Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mark Hampton for Susan and Carter Burden, 1020 Fifth Avenue

The Drawing Room of the Burden apartment.
Photo by Scott Frances for HG magazine.
All magazine images via Toby Worthington.
The previous post of The Devoted Classicist gave a view into the apartment of Susan and Carter Burden at 1020 Fifth Avenue, New York City.  Decorated by Mark Hampton, it was published with great fanfare, appearing on the cover of the September, 1992 issue of HG magazine.

Details of the Burden apartment.
Photos by Scott Frances for HG magazine.
The magazine article, written by the Burdens' friend John Richardson did not reveal the owners' names, but it was not hard to figure it out. 

An exterior rendering of 1020 Fifth Avenue
from the original Douglas-Elliman offering.
Via Columbia University Library.
The building is very distinctive, even from the interior.  And Hampton had decorated Carter Burden's previous apartment at The Dakota when he was married to Amanda Mortimer.

The original floor plan of the 11th floor
of 1020 Fifth Avenue, NYC.
Via Columbia University Library.
The Burdens bought the eleventh floor of 1020 Fifth for $4.9 million in 1990.  With the help of my friend and former Parish-Hadley co-worker Oscar Shamamian of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, the whole-floor apartment was completely remodeled to showcase Burden's art and rare book collection. 

Description from the original offering
by Douglas-Elliman.
Via Columbia University Library.
The building, designed by Warren & Wetmore (best known for Grand Central Terminal) and completed in 1925, is notable for six of the 13 apartments having drawing rooms with ceiling heights up to 18 feet.  It is one of the most desirable Pre-War co-op buildings in Manhattan.  The original price for the eleventh floor was $120,000. 

Building section of 1020 Fifth Avenue
from the original Douglas-Elliman offering.
Via Columbia University Library.
When Susan Burden placed the 11 room apartment on the market in 2002, the price was $23.5 million. 

The Library of the Burden apartment.
Photo by Scott Frances for HG magazine.
The HG article mentions that the Burdens used the Drawing Room for most activities, but there was also a smaller sitting room, a Library.  As the text of the magazine article points out, it was inspired by the library that Emilio Terry designed for the British Embassy in Paris.  After Carter Burden's death in 1996 at age 54, much of his collection of rare books, valued at $10 million, went to the Morgan Library.  (But the shelves were not left completely bare; in 2009, an electronics installer was convicted of taking more than $1 million in books, including a signed F. Scott Fitzgerald valued at $500,000).

The Dining Room of the Burden apartment
at 1020 Fifth Avenue as decorated by Mark Hampton.
Photo by Scott Frances for HG magazine.
The Dining Room, with a 10 ft ceiling like the other family rooms after the Drawing Room, was put into service when the Burdens entertained, as they often did in the early 1990s. 

Carter Burden's Bath/Dressing Room.
Photo via Corinne Gilbert.
Another book and art-filled room was Carter Burden's Dressing/Bathroom.  Much like any other room furnished by Mark Hampton, it just happens to include plumbing fixtures.  The antique w.c. was discretely located around a corner behind a gothick folding screen.

Susan and Carter Burden, Jr.,
January, 1990.
Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd, Getty Images.
Carter Burden, Jr., was a great-great-great grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest men in American history.  After working as an aid to Robert Kennedy, Carter Burden served on the New York City Council from 1969 to 1977 although attempts at other public offices were not successful.  At one time, he owned the Village Voice newspaper and New York Magazine, and then a conglomeration of radio stations.  For those keeping track, first wife Amanda was the daughter of legendary style icon Barbara "Babe" Paley from her first husband Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Jr., heir to a Standard Oil fortune; Amanda went on to marry Steve Ross, head of Warner Communications, and is now in a long term relationship with television personality Charlie Rose.  Susan Burden serves on the Board of Directors of the Carter Burden Center for Aging.

Mark Hampton in his own Manhattan Living Room.
Photo: T Magazine.
Mark Hampton died in 1998 at age 58.  Obviously, he was proud of this project; it appears on the dust jacktet of the 2009 book MARK HAMPTON: AN AMERICAN DECORATOR by his wife Duane Hampton. In ways more than just one, the decoration of the apartment was an example of the end of an era fueled by the Reaganomics of the time. But there is every indication that there is a rebirth in traditional decoration just beginning to flower with prime Manhattan residential real estate in demand as ever and suppliers re-issuing hand-blocked chintz, handmade trims, and custom wallcoverings.  Misters Hampton and Burden would be pleased.

The Drawing Room of the Burden apartment
at 1020 Fifth Avenue, NYC,
appears on the cover of the Mark Hampton book.


  1. I miss Carter.

    He was boatloads of fun -- unlike one of his wives.

    1. T.A., I never met Carter Burden, though I did meet one of his wives. We'll just have to guess to which one you were referring. Your comments are always welcome, however.

  2. A better fortune cookie couldn't have been printed...the last sentence, from your fingertips to Gods ears! Love those 'Apartments'...Regal in proportion and Style. Isn't Oscar the same used much by Michael Smith? He must be booked until 2050.

    1. T.S., yes O.S. and M.J.S. have made a good team. One of their lovely projects is coming up as a post here before too very long. Thank you for commenting.

  3. I am delighted to hear it! I have many samples from Clarence House, Brunschwig ,Cowtan and Tout and others....I made the mistake of showing these samples to a client...she LOVED them!

    95% are discontinued! SOB!!!!

    I look forward to their resurgence!!!

    What a lovely post! BRAVO! I could move in and not change a lampshade!

    1. P., thank you for commenting. It is always great to see a project fully "done" isn't it?

  4. How things have changed, in the world of shelter magazines!
    That particular issue of HG, from September of 1992, contained in addition to the cover story on the Burden's extraordinary apartment, a spread on Valentino's Egerton Terrace house decorated by Colefax and Fowler, an article introducing the work of the landscape designer Jacques Wirtz, another on the influence of Elsie de Wolfe...need I say more?

    1. T.W., it was truly a golden age for magazines, and HG was absolutely the best. Every issue. Show people what they didn't know they wanted instead of just the opposite as done too often today.

      And again, many thanks for all your help in realizing this post.

  5. So luxurious, rich, warm and timeless! The personalities involved are all fascinating, thank you for giving us the background. Do you happen to know who purchased the home, John?

    The Arts by Karena
    A New Gallery in Town!

    1. K.A., I am not 100% sure that it was sold. Maybe one of the Devoted Readers knows. Thank you for asking.

  6. I have been hanging on to this article fromm H&G with the intention of writing a post for so very long. The salon, which for me is the quintessential dream of a Manhattan library, has remained my idée fixe since discovering it. But it found its rightful voice in you, as I could have not done it better justice. I, and my Pinterest boards, thank you!

    And ... "Hello" Penny! You may not think you know me but back in 1996 whilst you lived in Pasadena I assisted Billy Francis with the design of the Pasadena Designer Showhouse - your neighbor, "Wayne Manor" from the Batman series - and you so graciously invited me over for a visit and tour of your beautiful home and gardens. I have never forgotten that day or you!

    1. C.W., thank you for commenting. I am a fan of your blog, The Art of the Room. I hope you won't let this prevent you from posting your own thoughts on the apartment. It is worth a couple more go-rounds at least.


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