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Two levels of gardens compose the inner space between 54th and 53rd Street at Griffin Court. There is a lawn for dogs, covered pergolas for lounging or dining, lighting, mounded planting beds with grasses and everything you could hope for in a courtyard. The building was constructed in such a way that this garden has a decent amount of space and light which are very hard things to find in New York City. Walking in the courtyard felt very comfortable. It’s very easy to visualize spending time there. Everything about the garden makes it feel like a success, but I found a glitch from the view above.

The overall effect of the garden from the upper level apartments was boring. It felt artificial and stagnant. The view from the apartments facing this interior courtyard left me longing for a view to the street and real NYC sights and sounds. From an aerial perspective the space looks very contrived and has a textbook-design kind of feel. Landscape elements are spaced in such a way as to diverge and reconnect in a very structured manner. In fact, it feels too structured. If certain elements were more organic and free flowing, the garden would be more effective.

This garden needs more time to grow in since it was recently planted (it appears this was done the end of summer in 2010). Perhaps when the plants mature, the rigidity of the courtyard will fade. For me, having a view of a garden should be mesmerizing and take your mind to another world free of cell phones, emails and responsibilities.

The building on a whole was really well done. According to local real estate agents, Alchemy  Properties (the developer) completed construction of over 20 residential buildings and do quality work. I can attest that the layouts of the apartments and fixtures were very nice and well worth seeing. Small things like windows and murals in the hallways make it stand out from other buildings where developers have short-ended the halls making them dark and cramped. Read more about Griffiin Court here: http://www.griffincourtcondo.com

Also check out their facebook page for more images of the space: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Griffin-Court-Condo/103487993030031?v=info

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Since I moved back to New York City permanently, I have moved 4 times in the past 3 years for numerous reasons. In this fast paced city, it seems like nothing is constant.  Jobs, relationships, roommates, neighborhoods, friends, and finances continually pull us in different directions. Unfortunately this high speed lifestyle can make it hard to settle down in one place. This is why we rent. The thing about renting is that there are so many apartments out there with fantastic roof, terrace, and outdoor space which are underutilized. From my viewpoint, if you have time to hang up curtains or get a new rug for your interior, then you owe it to yourself to do something for your outdoor space too.

I had a client this spring with a fantastic 1,300 square foot terrace in midtown West that came along with their rental apartment. That is huge as far as outdoor New York Spaces. Since they are renting, we focused on budget friendly changes we could make to the space that made a lot of impact. Birch trees, planters in the correct scale, and a revised furniture layout really transformed the terrace. When I work on projects like this, I like to keep the plantings simple, and repeat the material throughout the space. Enjoy the images.

       

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