A few months ago, our team had the opportunity to tour a remarkable terrace space custom-created in NoMad by NYC-based designer (and friend of TTE) David Nosanchuk. This terrace was one of the most thoughtfully-designed outdoor spaces we’ve seen in the city—truly a place for living outdoors in luxury and comfort. During our tour, David detailed the terrace’s creation process from his initial design through installation and execution.The finished green terrace includes an infinity spa pool, fireplace, outdoor kitchen, integrated entertainment system, subset planters and even a secret trap door for access to mechanicals.  This attention to detail and marriage of stylistic design, landscape architecture and functionality is a truly impressive feat.

His ideas were so elegant and practical that we invited him to explain his approach. Here is what David had to say about the design and construction of this NoMad terrace:

“After many discussions with my Nomad Terrace clients, we agreed to create a set of spaces for living on the roof for half of the year. To enjoy this living concept, the program of design included an infinity edge spa, a fireplace, kitchen and areas of both sun and shade while still creating a sense of both openness and privacy for the roof.”

Terrace with Infinity Hot Tub/Pool in Manhattan
A grove of trees separates the dining and lounge areas of the terrace

Taking these parameters, my goal was to develop a designed set of spaces and plantings that could transcend the feeling of being located on a roof in New York City. The first way to do this was by raising the finished height of the deck by 30″, which enabled all the plantings, spa, and related substructures to be located below the finished roof and therefore give the effect of being completely built into the deck rather than a set of raised planters and a spa surrounded by steps sitting on top of finished pavers.

View of the Dining area with fireplace and outdoor kitchen through the grove.

In order to place all the elements, we agreed to, the roof was reinforced from below and a new waterproofing membrane along with a twenty-year warranty was installed. Then, we installed leveling platforms at each location where a roof structure such as the spa or fireplace would sit. This allowed us to take a roof that sloped in two directions and create a level-raised platform for all the designs to exist.

Different phases of construction on the NoMad terrace.

It was also important to create a design that would be easy to maintain and continue to look refined looking over the life of roof space. To do this, I used porcelain for the flooring pavers, stone for the spa and fireplace and metal and zinc for the other design elements.

Porcelain, stone, metal and zinc weather with characterdeveloping beautiful coloring and patina over time.

The perimeter of the roof was enclosed by a brick and stone parapet that meandered up and down on three levels. In order to mitigate this sense of being surrounded by the top cornice of the building, a stainless-steel screen was introduced along the perimeter and was planted. Plants now completely fill the outside wall of the roof, which has become a meandering green wall rather than a multi-level architectural eyesore.

Green parapet wall
Terrace Dining area with Fireplace and green parapet wall

Shading elements were also highly considered. We developed three places of sun protection: an area over the living room, an area over the dining area and an area over the bar. We fitted all with with both manual and motorized shades. These were all custom-made to accommodate the exact size, shape and colors we wanted for our design scheme.  They disappear into the wall when retracted.

We’d like to thank David for providing a tour of this wonderful space, this writeup of his design process, and most of the photos seen here. This terrace is one of the best we’ve ever seen—what a treat to experience it with the mind behind it all!

For more information on terrace design and to see David Nosanchuk’s other projects, view his website here: www.davidnosanchuk.com

For all other questions, please reach out to the Terrace Experts via the Contact page on this site.

A Tudor City penthouse terrace circa 1932, c/o The Museum of the City of New York’s digital archives

Elevators effectively swapped the height-based value of apartments in urban centers like New York; top-floor apartments that had previously attracted lower rents due to long climbs and proximity to rooftop service spaces were suddenly very desirable. Top floor apartments were quieter, had more sunlight and were finally easily accessible. Adding private terrace space via setback or finished rooftop became increasingly desirable as wealthy apartment owners realized they could enjoy secluded, beautifully-landscaped outdoor space high above the dirt, din, and prying eyes of the city’s streets—all of the benefits offered by the original hotel rooftops without the imperative to share with hundreds of other guests.

The penthouse terrace at 10 Park Ave circa 1940, c/o The Musuem of the City of New York’s digital archives

While rooftop bars have made a recent comeback, private outdoor space remains a rare and coveted commodity that comes at a premium in the city. Private residential terraces have benefited from advances in architecture, technology and design through the years, and New York now boasts some of the most stunning and luxurious private terraces in the world.

A modern luxury terrace in NoMad—get in touch with us for more information about this property!

The beautiful terraces throughout the city can trace their origins back as far as the temples of ancient times, and will likely continue to evolve in beauty, form and function through the coming centuries. Styles and uses have changed over the years, but through it all, people have always loved spending time outdoors, well above the ground in beautiful, private worlds all their own.