In the glass-enclosed garden between a built-on living room and the house to which it was added, Constantino Nivola designed for the Edmundo Lassalles a steep waterfall that spills down graduated troughs. Lighted at night, the fall’s enchantment can be both seen and heard. Dr. Lasalle is an economic consultant to United States firms in Latin America. On the staff of the New York City Ballet Company, Mrs. Lassalle is the daughter of the writer, Dorothy Norman, who organized The Heroic Encounter, an exhibition of the past’s significant symbolical art, touring museums now for its second year. This living room, satisfyingly proportioned, cleanly and sparingly detailed, achieves a purposeful emptiness, that, unlike most emptiness, is friendly and never lonely. The monochromatic off-white walls and carpet are warmed by the leather-and-wood Mexican chair and the Spanish chest in the foreground, the brilliant scarlet cushions on the long beige banquette. On the brick wall, lighted from above, hangs a Vass painting, with, near it, a Chinese seventeenth-century panel. On the floor beside the garden, a Marini bronze horse and rider.
The Edmundo Lassalles had a garden behind their nineteenth-century brownstone. What they felt they did not have was a proper living room. With their architect, Robert Rosenberg, they decided one divided by one would make three. Into the centre of the garden space a living room was inserted, both of its ends glass-walled to afford an outdoor view, the whole arrangement connected to the original house by a short side passage. The dining room, off-white with natural open-weave curtains that frame a view of the waterfall; on its right, steps go down to the new living room, separated from the cypress-fenced back garden only by glass. Over the living room, the roof has been fitted like a playground to provide a charming children’s terrace for the Lassalle daughters.
All photographs by Ezra Stoller. Scanned from Vogue, April 15, 1959.