What can a parent do when building pillow forts and playing hide and seek start to bore the kids? If you’re lucky enough to have the space and budget for it, you turn your home into SkyHouse: a playground-like home with a climbing wall and four-story slide.
SkyHouse was designed by architect David Hotson to occupy a spectacular four-story loft at the top of an historic skyscraper in Lower Manhattan. The American Tract Society built the structure in 1895, and it is currently one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York. The top four floors had remained unoccupied and unfinished since the building’s construction, giving the owners free reign to make it into their dream home.
The main level of the home occupies the entire first-story floor space. The second level is a mezzanine overlooking the space below and occupied by a home office. The third story is all bedrooms and the fourth story is a glass-floored attic arranged just below the supporting roof truss. Large windows all around the perimeter of the home provide for an abundance of natural light on every level.
But of course, the most notable features of the home are the ones that make it so much fun. A private elevator takes residents and visitors all the way up to the SkyHouse. Once inside, the color palette is a clean, modern white with whimsical, colorful accents peppered throughout the space. An exposed steel girder in the living room provides upward transportation in the form of a rock climbing wall. A small platform midway up the 50-foot wall allows private space for reading or gazing out at the spectacular skyline.
The stainless steel slide begins its twisty-turning journey in the attic, where a hole in the glass floor allows the mouth of the slide to rise up to meet riders. Small windows in the slide keep it from being dark and scary. Exit points at the second and third stories let riders disembark at different stops rather than going all the way to the first level.
The SkyHouse offers the best of both worlds: a highly livable and comfortable space for grown-ups and all the fun of a playground for kids. Those with a fear of heights may not enjoy the incredible views offered by the multitude of large windows looking out over Manhattan, but we’re willing to bet that there is something to delight just about everyone in this amazing house.