A Traditional Manhattan Co-Op with Vintage Furnishings


Contemporary Cream Reading Corner with Chenille Armchair

Jeffrey forged a cozy reading corner in the master bedroom with a Paley armchair covered in Schumacher chenille by J&P Custom Upholstery. A 1930s Jules Leleu side table and a Cedric Hartman lamp add function to the nook.

Master Bathroom with Hand-Carved Chandeliers

In the master bathroom, hand-carved alabaster chandeliers from Jean Karajian Gallery are paired with sconces from Atelier Jean Perzel.

Traditional Cream Master Bedroom with Crystal Chandelier

A varied palette of creams and ivories and an etched crystal Orrefors chandelier from Craig Van den Brulle add glamour to the master bedroom. Jeffrey designed the headboard, upholstered in a Bergamo damask and bordered in sateen from Dessin Fournir. Billowy draperies by Anthony Lawrence-Belfair, fabricated using vanilla silk by Donghia, promise sweet dreams.

Traditional Dining Room with Mahogany Dining Table

Jeffrey created high-wattage contrasts in the dining room through the use of high-gloss paint the hue of Coca-Cola, echoing the custom mahogany dining table and chair frames, while metallic draperies crafted from a Bergamo fabric, a Holland & Sherry woven textile on the chairs and an Edward Fields wool rug designed by Jeffrey counterbalance the rich browns.

Traditional Breakfast Area with Walnut Table

A walnut breakfast table from Holly Hunt is paired with limed oak dining chairs from David Sutherland topped with cushions made of a small-scale print from Perennials and a large-scale print from Clarence House. The sconces are from Atelier Jean Perzel, and the chandelier is by Vaughan.

Traditional White Kitchen with Desk & Workspace

To create an eat-in kitchen suitable for a growing young family, Jeffrey eliminated a back corridor. Custom cabinet designs play to the spirit of the building yet offer the space and amenities of today, while oak floors add warmth to the room. Contemporary lighting from Atelier Jean Perzel in Paris embraces a Deco aesthetic.

Traditional Living Room with Custom Crystal Chandelier

In the living room, extra-long sofas of Jeffrey’s design were made by J&P Custom Upholstery and paired with Art Deco armchairs and parchment-clad cabinets designed by Jeffrey. The wool and silk carpet is from Doris Leslie Blau, and the chandelier is custom made of Brazilian rock crystal.

Traditional White Hall with Black Chest

A circa 1930 Jansen chest purchased at Jean Karajian is crafted in the Louis XVI style. Jeffrey paired it with a custom mirror of his own design fabricated by Bark Frameworks, and 1940s sconces designed by Carl Fagerlund for Orrefors.

Traditional White Seating Area with French Mahogany Cabinet

A commanding French mahogany Jean Pascaud cabinet from Bernd Goeckler Antiques and a Jules Leleu side table are complemented with a Noel Jeffrey-designed chair and ottoman—fabricated by J&P Custom Upholstery—and period-appropriate art, such as Les Constructeurs by Fernand Léger from Helly Nahmad Gallery.

Traditional White Foyer with Geometric Parquet Floor

New moldings and trims along with a geometric parquet floor give the foyer a fresh though still decidedly 20th-century demeanor. Handsome custom-designed and -fabricated French doors, an Art Deco bench from Bernd Goeckler Antiques upholstered in Osborne & Little fabric and vintage J.T. Kalmar chandeliers further the feeling.

Traditional Neutral Living Room with Accent Painting

Everything was a perfect fit, right down to the rigorously crafted cabinetry and sofas, which had to be extra-long for the impressively proportioned living room.

In Manhattan, epicenter for some of the world’s most gracious, exquisitely wrought apartments, three simple words equal trepidation for the illustrious design professionals who transform them from outdated to dazzling: summer work rules. “Construction is noisy and disruptive, so they’re short and strict. You get four or five months in the summer, and the hours only go from nine to four so you don’t disturb the residents when they’re home,” explains interior designer Noel Jeffrey, who is known for his luxurious soup-to-nuts projects.

Given such restrictions, large-scale jobs can sometimes take more than one summer. “I’ve seen people wait two or three years to move into a place because they can’t get the work done in five months,” he says. But one young family who hired Jeffrey to overhaul a newly purchased vintage co-op in one of the city’s most prestigious Park Avenue buildings didn’t have time to spare.

And of course, the place needed “everything” to transform it from “old school into something with classical roots but a fresh, youthful demeanor,” says Jeffrey. A down-to-the-studs demolition? Check. A family-friendly floor plan with a larger kitchen? Check. Architecturally significant millwork and trims? Check. And everything else, from luxurious furnishings to important, right-sized art.

Complicating matters, “this was one of the city’s strictest buildings. They let you in for just four months and have overtime penalties of $50,000 a week,” says general contractor Christopher Clark. Still, he and Jeffrey were far from daunted. “We’ve done several projects like this together and have the routine down to a science. Everything starts with process and organization,” Clark says.

The most taxing work comes first. “You have to get the drawings done immediately for board approval before you can even get started,” Jeffrey says. But he isn’t talking about your typical blue- prints. “These documents run 50 pages or more and leave nothing to the imagination—they cite every single outlet, bit of molding, fixture, finish and cabinet.”

Such in-depth drawings made the project possible because “everything has to be sourced, ordered and delivered before the summer work hours begin,” Jeffrey explains. Prefabricating the millwork from drawings “is especially demanding because every element has to fit perfectly when we get in the building. We can’t lose time redoing things,” says Clark.

Even with all the exacting prep work, the build out was a race. “We probably had 80 people working in every corner of the apartment on some days,” estimates Jeffrey. But as expected, everything was a perfect fit, right down to the rigorously crafted cabinetry and sofas, which had to be extra-long for the impressively proportioned living room. Four months to the day, the team finished construction and all the “heavy lifting,” and Jeffrey used another few months to paint and install the rest of the furnishings and art.

The couple were able to move into a impeccably completed home long before the year was out. And despite the chic interiors Jeffrey crafted for them—complete with glamorous touches such as high-gloss dining room walls and a slew of elegant pieces of his own design—he is proudest of the fact that “they didn’t make a single change during the entire job or reject one thing.” He adds, laughing, “The drawings made it possible.”

—Lisa Skolnik