Inside Sunrise presenter Nelson Aspen’s swanky NYC penthouse

Inside Nelson Aspen’s swanky NYC penthouse: Sunrise host opens up the doors of his incredible Harlem home with skyline views, a rooftop cabana and Aussie mementos

Advertisement

Sunrise’s ‘man in Hollywood’ Nelson Aspen has thrown open the doors of his jaw-dropping penthouse in New York City, after spending the last two years building his dream home in the heart of Harlem.

Aspen, 58, who resigned this month after 19 years as showbusiness correspondent for Australia’s No. 1 breakfast show, started from a blank canvas with no walls, windows or wiring after buying off the plan in 2020.

He and his partner, with the help of a developer, architect and designer, embarked on an ambitious construction beset by Covid-related delays – but are now ready to unveil the sprawling one-bedroom apartment they built from scratch.

Sunrise's 'man in Hollywood' Nelson Aspen (pictured on the Oscars red carpet) has thrown open the doors of his jaw-dropping penthouse in New York City, after spending the last two years building his dream home in the heart of Harlem

Sunrise’s ‘man in Hollywood’ Nelson Aspen (pictured on the Oscars red carpet) has thrown open the doors of his jaw-dropping penthouse in New York City, after spending the last two years building his dream home in the heart of Harlem

‘My partner and I have been together since 2014 and decided it was time to sell our individual apartments and create a dream home to share together,’ Aspen said.

‘Even though we were working with a broker, I credit insomnia and a 4am scroll through Instagram for finding our posh penthouse!

‘There was an advertisement for a brand-new construction and I was intrigued with the idea of creating a bespoke love nest completely from scratch. That’s just what we have done.’

He and his partner, with the help of a developer, architect and designer, embarked on an ambitious construction beset by Covid-related delays - but are now ready to unveil the sprawling one-bedroom apartment they built from scratch. (Pictured: the living area)

He and his partner, with the help of a developer, architect and designer, embarked on an ambitious construction beset by Covid-related delays – but are now ready to unveil the sprawling one-bedroom apartment they built from scratch. (Pictured: the living area)

The 58-year-old journalist was dealing with a full-scale construction and not just a renovation, which required a hands-on approach and expert assistance. (Pictured: the balcony)

The 58-year-old journalist was dealing with a full-scale construction and not just a renovation, which required a hands-on approach and expert assistance. (Pictured: the balcony)

'There was an advertisement for a brand-new construction and I was intrigued with the idea of creating a bespoke love nest completely from scratch. That's just what we have done,' Aspen said. (Pictured: the apartment complex)

‘There was an advertisement for a brand-new construction and I was intrigued with the idea of creating a bespoke love nest completely from scratch. That’s just what we have done,’ Aspen said. (Pictured: the apartment complex) 

'Even though we were working with a broker, I credit insomnia and a 4am scroll through Instagram for finding our posh penthouse!' he added. (Aspen is seen here in December 2020, during the early stages of construction)

‘Even though we were working with a broker, I credit insomnia and a 4am scroll through Instagram for finding our posh penthouse!’ he added. (Aspen is seen here in December 2020, during the early stages of construction)

The project was no small feat for Aspen, whose new book ‘Your Home is Your Castle: Live Like an A-Lister in a Post Pandemic World’ comes out in September.

The veteran journalist was dealing with a full-scale construction and not simply a renovation, which required a hands-on approach and expert assistance.

‘We started literally with some floor plans and a blank canvas: no walls or windows or wiring,’ he explained to Daily Mail Australia.

‘We donned our hard hats with the developer, architect and our designer and customised what would have been a three-bedroom home into a unique, sprawling one-bedroom [apartment] with a home-office, den and dining alcove.

‘It’s everything we’ve ever wanted.’

Aspen, who resigned this month after 19 years as showbusiness correspondent for Australia's No. 1 breakfast show, started from a blank canvas with no walls, windows or wiring after buying off the plan in 2020. (Pictured with interior designer Rebecca Roberts)

Aspen, who resigned this month after 19 years as showbusiness correspondent for Australia’s No. 1 breakfast show, started from a blank canvas with no walls, windows or wiring after buying off the plan in 2020. (Pictured with interior designer Rebecca Roberts)

The coronavirus pandemic hit New York City particularly hard, and resulted in myriad problems for Aspen, including a total shut-down of all new construction.

Noting that building a home is an exercise in patience at the best of times, the Channel Seven stalwart said Covid ‘exacerbated it one-hundred fold.’

‘Aside from the global woes of inflation and the dreaded “supply-chain issues”, all new construction ground to a halt for months at the height of the pandemic. I learned a lot about delayed gratification during that limbo,’ he said. 

Aspen’s design philosophy was guided by his love of art collecting, a passion he shares with his long-term partner, who is also a New Yorker.

'We donned our hard hats with the developer, architect and our designer and customised what would have been a three-bedroom home into a unique, sprawling one-bedroom [apartment] with a home-office, den and dining alcove,' said Aspen. (Pictured: the bedroom)

‘We donned our hard hats with the developer, architect and our designer and customised what would have been a three-bedroom home into a unique, sprawling one-bedroom [apartment] with a home-office, den and dining alcove,’ said Aspen. (Pictured: the bedroom)

Aspen's design philosophy was guided by his love of art collecting, a passion he shares with his long-term partner, who is also a New Yorker. (Pictured: three framed photographs in the bedroom)

Aspen’s design philosophy was guided by his love of art collecting, a passion he shares with his long-term partner, who is also a New Yorker. (Pictured: three framed photographs in the bedroom)

‘We started by showing our most treasured pieces to the designer Rebecca Roberts, who created inspiration boards based on them,’ he said.

‘Our taste is wide ranging and eclectic, ranging from impressionist paintings to modern photography and steel sculpture.

‘In my new book, I advise strongly to create a curated style, whether you’re moving to a new home or revamping your existing one.’

Aspen said it’s hard to pick his favourite room, but the dining alcove is particularly special to him and his partner because of their fondness for eating at restaurants.

The Covid pandemic hit New York City particularly hard, and resulted in myriad problems for Aspen, including a total shut-down of all new construction, but it was all worth it in the end

The Covid pandemic hit New York City particularly hard, and resulted in myriad problems for Aspen, including a total shut-down of all new construction, but it was all worth it in the end

‘We had a custom banquette designed to sit side by side, restaurant-style,’ he said.

‘The views from there also happen to be spectacular, looking out over the lush plantings on our terrace and stretching 180 degrees from the East River to the Hudson River.

‘It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunrise with coffee or the sunset with cocktails.’

He continued: ‘The last piece of the puzzle is our rooftop cabana, still a work in progress, but I suspect when it’s complete that will also be a contender for our  favourite room.

‘We splurged on furniture from an Aussie company, Harbour Outdoor, which is still in transit.’

Harlem is an interesting choice of neighbourhood for someone looking to build in NYC, but it was a no-brainer for Aspen who has fond memories of living in the city in the 1980s.

‘There was an advertisement for brand-new construction and I was intrigued with the idea of creating a bespoke love nest completely from scratch. That’s just what we have done,’ he said. (Pictured: the bathroom and laundry area) 

'In the living room is my Golden Bobblehead, bestowed upon me by Anthony Field and his merry troupe, officially making me an "Honorary Wiggle",' said Aspen (pictured holding the statuette alongside Wiggles members Field and Murray Cook)

‘In the living room is my Golden Bobblehead, bestowed upon me by Anthony Field and his merry troupe, officially making me an “Honorary Wiggle”,’ said Aspen (pictured holding the statuette alongside Wiggles members Field and Murray Cook)

‘Manhattan continues to evolve and gentrify. To find the “old New York” of my nostalgic memory, you have to seek out different neighborhoods,’ he said.

‘For me, that has meant moving further uptown. I started in Hell’s Kitchen, graduated to the Upper West Side, and have finally settled in Harlem.

‘Its culture, music and dining scenes are next level, and I have sweeping views of the city. But the jewel in the crown has to be the iconic marquee of the Apollo Theater: right from my own living room.’

Aspen first arrived in New York at the age of 17, and jokes that he moved ‘kicking and screaming’ across the country to Los Angeles when his career as an entertainment reporter took off.

He began to think seriously about returning to the Big Apple when the death of Australian actor Heath Ledger brought him back there 14 years ago.

‘When I came to NYC in 2008 to cover the death of Heath Ledger for Sunrise, it became clear to me that it was where I was meant to be,’ he said.

Aspen, who first moved to NYC at age 17, began to think seriously about returning to the Big Apple when the death of Australian actor Heath Ledger brought him back there 14 years ago. (Pictured: the bedroom closet)

Aspen, who first moved to NYC at age 17, began to think seriously about returning to the Big Apple when the death of Australian actor Heath Ledger brought him back there 14 years ago. (Pictured: the bedroom closet)

‘I was back and forth every week or two for a few years and then in 2011 convinced [Sunrise bosses] that the real centre of American arts and entertainment was in Manhattan, not Tinseltown.

‘I came “home”, met my partner and never looked back! Now when I go to Los Angeles, it’s always a working holiday.’

Despite bidding farewell to Sunrise, Aspen still considers himself an ‘honourary Aussie’ and his home is filled with mementos from his almost two decades on Australian screens.

'Our taste is wide ranging and eclectic, ranging from impressionist paintings to modern photography and steel sculpture,' said Aspen. 'In my new book, I advise strongly to create a curated style, whether you're moving to a new home or revamping your existing one'

‘Our taste is wide ranging and eclectic, ranging from impressionist paintings to modern photography and steel sculpture,’ said Aspen. ‘In my new book, I advise strongly to create a curated style, whether you’re moving to a new home or revamping your existing one’

‘I have two very special Sunrise-related items in our home,’ he said.

‘On the office desk stands my 2020 International Media Award from the Publicists Guild of America. I had been honored with five nominations for the annual prize and was humbled to finally win.

‘In the living room, amidst all the fancy light fixtures and art pieces, is my equally valuable Golden Bobblehead, bestowed upon me by Anthony Field and his merry troupe, officially making me an “Honorary Wiggle”.’

In addition to releasing his book ‘Your Home Is Your Castle’, Aspen will soon embark on a companion cabaret show, called ‘Welcome Home’.

His show launches at the The Green Room 42 entertainment hall in the heart of New York’s theatre district on October 5 and October 7.

He will also perform his vast repertoire from The Great American Songbook and share showbiz tales from his storied career at Australian venues when he comes to Perth for Seven’s Telethon in late October.

In addition to releasing his book 'Your Home Is Your Castle' (cover pictured), Aspen will soon embark on a companion cabaret show, called 'Welcome Home'

In addition to releasing his book ‘Your Home Is Your Castle’ (cover pictured), Aspen will soon embark on a companion cabaret show, called ‘Welcome Home’

Aspen has been a fixture of Sunrise for almost 20 years, reporting to a series of hosts including Barr, Samantha Armytage and Melissa Doyle (left)

Aspen has been a fixture of Sunrise for almost 20 years, reporting to a series of hosts including Barr, Samantha Armytage and Melissa Doyle (left) 

Aspen has been a fixture of Sunrise for almost 20 years, reporting to a series of hosts including Barr, Samantha Armytage and Melissa Doyle.

He was based in Los Angeles when he first joined the team, and remained Sunrise’s ‘man in Hollywood’ even after moving to New York City.

Aspen marked 15 years on Sunrise back in 2018, saying he was grateful for ‘having the opportunity to interview so many stars’. 

Aspen (pictured during one of his first appearances on Australian TV) is leaving Sunrise to finish his new book, Your Home Is Your Castle. His last day was July 15

Aspen (pictured during one of his first appearances on Australian TV) is leaving Sunrise to finish his new book, Your Home Is Your Castle. His last day was July 15

Throughout his career, Aspen has interviewed the likes of Julie Andrews, Harrison Ford and Rose Byrne, and has covered all the major awards for Sunrise, including the Oscars

Throughout his career, Aspen has interviewed the likes of Julie Andrews, Harrison Ford and Rose Byrne, and has covered all the major awards for Sunrise, including the Oscars

‘Just having the experience of being a part of the Sunrise family and coming to Australia and meeting you guys and the fans… these are opportunities that are extraordinary,’ he added.

He was recently presented with the International Media Journalist of the Year award by the Publicists Guild of America in 2020, by none other than Jennifer Aniston. 

Throughout his career, Aspen has interviewed the likes of Julie Andrews, Harrison Ford and Rose Byrne, and has covered all the major awards for Sunrise, including the Oscars and Golden Globes.

Aspen was recently presented with the International Media Journalist of the Year award by the Publicists Guild of America in 2020, by none other than Jennifer Aniston (right)

Aspen was recently presented with the International Media Journalist of the Year award by the Publicists Guild of America in 2020, by none other than Jennifer Aniston (right)

Source

Related posts