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Inside the Country's Coolest Renovated, Rehab'd YMCA

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Photos via Inthralld

When designer Stefan Boublil of the NYC-based architecture and interiors firm The Apartment came upon the dilapidated basketball court and suspended running track of downtown Manhattan's McBurney YMCA, he knew this was an opportunity to "follow his bliss," so he set out to transform the abandoned facility—the country's first YMCA basketball court—into a 7,000-square-foot bastion of "romantic minimalist pleasure," or so the studio writes. Inside: wallpaper and furniture designed in-house, plus an indoor garden, a 30-foot-long kitchen, and a 12-person home theater. "We got everything we always wanted to try on client projects and never could. It was a design lab of sorts," the designers write in the project description. The result: sleek, modern, punchy interiors that join 1916 electrical substations and old train cars as some of the most fascinating converted spaces on Earth.

Since its completion in 2006, the space has been used off-and-on for commercial work; it's been the backdrop for a few catalog and magazine shoots, plus a party pad in Drew Barrymore's Music and Lyrics and a swanky locale for the pilot of ABC's Ugly Betty.

UPDATE: Boublil says the place was listed for sale in 2007, and quickly sold to a hotel heiress for "around $7M." The heartbreaker: upon moving in, she "completely gutted it." But hey, take a trip down memory lane:

· YMCA Basketball Court Converted to Contemporary Home [Inthralld]
· All Conversions posts [Curbed National]