Overall I think I most like the choices in the original Vanderbilt version, thanks mostly to the vision of the architect, such a beautiful renovation. And the Elsie de Wolfe furnishings suit the architecture. Love the warm vibe of the Vanderbilt hex tile in the entry so much more than the heavy black and white marble tile. Such an interesting post, thank you!

  26. The Vanderbilt version was wonderful. I just wish there were color photos.

  27. What an honor to inspire a full C de T treatment! And what an admirable production; I loved it.
    __ John J. Tackett @thedevotedclassicist

    1. Just saw this! You can inspire me any time at all. My pleasure!!!

  28. Thanks for the history of these Homes. All new to me. Will definitely walk this area if in N Y again. My favorite two rooms in the Brown-Bolton were the dressing room and kitchen. The history of Sutton place is so interesting. Remarkable research and a book is a great idea. You certainly have plenty of material with all your prior posts. I lived in NY in my twenties such an exciting city. Gracias Joni.

  29. Loved the original furnishings and was intrigued to find that “oriental” motif carried through or echoed again and again over the years by different owners. I don't know how functional the 4 story townhouse can be, all that stair-climbing!, but what a glorious staircase to climb. Thank you for such an interesting and well researched photo essay! Absolutely fascinating to see the evolution of an historic property.

  30. WOW...seems too simple...however, I DID notice immediately the mirror vs antlers...WOW!!! franki

  31. My least favorite is the current look, too bland for my taste and sterile. I really appreciate the research that went into this piece though.

  32. Very beautiful, but very polished, new, spare and it does not look like someone lives in that house. Besides seeking beauty, it looks like a space decorated to impress, I hope for the right reasons.

  33. I loved all the comparisons and the details. I always learn so much from your posts. I totally skimmed over the AD article on Bolton & Browne, but loved knowing the history on the building after reading your post. Fascinating! Thank you

  34. Once again, you've outdone yourself! I lived on E 57th, one block from the house, on the block that was once home to Marilyn Monroe, Tina Brown, Bobby Short, etc. I followed the Heinz House renovations with great interest, though I could see nothing, of course, but the place swarmed with workmen, and one day the most gorgeous man, all in white with white hair and a fabulous profile, was seen sitting on the garden steps (perhaps a painter?) taking a break to admire the river and 59th Street Bridge. That little block (where Christina Onassis once owned a beautiful townhouse) is one of my favorites in all Manhattan. I think Bolton and Browne have brought their own elegant aesthetic to Sutton Place. Change is the name of the game in the Big Apple ... and I'd sell my sister to see the likes of Amy Fine Collins and Jordan Roth decorate those rooms simply by swanning within. Thank you so much for your exhaustive post!

  35. Thank you for the outstanding post. Love it and will definitely walk by that house soon.

  36. Joni loved this post. What an interesting story about the women and Sutton Place! I by far prefer the first version and some of the Renzo rooms, and the landing. I usually love clean and white rooms, but something about the new look is cold and uninviting..Love the kitchen, but it needs to look like it's used! I am sad they removed the ivy too.
    By the way Joni have you read the book based on Alva Vanderbilt- A Well Behaved Woman? I found it fascinating as was her obsession with homes.
    Another super post. xo Kim

  37. Loved reading all the history of this building and the many differing styles of decor. MY favourite would be David Kleinberg for Bolton and Browne, perfection!!

  38. Tom Brown And Andrew Bolton may be the cutting edge in New York decor but to put it bluntly their rooms seem emasculated, Ann

  39. Outstanding post; thank you! Every decorator/owner did a fabulous job, and even though the look wouldn't work for my lifestyle, I think the decor for David Kleinberg/Bolton and Browne is absolutely stunning and incredible for 2023.

  40. Impressive article. Have you heard about Adelle Le Barbier. He is very professional barber and I would recommend him to you and you should visit him for hair cut.

  41. I guess I am swimming upstream here, but I like the current version the most. After that, Elsie de Wolfe's. the work in the 70's looks claustrophobic to me.
    Joni, you are the best story teller for grownups I know. These well researched and interesting posts are a joy. Thank you.

  42. Tom Brown and Andrew Bolton may be at the forefront of New York design, however, to be candid, Ann, their spaces appear lacking in masculinity. BestPakistanis

  43. Joni, you are AMAZING! I should be making dinner for my family right now, but I was so enthralled with your writing and photos that I had to finish reading! Ha! Thank you for all of the research work you do to educate your readers. You are a gem!

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