The imposing Queen Anne townhouse at 248 Central Park West sits in a prime historic district facing the park, one of just three remaining houses erected in 1887, between 84th and 85th Streets, by the builder William Noble.
Over the 131-year history, there have been triumphs and tragedies within its walls. The first owner, a wealthy colonel, entertained relatives of Gens. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant there in a nod toward reconciliation after the Civil War. The house was later carved into rentals and fell into disrepair. In 1990, an arson fire charred the interior, though the richly ornamented limestone and buff brick facade survived.
The current owners, Matthew and Janet Geller, bought the rebuilt structure in 2004 for $7.5 million and commenced their own three-and-a-half-year $10 million gut renovation led by Rosenblum Architects.
They restored the space to its late 19th-century grandeur, and added many modern amenities, like a sixth-floor penthouse, a screening room and a lap pool. They also upgraded the elevator, which reaches all but the top floor.
The refurbished house, six stories high and 20 feet wide, is now returning to the market. The asking price is $29 million, according to the listing broker, Michael Sieger of Sotheby’s International Realty, with annual taxes of around $48,000. (The house next door, No. 247, which once served as Mr. Noble’s residence, sold for $25 million in 2015.)
Mr. Geller, who is the managing director of Geller Biopharm, an investment bank focused on health care, said he and his wife were looking to downsize and relocate to the Los Angeles area, where they have family and where his company has offices.
“There are just the two of us in a 9,700-square-foot house,” he said.
The house has six en-suite bedrooms, plus a study that could be converted into a seventh bedroom, and three powder rooms, across 7,900 square feet. In addition to a 1,875-square-foot finished basement, it also has roughly 1,550 square feet of outdoor space, including an unfinished rooftop terrace off the penthouse and a rear garden with a limestone fountain, which, according to Mrs. Geller, “was inspired by the Bethesda Fountain” in Central Park.
Throughout the high-ceilinged home are numerous architectural flourishes and period antiques, painstakingly added by the Gellers over the years. The couple managed to locate sales materials put out by Mr. Noble, the builder, and sought to match some of the interior styles and materials used by his architect, Edward L. Angell. (Mr. Noble had built nine single-family houses, Nos. 241-249, along that Central Park West block; Col. Richard Lathers, a successful cotton merchant who was also involved in banking and insurance, bought No. 248 for $35,000, according to Mr. Sieger.)
Various kinds of marble were brought in during the renovation, and the couple made lavish use of decorative ceiling patterns. The parlor-floor powder room, for instance, has a domed silver leaf ceiling. Quartersawed white oak is also prominent and can be found in the paneling, moldings and Parquet de Versailles patterned floors.
The couple also refurbished the exterior, hiring Building Conservation Associates to restore the bas-relief carvings and balcony grills, recreate a wrought-iron entrance gate and add curved windows, among other things.
“That’s what’s so special about this house: the architectural details,” said Mrs. Geller, a retired office manager. “I put my heart and soul into it for the last 14 to 15 years.”
The home’s main entry is on the parlor floor at the second level. A marble foyer, with an antique mirrored coat rack, opens to a formal parlor that is anchored by a fireplace with a white oak mantel and marble surround, one of four in the house. The space flows into an oak-paneled library with built-in shelves and a Putnam rolling ladder. A pocket door separates the library from the music room, which contains a late 1800s Steinway grand piano crafted from rosewood.
The third level is dedicated to dining. It features a formal dining room with a wood fireplace mantel obtained from Westland London, an architectural antiques dealer. A spacious eat-in kitchen is equipped with high-end appliances like a La Cornue Château gas and electric stove, and a long center island of Calacatta gold marble. Connected to the kitchen is a butler’s pantry with Caesarstone countertops.
The master bedroom suite, which has another Westland London fireplace mantel, takes up the entire fourth level and features dual dressing rooms and bathrooms. There is also a large sitting room/study with views of the park, one of Mrs. Geller’s favorite rooms. “I spend a lot of time here,” she said.
There are four more en-suite bedrooms on the top two levels, including a second master suite with a mechanical closet in the penthouse. Another en-suite bedroom is on the garden level, along with a second kitchen and dining area, and a screening room, outfitted with eight black velvet theater seats, that opens to the backyard.
In the basement is a lap pool, around 50 feet long and 6 feet wide, a gym, a laundry room and storage space.
“I come here every morning to work out,” Mr. Geller said. He also runs in the park, which has served almost as an extension to the couple’s home. “When there are concerts,” Mrs. Geller said, “we come up to the roof and listen.”
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