A Sophisticated Fifth Avenue Apartment Filled with Vintage Touches


Modern White Living Room Fireplace

In the living room, the owners’ chesterfield was supplemented by Milo Baughman club chairs from Modern Living Supplies. Madeline Weinrib pillows play off Nancy Lorenz’s mixed media works from Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Modern White Living Room with Circular Coffee Table

In the living room, the owners’ chesterfield was supplemented by Milo Baughman club chairs from Modern Living Supplies. Madeline Weinrib pillows play off Nancy Lorenz’s mixed media works from Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Modern Marble Master Bath

A Caesarstone countertop in Raven 4120 is a nice contrast to the Calacatta marble backsplash that mimics the one in the kitchen. Framing the Robern medicine cabinet are frosted glass Studio sconces from Ayre Lighting. The sink fittings are from Lefroy Brooks.

Modern Suede Master Bedroom

Upholstered surfaces add a luxurious softness in the master bedroom. The wall is covered in Tokay Blue ultrasuede from Hines & Company; the custom headboard, in Heathered Pewter by Pollack. Vibia Swing Biluz wall lamps and custom throw pillows complete the look.

Modern Orange-Accented Family Room

In the family room, orange is the color of choice, serving as an accent to the custom sofa upholstered in a flannel suede by Tokay Blue. The patterned rug was envisioned by designer Amie Weitzman, and the painting, Goon Dawn, is by Michael Velliquette from the Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Modern Gray Breakfast Nook with Blue Accents

Blue kicks in as an accent in the breakfast nook, seen in the iris watercolors by Kim McCarty from Morgan Lehman Gallery and Walton ikat pillows by Madeline Weinrib. A George Nelson Ball lamp hangs over a custom table made by CA Atelier and custom banquette crafted by Lore Decorators.

Modern Stainless Steel Kitchen

Sleek and urban, in a palette of white, silver and pewter, the kitchen contains Siematic cabinetry topped by Calacatta marble countertops and backsplash. The stainless-steel refrigerator is by Sub-Zero. Design Within Reach’s LEM stools provide a modern perch at the island.

Modern Gray Foyer Statement Mirror

The classic-meets-modern aesthetic begins in the foyer with a Venetian mirror and a Hubert bench, from Duane Modern, upholstered in a Jim Thompson fabric. The wallpaper is by Jill Malek.

Modern Dining Area with Vintage Bubble Chandelier

The dining area mixes the clean lines of a custom table from CA Atelier with vintage Gio Ponti walnut chairs from Modern Living Supplies, a campy custom banquette of wet-look vinyl and a vintage chandelier. Another mixed media piece by Nancy Lorenz hangs behind the table, this one titled Silver Geodesic, also from Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Modern Gray Foyer Cherrywood Cabinet

A cherrywood cabinet accents the foyer.

The iconic sights from a glamorous Fifth Avenue apartment are right out of Woody Allen’s Manhattan. By day, the living room and master bedroom overlook Central Park and the gray geometric collage of surrounding buildings. By night, the scene is aglow with lightscapes from as far away as the George Washington Bridge. “It is a glittery city,” says Michael Halpern, who, with Amie Weitzman, created the apartment’s shimmering new renovation. “The use of metallics, vintage glass lighting fixtures and a palette of grays and beiges reflect the great views that surround the apartment.”

That view—along with the feeling of bygone glamour—captivated the homeowners when they were hunting for a larger city adobe. The wife is a women’s wear buyer for a luxury department store; her husband, a senior managing director in a private equity firm. In 2010, they found the apartment in a coveted pre-war building, this one dating to the 1920s.

The wife loved the fact that the same family had owned the residence for 42 years, because she and her husband were looking for a home where they could create memories of their own with their two young daughters. But the place had not been renovated for at least five decades, and the apartment’s many small rooms and tiny kitchen harked back to an age of live-in help. Moldings that were all the rage in the Roaring Twenties seemed overly ornate.

To reflect a more modern way of living, the husband called in a general contractor who had worked on the couple’s previous apartment, Giovanni Onelli, to do a gut renovation. Onelli then worked with Brooklyn-based architect Jonathan B. Held to create an open layout that better served the family’s daily needs. They expanded the kitchen, created a family room and turned the dining room into a den. A new dining area was carved out of the 27-by-14-foot living room. Surprises were uncovered when the walls came down—such as the dropped ceilings in three of the four bedrooms.

“By removing them, we gained about nine inches, which is a lot of height,” Onelli says. Another pleasant surprise was the discovery of hidden coffered ceilings in the living room and den.

Architect Ann Margit Macklin was brought in to make the doors, cabinetry and trim more in sync with the streamlined interiors. “We tried to go for more clean lines while keeping things functional,” Macklin says. To that end, she solved the perennial challenge of New York apartments—what to do with the radiators—by hiding them in built-in shelving or desks.

As their focus shifted to the interior design, the couple reached out to Weitzman and Halpern, and after a few short consultations, gave them free rein on their new home. The wife shares their love of gray and use of texture, as well as their “contemporary but livable and warm” look. The livable part was a necessity because the couple’s two daughters, now 6 and 9 years old, and their pointer-Lab mix Pepper, needed a place to run and play.

For the designers, working with a fashion-forward client was refreshing. “Her fashion sense makes her open to taking some risk,” says Weitzman. “She appreciates things that are a bit more playful, like shots of color and pattern. There’s wallpaper in almost every room.” Their Gotham-meets- midcentury aesthetic is perhaps best exemplified in the living room. There, a chesterfield sofa—one of the few furnishings the couple brought with them—appears more hip when surrounded by sleek Milo Baughman armchairs from the ’60s and funky Lucite side tables from the ’70s. A ’60s Italian chandelier made of hand-blown glass hangs in the nearby dining area.

Respecting the apartment’s picture-perfect views, the designers opted for sheer Roman shades throughout the space, allowing light and the cityscape to filter into the interiors. “It’s sophisticated in a minimalistic way that’s livable, inviting and warm,” says the wife. In other words, they got a Hollywood ending to their renovation dreams.