A Home In A Landmark Building Gets A Fresh Look


transitional foyer chandelier

In the foyer, a giclee from Lillian August is set off by an Asian-inspired, dark-stained Peony console by Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair. A standing 1950s vintage mirror, one of a pair, backs a Raul Grey cowhide bench with a crisscrossed zinc-finished base from Mecox. The sculpture is from the homeowners' travels to Thailand, and the lamp is from RH.

transitional foyer custom striped rug

Art glass original to the 1908 building was unmasked and restored--a stunning tour de force at the end of the spacious foyer, where a custom rug from Beauvais featuring staggered stripes complements the 8-inch-wide walnut-plank floor. A pair of chandeliers--Jonathan Browning's Le Petite Pentagone--reflects the ceiling painted in Benjamin Moore's Wind's Breath in a high-gloss finish. The iron-and-woven-leather-strapped bench is from Global Views, and the two oils on canvas above it are called Push and Pull by Meighan Morrison.

transitional living room orange and...

Above the living room's existing stone fireplace is a watercolor by Yasu Eguchi, set off by the pale shade of Benjamin Moore's Blue Lace on the walls. The Piedmont sofas in polished walnut--covered in chenille, linen and cotton from Kravet--and the cerused-oak chairs--clad in cotton-velvet by Glant--are from Profiles. The Carrara marble table by Timothy Oulton sits on recessed casters.

transitional living room pale blue...

A circa-1960 Baldwin grand piano is positioned in the living room in front of a shallow built-in painted cabinet used for storage. On top of the cabinet is a grouping of vintage handcrafted bisque pottery; the rough textured bowl on the piano is a German piece from the 1960s.

transitional dining room oak bookcase...

In the dining room, a wall-to-wall bookcase in cerused oak features open shelving for dinnerware and family heirlooms as well as hideaway shelves behind doors with antiqued mirror panels. Above the cabinet, which is a nod to older French bookcases and china cabinets, three picture lights provide downlight that illuminates beautifully at night.

transitional blue dining room brown...

The dining room's black-walnut Trousdale dining table from Profiles is teamed with four side chairs from the homeowners' collection and a pair of Bowmont host chairs from the Barbara Barry Realized by Henredon collection, all upholstered in Rubelli Venezia's Vello D'Oro chenille. The low-pile geometric rug is from Beauvais, and the modern-look Barcelona polished-nickel chandelier by Fuse Lighting is from Dennis Miller Associates.

transitional office Chinese watercolor folding...

A vintage Chinese watercolor folding screen was the starting point for the design of the husband's office. A built-in desk extends to the wall in front of the window and is joined by a Saarinen chair. The built-in sofa features a pair of twin mattresses; its cushions are upholstered in an aubergine mohair-silk from Knoll.

transitional study red sofa gray...

Built-in bookcases wrap around a nailhead-trimmed sleeper sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in the study, where the Asian-influenced 1960s Danish chairs are perfect in scale--broad but not deep for the small room. The mosaic oval petrified-wood table with polished-nickel base is from Palecek, and the zigzag-patterned Mina Moroccan rug is from the Ben Soleimani collection at RH.

transitional bedroom neutral blue tinted...

A subtly patterned wallcovering, Artisan Stripe from Lee Jofa, creates a soothing backdrop in the master bedroom, where the biscuit-tufted Soho bed from Duralee is clad in a chevron print, Jerome from the Cowtan & Tout's Valentina collection. The geometric complements the custom wool rug, whose Chinese blossoms scatter shades of blue and green. The Remy armoire, upholstered in gray felt, is from Hickory Chair.

The best thing about downsizing is getting a fresh start. For empty nesters in their 50s, a move just a couple of blocks from their former residence afforded an opportunity for a change of scenery and decor.

The co-op, in a 1908 landmark building, provided beautiful bones and distinctive features like original art glass, but the space needed a facelift. That’s where designer John Willey came in.

Taking advantage of the home’s abundance of oversized windows and uninterrupted park views, Willey riffed off the sky’s changing palette by incorporating shades of blue and pale terra cotta, with touches of aubergine and mauve.

He chose furnishings, many upholstered in textural chenille and velvets, for their shapes and comfort levels. Additionally, Willey addressed a need for storage with built-in cabinetry in the living room and dining room, seating that doubles as beds in the office, and a bookcase that wraps around a sleeper sofa in the study.

The designer says that he always has admired the iconic building. “It’s thrilling to work inside, transform, stripping away unnecessary flourishes but keep the integrity of the architectural elements and allow the apartment to shine, with a more youthful spin,” he says.