In 1904, Charles A. Platt, created a four-story neo-Federal residence for Dr. Frederic S. Reed that features a Flemish bond brick facade with stone trim. Platt also designed 47 & 49 East 65th Street for the Roosevelts (FDR) as well as the Astor Court apartments for the Astors. Dr. Freed was a noted physiologist who helped establish Columbia University's Department of Physiology and whose researches included the role of the inner ear in maintaining equilibrium as well as the physiology of muscles. He was also the president of the New York Botanical Society between 1923 and 1927 while his wife, Laura Billings Lee, was a member of the council of the Charity Organization Society and the Board of Trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation.
In 1944, the house was sold to publishing legend, Henry R. Luce, who gifted it to the China Institute through a foundation established in memory of his father, Henry Winters Luce, a former missionary and educator in China. It remained the Institute’s home until its sale in 2014. In 2017, it was the site of the Kips Bay Designers Showhouse.
THE CURRENT LAYOUT
The garden floor of this grand property currently consists of a front room, two powder rooms and a rear kitchen that opens onto a Suzhou garden that was created by craftsmen in the traditional style that dates back to the Ming Dynasty. The parlour level, with its simulated rusticated exterior brick work, is comprised of an interior front receiving room, two walk-in closets, a rear kitchenette as well as a dignified wood-paneled room with a large wood burning fireplace. The third floor features capacious front and rear rooms, each with wood burning fireplaces. A wrought iron balcony runs across the front, complementing tall french windows and splayed flat arches with keystones. Above, a stone band can be seen on the sill level of the fourth floor exterior. Inside are two full-width rooms, also with wood burning fireplaces. There are spaces allocated for a powder room plus a full bathroom also. Finally, the fifth floor is currently configured as four rooms, one with a wood burning fireplace and a powder room. The building's mechanicals are located in the cellar. An elevator services the garden to the top floor.