Amanda Knapp was D-O-N-E with neutrals. When the mother of two set out to find a new home for her family, she needed a change—and help. “Our old apartment was Scandinavian and serene,” she says. “It was nice, but that’s not who I am. I love bright, saturated colors.” Amanda found a kindred spirit in Montreal- and New York-based designer Garrow Kedigian, who unequivocally “hates white interiors!”
Kedigian had his work cut out for him, as the prewar perch the family purchased on the Upper East Side was stylistically stuck in the 1970s—and vivid in all the wrong ways. “It was all terra cottas and dirty yellows,” recalls Amanda, “but the bones were great.” The designer recognized the potential, too. While choice updates such as nixing a former maid’s room to enlarge the kitchen and converting the dining room into a large bedroom for the kids ushered the apartment into modern living, there were “interesting elements that we wanted to keep,” says Kedigian.
First and foremost: a dramatic entry hall that spills across 55 feet. The space boasted elegant, curved ceilings that reminded all parties of the soaring Beaux Arts coffers at Grand Central Station. Capitalizing on that association, they were covered in a painterly map of the night sky in teal green. Kedigian designed a scaled-down digital copy, while general contractor Oskar Romańczuk fitted the stars with tiny LED lights. In addition, a new grid of geometric coffered millwork brings cohesion to the residence’s many doorways, while a procession of midcentury chandeliers and a Pierre Cardin console clad in orange suede keep the vibe au courant. “You can’t get too period with interiors. The key is sprinkling in contemporary objects throughout,” Kedigian says. “I wanted this home to feel like an up-to-date interpretation of classic decorating.”
This ethos suffuses the living room, which is furnished with pieces from a cross section of eras and painted a rich cerulean that converses with the foyer’s star-studded ceiling, but isn’t an exact copy. “If everything is too matchy-matchy, it looks like the designer just walked out the door,” says Kedigian. Reconceived family heirlooms (like a vintage settee recovered in a powder-pink chevron stripe) make nice with eclectic acquisitions, such as a set of torchères scored at the Clignancourt flea market. New and custom additions designed for family life round out the milieu, like the corner banquette with a traditional profile covered with tangerine performance velvet. “The frame gives it formality,” Kedigian notes, “but the cushions are calibrated for family life.” Upholstery throughout the residence is durable—an essential for the entertaining-inclined Knapps, who include Poppy, age eight, and her six-year-old brother, Ivey. “We host all the time, but the average age of our guests is five,” says Amanda.
The library-slash-dining room provides another hosting haven in a rich palette of blues and oranges. (“I love the push and pull between those colors,” Kedigian says.) Daytime activities in the space center around children’s play dates and art projects, while evenings are for adult dinner parties. The designer made sure that guests of all ages would be steeped in comfort and style: Above an antelope-print rug, another cushy sofa mingles with more Clignancourt finds: a sleek chrome-and-burlwood cocktail table, gleaming brass-and-bouclé chairs, and plaster-cast sculptures backed in ochre velvet, to name a few.
Kedigian’s passion for bold pattern and color doesn’t stop short at the bedrooms. The children share a yellow-and-blue-striped extravaganza of a room that the designer likens to a circus tent, while the primary suite is enveloped in a blush-champagne wallpaper that flutters with birds and butterflies. “I wanted to feel like I was sleeping in a garden,” says Amanda, who waves away any notion that the scheme might skew too feminine for her husband. “It wasn’t a hard sell,” she says. “Pink isn’t a girl’s color—it’s a color.”
The home’s pervasive feeling of joy and discovery is a direct result of a collaborative designer-client relationship and shared delight for coloring outside the lines. “I wanted to furnish them with something gorgeous and layered, but casual, because they are not a formal family,” concludes Kedigian, whose approach is perfectly embodied by the home’s extraordinary foyer. “One of our favorite things to do as a family is lie on the floor there and look at the stars,” shares Amanda, adding, “It’s also great for indoor races.”