We’ve previously taken you through 5 of Manhattan narrowest houses, including the narrowest of them all at 75 ½ Bedford Street. In a lot of places, the 9½ foot-width of the former home of Edna St. Vincent Millay would be considered far from luxurious. But in New York, this rare piece of real estate is a marketable commodity: a whole 999 square feet that sold for $3.25 million last year. The recent video from the Wall Street Journal brings us inside the house for the first time.
Built in 1873, the house is also valuable for its history: Besides Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mead and John Barrymore inhabited the narrow house, and Cary Grant stayed there when it was a boarding house for the actors of the Cherry Lane Theatre. Current owner, photographer George Gund IV told the Wall Street Journal of his purchase “I see it as a sort of stewardship.” He bought the object of his care last year for $3.25 million, and has been making the most of his narrow space, learning to make the house’s limitations work in his favor.
The interior space comes out to just 8 feet wide and 1 inch, as you see measured in the video. The mini-mansion has three above-ground levels and stepped gables, like many others from the Dutch Colonial Revival style in the West Village. The narrow entrance/living room leads through a galley kitchen to a to a garden shared with neighbors.
In the video, Gund elaborates on the benefits of being in a small space–less to clean, less square footage to be taxed on. “Having a large space isn’t necessarily having a good space,” he says. The video shows the contrast between historical details and modern amenities, which make the house very livable and comfortable. Despite its narrowness, Gund doesn’t feel that the space is smaller than other places he’s seen others in New York City live in. He also acknowledges the limitations of owning a landmarked home, but he seems to be the perfect owner: “It’s not the traditional ownership of a home or a property, I can’t do whatever I please with this property, nor would I.”
And proving Gund’s social media savvy, he says he thought about hashtagging his photos of the house but he realized, “you don’t need to add to the allure” of this house. With the people stopping by to take photographs, he says there can be something of a fishtank-like quality, but you get the sense that he takes that as part of what happens when you own a house with a storied history.
See more of Manhattan’s narrowest homes here.