elledecor– The Upper East Side is more than a neighborhood; it’s a lifestyle—or at least the perception of one. That vision, however cliché, is of jocund elevator operators in dusty uniforms taking you and your assemblage of Bergdorf Goodman bags up to a Rosario Candela–designed classic six. Before the super-tall-tower boom (popular among anonymous international investors for parking their money), prewar was the ne plus ultra of New York living, and it appears that homebuyer tastes are returning to that era of understated elegance. Case in point: 40 East End, a 20-story charcoal-and-gray-brick tower in the far east area of Yorkville designed by ELLE DECOR Titan Deborah Berke Partners in collaboration with Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects, which recently completed construction.

For architect Deborah Berke, a longtime denizen of Yorkville, it was a dream project. “It was important to us to design a building that felt rooted in its context and timeless in relation to its surroundings,” Berke says. “By timeless, I mean that the building draws from its context and reinterprets that context in a contemporary way.”

In all of her work, materiality is paramount, and 40 East End is no exception. The warmly colored bricks that make up the facade, she says, add a richness, “and highlight the tactility of the building.” The common spaces like the grand parlor with its black and white marble chevron floor, hulking crystal chandelier, and bronze-clad iron staircase add a healthy dose of bling—a more direct and literal richness to contrast the calm of the exterior. That yen for diverse materials is found in all 28 full-floor and half-floor units of the building, particularly in the primary bathrooms designed of Arabescato Cervaiole marble and mirror-back Bendheim glass.

With 40 East End, Berke has created a residential building not just for the investor class, but also for people looking for a beautiful—and luxurious—place to live. “It isn’t showy,” she says. “It’s a building to make a life in for the long term.”

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