I have dressed everyone from Oprah to Eva Longoria, and they all have di erent body types,” says former Halston creative director and designer Bradley Bayou. “Understanding how to bring out the best in them is exactly the same approach I take when designing an apartment.” In the case of the West Village pied-à-terre that Bayou shares with his paramour of two decades, Mark Itkin, a partner with William Morris Endeavor, he looked to the cityscape for inspiration for everything from the open layout to the color palette of grays, blues and blacks. “Keeping the colors on the inside the same as on the outside focuses attention on the million-dollar views,” Bayou explains.
The ninth- floor unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame postcard-worthy vistas of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in the living room, and One World Trade Center in the master bathroom. A private elevator provides direct access to the full-floor at, which Bayou spent months renovating from top to bottom. “The space is fantastic, but the finishes were not up to par,” he says, “so I ripped them all out.” In doing so, Bayou was also able to modify the layout, removing walls to combine small closed-o rooms into larger ones. What was once a dark enclosed kitchen, for example, is now a light- lled space that is open to the living and dining areas. “It went from a dark apartment with small rooms to a luxurious home,” explains general contractor Robert Tobin.
Negotiating the relatively small elevator shaft was one of the most challenging parts of the project for Tobin and his crew, forcing him and his team to carry heavy steel beams up nine flights of stairs and bring up the outdoor Jacuzzi shell in two pieces. “It was difficult to get everything in the house,” Tobin says. “Everything had to be cut, fabricated and reassembled by hand.” Once on-site, they completely rebuilt the apartment to Bayou’s specifications. One such example is in the living area, where Bayou had a marble replace niche recessed between a pair of matching unfilled-travertine floor-to- ceiling wall panels—a decision made to create a more open feel. “The apartment is not that wide, so recessing things makes it feel bigger,” he explains. “I wanted to make a statement.” The smoothness of the marble juxtaposes with the honed limestone and the red-black granite flooring, which has a rough surface. “The different textures work together to create a sense of depth,” Bayou adds. “The Venetian plaster gives a subtle shine.”
A mix of texture can be found throughout the entire apartment, such as in the dining room, where a grid of cowhide-covered wall panels features cleverly concealed storage niches with space for a television and a coat closet. Likewise, the walls in the den are covered with a silk iridescent fabric that resembles scrunched silk. “It’s almost like Fortuny pleating,” Bayou notes. “I try to use rich, classic materials in different ways.”
That sense of creativity informed everything from the layout to custom furnishings such as a sculptural-bronze- brass-and-porcelain chandelier that Bayou designed in collaboration with Lindsey Adelman. Its light reflects off the porcelain shades, softly illuminating a vintage French table with a steel top and a set of bespoke silk-covered dining chairs inspired by both midcentury and Asian lines.
For Bayou, comfort was just as important as style. “Nothing that Bradley designs is ever uncomfortable,” Itkin says. “You just sink into the furniture.” In the living room, for example, Bayou combined a plush sectional and a pair of modern leather chairs with an African sculpture to create a look that Bayou has dubbed “world modernism.” “It’s about combining pieces from all over the world and at all different times,” Bayou explains. “The lines are similar, and you connect them together with color. You mix that with contemporary art, and it just works.”
Bayou took the same approach in the master bedroom, for which he designed a custom mahogany headboard, once again employing cowhide for its upholstery. Luminescent silk-and-wool draperies act as a bridge between the subtle sheen of the cowhide and the textural hemp wallcovering. “The draperies are the same color as the walls,” Bayou says. “I didn’t want to break things up with a different color, because it prevents your eye from moving to the window, which is where the view is.” In fact, much of the unit was designed around the view. Even the glass-enclosed shower in the master suite looks right down onto the West Village. “You can actually look out onto the city while you take a shower,” Itkin says.
The crowning jewel of the many splendid views is outside on the 500-square-foot balcony, where the black-granite Jacuzzi has been positioned on an angle slightly askew of its wooden base in order to face the Empire State Building. Weathered-teak living and dining sets provide plenty of space for the couple and their guests to relax over cocktails. “You’re in the middle of the action, but at the same time, it’s very private,” Bayou says. “I pinch myself when I’m here.”
— Tate Gunnerson