The Waterfall Mansion History:

The Tillett Family

Image courtesy of the Tillett Family. A postcard painting from which the facade of the building was restored.

Image courtesy of the Tillett Family. A postcard painting from which the facade of the building was restored.


Hidden away as a gem in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is the Waterfall Mansion and Gallery. Kate Shin, founder and creator of Waterfall Gallery, envisioned a place where art intersected life: "artful living."

Before the being converted into the contemporary art gallery it is today, 170 E 80th Street was home to Leslie and D.D. Tillett, two of the most influential textile designers of the postwar era. Their prints were associated with the likes of Claire McCardell and Jacqueline KennedyFor 2 generations, the Tillett family artisans and craftsmen used the carriage house as a studio since the 40's. In honor of the heritage of the property, Kate Shin designed the facade directly from a painting of the building. The home was redesigned to be a state of the art modern gallery. With 5 floors as well as a balcony and rooftop, every area of the house was designed to house prolific contemporary artists. 

Each room is thoughtfully curated with a variety of works ranging from sculpture, paintings, photography, mixed media, installations, ceramics, video arts, and more. The signature 20-foot indoor waterfall provides a stunning impact while making the entire gallery space a peaceful and meditative environment for art viewing. Waterfall Gallery is a pioneer of the modern gallery. 


Leslie and D.D. Tillett ca. 1947.

Leslie and D.D. Tillett ca. 1947.

Custom fabrics with chrysanthemum pattern and strié. Designed by D.D. and Leslie Tillett.

Custom fabrics with chrysanthemum pattern and strié. Designed by D.D. and Leslie Tillett.

Living room of the Tillett home and workshop, 170 East 80th Street, NYC, 1951. Photograph by Samuel H. Gottscho.

Living room of the Tillett home and workshop, 170 East 80th Street, NYC, 1951. Photograph by Samuel H. Gottscho.