A Passion For Italy Inspires An Upper East Side Co-Op


modern foyer ebony geometric rug

Clad in Macassar ebony, the foyer of a 1917 co-op in the Upper East Side is like a jewel box. The irregularly shaped geometric patchwork hide rug by Gio Ponti, reproduced by Molteni, makes a statement on the floor. The glass-and-bronze Polart sconce is circa 1970s; a contemporary photo by Vincenzo Castella of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan by hangs at left.

modern foyer neutral ceramic hand...

Cane panels framed with ebony- stained wood are a sophisticated backdrop in the foyer for an Ignazio Gardella console for Azucena. The table holds a circa-1967 Murano glass bowl, a flower-decorated ceramic Fornasetti cat and a ceramic hand by Gio Ponti, reproduced by Richard Ginori. The mirror above is circa 1970s. Goatskin stools with slender wood legs add a touch of whimsy.

modern living room blue velvet...

In the living room, a 1960s sculptural sofa, likely by Ico Parisi, clad in mohair velvet is paired with Nino Zoncada chairs upholstered in Loro Piana cashmere. The black enamel benches with leather seats are circa-1950s Jacques Tournus. Draperies are made from a chevron- patterned Loro Piana cashmere blend that complements the prismatic shapes in the Marc Phillips rug.

modern dining room brown accents...

A contemporary photo by Vincenzo Castella commands attention in the dining room. Geometric cane-backed walnut chairs by Michael Taylor, circa 1950s, are teamed with an Osvaldo Borsani marble-and-rosewood pedestal table of the same era.

modern dining room inlaid-walnut chest

The mirrored interior of the dining room's 1950s inlaid-walnut chest by Paolo Buffa, which serves as a dry bar, shows off a collection of Moretti glasses of the same vintage. Atop, the ceramic teste di Moro piece is typical of porcelain from Caltagirone in Sicily.

modern living room wood-and-brass bar...

A 1950s wood-and-brass bar cart by Cesare Lacca occupies space in the living room. Above it is an acrylic on canvas, Studio per Figure, by Valerio Adami.

modern living area sitting area...

A pass-through room was created from reclaimed space, eliminating a corridor and a closet, and houses a collection of President John F. Kennedy memorabilia, including cuff links he wore and the iconic 1971 Ron Galella photo of the former First Lady. The 1950s velvet-upholstered sofa is Italian, and the same-vintage wood-and-glass tripod table is by Carlo de Carli. Bespoke Millwork & Metalwork created the cerused-oak cabinetry.

modern bedroom gray rug brown...

A French silvered-metal mirror with a horn inlay hangs above a parchment Italian cabinet, both circa 1960s, in the master bedroom. "I prefer natural materials," says architect Luca Andrisani, who also tackled the residence's interior design. "I love the geometric shape of the mirror and the way it relates to the Macassar-ebony walls."

modern bedroom brown wall blue...

The master bedroom's velvet-upholstered bed by Ron Gilad for Molteni is topped with Frette linens. Above it is a Paolo De Cuarto contemporary fresco on canvas, while beneath is a Marc Phillips high-pile silk rug. The 1960s Carlo de Carli nightstands are painted glass and ebony.

When it came down to the transformation of his 1,800-square-foot co-op, advertising executive Bob Jeffrey tapped architect Luca Andrisani to take on the task.

In addition to sharing a passion for Italy, the two bonded over a love of modern design, Italian movies and the joys of storytelling.

“It’s hard for me to design without meaning, to just make something pretty,” says Andrisani.

The almost obsessive details in one particular movie, “I Am Love,” set in Milan’s 1930s-built Villa Nechhi, raised the design bar.

To update the interiors of the apartment, builder Chip Brian gutted two bathrooms, expanded the kitchen and reconfigured the powder room. He also created a new pass-through room that houses the client’s collection of John F. Kennedy memorabilia.

Artisans at Atelier Viollet created luxurious wall surfaces with cane, goatskin (parchment) and straw marquetry. Macassar ebony and rift sawn whitewashed oak also provide rich backdrops for the furnishings — mostly a mix of midcentury Italian, punctuated with lush cashmeres, mohair velvets and silks.

“I always worked with very strong creative people,” says Bob. “Luca raised the bar for interior design. For me, aesthetics are key. And this place is a work of art.”